American Apparel Reports First Quarter 2009 Financial Results
Gross margin for the first quarter of 2009 increased to 57.2 percent from 55.3 percent for the first quarter of 2008. Gross margin in the period benefited from an increase in the proportion of retail sales, which generate a higher gross margin than wholesale sales. Total wholesale sales declined to 24.6 percent of total sales compared to 32.3 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2008. The benefit of the mix shift was partially offset by a decline in the gross margin of the U.S. wholesale business segment to 18.0 percent from 20.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008, as a result of lower capacity utilization of the company's manufacturing facilities in light of lower wholesale demand and the company's constrained liquidity position in the first quarter of 2009, which necessitated lower-than-planned production volumes. Additionally, gross margins in the U.S. wholesale business segment were negatively impacted by an increase in production of more complicated product styles. Gross margin was also negatively impacted by declines in gross margin in the Canada and international business segments due to unfavorable currency shifts as a result of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar.
Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2009 increased to 60.6 percent of net sales, versus 51.4 percent for the first quarter of 2008. Operating expenses increased significantly in the U.S. retail and international segments due to higher payroll, rent and occupancy expense, and depreciation related to the greater number of retail stores in operation including the accelerated store rollout in the second half of 2008. Operating expenses as a percentage of net sales also increased due to the decline in comparable store sales in the period versus the previous year. Store pre-opening expenses were $0.7 million in the first quarter of 2009, versus $1.3 million in the prior year's first quarter. Unallocated corporate expenses increased 7 percent to $10.7 million from $10.0 million in the first quarter a year ago.