* Q3 EPS 30 cents beats Street by 2 cents
* Licensing and other revenue up 29 pct
* Sees 2008 results at low end of prior outlook range
* Sees 2 equity deals in China by year-end
* Shares jump as much as 10 pct (Recasts; adds details from conference call, CEO comments, background, share movement)
Nov 3 (Reuters) - Iconix Brand Group Inc’s (ICON.O) apparel brand Rocawear and rainwear brand London Fog helped it post a better-than-expected quarterly profit, but the company expects tough U.S. retail trends to continue next year.
The company, which owns and licenses a popular collection of brands such as Candie’s, Joe Boxer and Rocawear, earned $18.3 million for the third quarter, compared with $17.0 million a year earlier. Licensing and other revenue rose 29 percent.
Rocawear, an urban apparel brand co-founded by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, and London Fog, created in 1927, were the “two biggest standouts in the quarter,” Chief Executive Neil Cole said on a conference call with analysts.
Jay-Z’s involvement in the Rocawear brand, and the launch of new categories such as footwear in the London Fog brand contributed to their success, Cole said.
But the New York-based company forecast 2008 results at the lower end of its previously provided outlook range. Iconix had forecast 2008 earnings of $1.15 to $1.20 a share on revenue of $215 million to $220 million in June.
“Looking forward to the full year 2009, we believe retail will continue to be extremely difficult, and we expect retailers to remain focused on tightly managing inventory,” Cole said on the call.
The company, several of whose brands are sold at stores of Target Corp (TGT.N), Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) and Sears Holdings Corp SHLD.O, expects 2009 earnings growth of about 8 percent and revenue growth of about 7 percent.
Iconix is most optimistic about three brands — OP, and DanskinNow and Starter — to be sold in Wal-Mart’s (WMT.N) stores. The company expects to significantly gain from these brands in 2009, as they are rolled out in more stores and categories.
“The plan for next year is to take OP from 1,000 doors today to all doors in Spring 2009 and to transition Starter and DanskinNow to become the anchor brands for athletic apparel within Wal-Mart,” CEO Cole said.
The company, which currently owns 17 brands, said it expects to set up two joint ventures in China by the end of 2008, and plans to have a total of four to five brands signed by the end of next year.
The company said is also discussing a joint venture for the Central and South America region.
Iconix, which acquired 15 brands in less than four years, also said it has come across “interesting” brand acquisition opportunities in the last couple of weeks. It recently acquired the Waverly furniture business from NexCen Brands Inc NEXC.O.
Shares of the company were trading up 46 cents at $11.35 Monday afternon on Nasdaq. They had hit a high of $11.98 earlier.
For the alerts, please double-click [ID:nWNAB6587] . For the press release, double-click [ID:nPnNY43467] . (Reporting by Dilipp S. Nag in Bangalore; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Pratish Narayanan)