Call them the 1 percent of retail.
Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: KORS) are both benefitting from wealthy consumers, offsetting global economic turmoil and an uncertain U.S. economy, the companies said in earnings reports on Tuesday.
Michael Kors reported 71 percent higher revenue of $414.9 million in the fiscal first quarter. Same store sales in North America grew 38 percent. The company sells clothing, shoes and accessories in its own stores, as well as through other department stores, marketed towards an affluent consumer base.
Michael Kors raised its full-year profit forecast to $1.34 per share, up from $1.12 per share. Its stock surged 13.34 percent, or $5.65, to $48.00 in Tuesday morning trading. The 30-year-old fashion brand, which went public in December, has gained over 50 percent this year.
Saks lost $12.3 million and 8 cents per share, due to store closings, better than the 9 cent per share loss forecast by analysts. Same-store sales rose 4.7 percent, and Saks reiterated its second half forecast of mid-single-digit gains for same-store sales. A fifth of the company's sales came from its flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. Saks gained 5.71 percent, or 62 cents, to $11.47, in Tuesday morning trading.
"Saks has benefited both from improving spending by higher-end consumers, which we believe is correlated to improving asset prices, and from initiatives implemented by management after the 2008 downturn," wrote Paul Swinand, a Morningstar analyst, in a July research note.
But he warned that the company's expansion options were limited and that it has underperformed compared to rivals Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) and Neiman Marcus Inc.
The growth of Saks and Michael Kors comes as midrange retailers have faltered as the global consumer sentiment has dimmed. One of the most prominent examples is J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), where sales of dropped as the company attempts to wean consumers off discounts under new chief Rob Johnson, formerly of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).