Department store sales for PVH brands improved in second quarter, CEO says

Emanuel "Manny" Chirico, CEO, PVH
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Emanuel "Manny" Chirico, CEO, PVH

Business has picked up in the second quarter for PVH, including at one of the most challenged areas of the retail market: Department stores.

Although sales in these stores continue to come under pressure, those for its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands have "gotten slightly better" in that channel, PVH CEO Manny Chirico said, speaking at the Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference in New York City Wednesday.

In the wake of that presentation, PVH shares rose nearly 5 percent in early trading.

"It's starting to pick up," Chirico said, adding that Calvin Klein's comparable sales are positive even at Macy's.

As sales at department stores lag, brands including Michael Kors have announced plans to dial back on the amount of merchandise that they allocate to those locations. But for the Calvin and Tommy brands, which have not seen their open-to-buy dollars shrink during this period of contraction, that represents an opportunity, Chirico said. (An open-to-buy budget helps retailers manage their inventory and purchases of future products.)

The CEO also identified the Tommy Hilfiger women's business, which generates just 30 percent of the brand's revenues, as an opportunity for growth. The label has teamed up with supermodel Gigi Hadid as part of its strategy to make the brand more relevant among young, fashion-oriented women.

Overall, PVH is forecasting improvement during the second half of the year, as comparisons become easier.

Following the company's first-quarter earnings beat, the PVH raised its full-year earnings forecast to between $6.45 and $6.55 a share, from a previous range of between $6.30 and $6.50. Chirico told analysts, who wondered why the company wasn't more aggressive with its targets, that an environment in which most retailers were taking down guidance "doesn't seem like the environment to try and be a hero in."

"I think we're being a little bit more conservative than the rest of the market," Chirico said Wednesday. "They're looking for more turnaround. We're looking for sequential improvement, but we're not looking for this acceleration as we go forward."

Overall, Chirico said the U.S. market "continues to be probably our most volatile market and our most challenged market."