(Filed Under Financial and General Interest News). Naked Brand Group’s sales for the year ended January 31, 2017 rose 33% to $1,842,065 from $1,389,414 the year before. But it posted a substantial loss of $10,798,503, compared to a even larger deficit of $19,063,399 the year before.
The company also revealed big declines in sales to certain important customers during the latest year.
Meanwhile Naked appears to be moving steadily towards its merger with the much larger New Zealand underwear firm, Bendon. Since announcing the deal in December, the two companies have amended three times the letter of intent to join, the latest change moving the date by which the two shall have entered into their agreement to May 26.
In early April Naked announced it had raised, in previous weeks, $5.3 million in net proceeds (by selling 2,189,052 shares of common stock at an average price of $2.51). In announcing the latest amendment, the companies noted “$34 million in positive adjustments to the net debt target for the anticipated combined company’s balance sheet at the close of the transaction. As contemplated under the Amendment, the combined company would have total net debt of approximately $13 million upon transaction close, with approximately $6 million in assets under Naked, and $19 million in net debt under Bendon. This compares to the previously contemplated total net debt of approximately $51 million, with $1 million in assets under Naked and $52 million in debt under Bendon.”
Naked CEO Carole Hochman emphasized in early April, “We are committed to and diligently working toward completion of this merger.”
In announcing the deal, Bendon had revealed that for the fiscal year ended 2016, it “generated approximately NZ $144 million (US $100 million) in net sales.” In its annual report, Naked explained that “as a result of the merger, current Bendon stockholders along with Bendon’s affiliates are expected to hold in excess of 90% of the combined company’s outstanding ordinary shares immediately following completion of the merger.”
While there are several encouraging signs for Naked, one troubling one is the dramatic fall off in its Nordstrom business, an admitted “key customer.” In the year ended January 31, 2016 the store had generated approximately $569,660 in sales for Naked, while in the latest fiscal year sales plummeted to only about $221,049 according to percentages provided in the annual report. The company stated that the decline was “due to a reduction by Nordstrom in replenishment orders due to the elimination by them of in-store inventory.”
Naked, which was incorporated in Canada, has also suffered other losses of key customers recently, namely much of its Canadian business. In the year ended January 31, 2016 sales in that country totaled $299,390, but withered to only $29,945 last year. And, while in early financial reports Naked used to list Hudson Bay and Holt Refrew (two large Canadian retailers) among examples of prominent customers, it no longer does so in this annual report.
In the early months of 2016, when BODY first asked about the decline in Canadian sales, we were informed it was only a temporary situation. We emailed Naked president Joel Primus and he replied, “We are always focused on customer satisfaction and are unable to provide the level of customer service we strive for until we open a warehouse in Canada. This is a temporary situation and do expect to return to our Canada [customers]. The product is still available online in Canada through our retail partners such as Nordstrom, Hudson Bay, Amazon and Bare Necessities. We greatly value the patience our Canadian customers have shown during this transition.”
Another key customer in the year ended January 31, 2017 was Bloomingdales, which provide 14% of net sales, or about $257,889. In its year-end report Naked acknowledged “Nordstrom and Bloomingdales are currently of key importance to our business and our results of operations, which would be materially adversely affected if these relationships ceased to exist or are significantly reduced.”
Naked offered that it has been adding “other key departments store and specialty store accounts.” Retailers it lists by name in the current report include: Dillard’s, Amazon.com, Soma.com, SaksFifthAvenue.com, barenecessities.com, hackberry.com, hisroom.com and freshpair.com.
In the annual report Naked claims, “We do not have any long-term agreements requiring us to use any manufacturer,” but it does outline a close relationship with one in particular. “Our primary production partner during fiscal 2017 has been TMS Fashion, a wholly owned subsidiary of LuenThai Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company. We began working with TMS and LuenThai in 2014 in an effort to streamline and scale up our production capabilities by leveraging a large, established manufacturing resource. We believe this partnership allows us access to “best-in-class” fabrics, materials and manufacturing techniques while reducing our need for fixed overhead. Further, we sublet our principal office location in New York City from Tellas, Inc., another wholly-owned subsidiary of LuenThai operating in the U.S. We have additional manufacturing relationships for our women’s intimate apparel collections and expect to work with additional manufacturers as we expand our product offering.”
Other bits of information in the Naked annual report include its monthly rent on the 10th floor of 95 Madison ($18,000), the number of employees as of January 31 (13 in the United States, one in Canada), and the number of shareholders as of April 26, 2017: 208. — NM
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