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CEO of Calvin Klein owner: Retail sales hinge more on containing coronavirus than stimulus spending

Containing the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. is more critical for business than dishing out more stimulus aid for corporations, according to the head of Calvin Klein’s holding company.

“Where there hasn’t been as much fiscal support, let’s say in Europe and in Asia, the fact that the pandemic is under much better control there [means] our business is that much more strong there, and we’ve been able to really capture that more and more in our sales,” PVH CEO Manny Chirico said in a “Closing Bell” appearance.

The comments came after PVH, which also owns clothing brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen and Arrow, posted better-than-feared results in the quarter ending Aug. 2. Revenue came in at $1.5 billion, a decline of 33% from a year ago, and the company recorded a loss of 13 cents per share on an adjusted basis, down from $2.10 earnings per share last year.

PVH posted a decline of 43% in the prior quarter, which ended May 3.

The retail and apparel industries have felt the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown and lingering effects, but PVH reported seeing better-than-expected results in each of its markets and channels, including a 50% increase in revenue across its digital channels.

Chirico reported seeing encouraging trends in the China and Europe markets, but ongoing headwinds continue to plague the North American market as coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. The country leads the world in coronavirus cases with at least 6.1 million contracting the virus, which nearly halted world commerce. U.S. daily cases continue to hover around 40,000, down from a peak of 75,000 in July but still in an elevated range.

Russia and India are the only European and Asian nations with more than 1 million total cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Global cases are nearing 27 million.

Officials in Washington, D.C., continue to spar over drafting a new economic stimulus package to give businesses and individuals relief through a health crisis and uncertain future. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Tuesday gave a daunting characterization of the ongoing discussions, saying that Democrats and the Trump administration have “serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing.”

Chirico, however, is less concerned about the status of stimulus discussions than he is about getting a grip on the virus outbreak in the U.S.

“I think it’s really controlling the pandemic that’s going to be the bigger issue for us going forward in the States, versus just throwing more stimulus at it,” he said. “But given where we are, I don’t in any way doubt that it’s important to keep that stimulus going, and hopefully that can come through in the next few weeks.”

Shares of PVH popped 3% in the aftermarket after the company posted fiscal second-quarter 2020 results. The stock remains down 43% year to date as of Wednesday’s $59.51 close.

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