May 4, 2018 / 12:31 PM / in 3 months

UPDATE 2-VF shares dive despite strong results, jeans called 'pain point'

(New throughout, adds details from earnings call, analyst comment, updates share price; adds byline)

By Melissa Fares

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - VF Corp shares slid 4.5 percent on Friday as profits narrowly beat estimates and revenues blew past forecasts, and some investors worried that major VF jeans wear customer Walmart Inc was turning more toward private labels.

Quarterly profits excluding items for VF edged past Wall Street estimates. Revenues got a boost from a booming Vans shoes business, demand for North Face apparel and higher online sales.

KeyBanc Capital Markets' managing director Ed Yruma applauded VF's strong Vans business, which grew 45 percent, but noted their jeans wear business is struggling.

"I know one of the primary culprits there has been Walmart," Yruma said. "They've leaned more into private label, so that's been kind of a chronic pain point for them."

VF has ramped up efforts in reshaping its portfolio and elevating its most powerful brands.

VF Chief Executive Officer Steve Rendle said on a morning post-earnings call that the company expects jeans wear revenue to be relatively flat.

"We're intensely focused on protecting and enabling the explosive growth in Vans, shepherding the positive momentum of The North Face while focusing on re-energizing growth in Timberland North America," Rendle said.

Excluding items, the company earned 67 cents per share. That beat analysts' estimates by 1 cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue jumped 22 percent from the year-ago quarter to $3.05 billion, far surpassing analysts' average estimate of $2.92 billion.

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based company said it has been selling more products through Amazon.com Inc specifically for the North Face brand.

The company said net income rose to $252.8 million, or 63 cents per share, from $209.2 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

VF shares slid 4 percent to $75.25 by 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT).

VF aims to boost direct-to-consumer and digital businesses and direct investment to Asia, with a focus on China.

"I've seen evidence that some of the initiatives are starting to pay off. But fundamentally, jeans has not changed," said VP and CFO Scott Roe. "Walmart, a really key partner. We support the work that they're doing to expand their platform."

For full-year fiscal 2019, the company expects revenue in the range of $13.45 billion to $13.55 billion and adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.48 to $3.53. Analysts on average are expecting earnings of $3.48 per share and sales of $13.30 billion for fiscal 2019, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar, Steve Orlofsky and David Gregorio)

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