Express has enlisted swimsuit model Kate Upton as its brand ambassador, making her the first celebrity spokesperson to be a part of the brand's ad campaigns in the last decade.
To kick off the partnership, Upton will host the Express Spring-Summer 2014 Runway Show at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., Thursday, March 13. The retailer will then debut Upton in advertising campaigns beginning fall 2014.
"I'm personally thrilled that Kate wanted to join the Express family. The new partnership highlights the mutual admiration between Express and Kate and is the culmination of two iconic American establishments coming together," said chairman and CEO Michael Weiss.
"I'm very excited to join Express as brand ambassador," said Upton." I grew up with Express and always appreciated their commitment to offering great fashion with great value that every young woman and man can relate to. It is truly an iconic American brand that exemplifies sexy, modern cool."
News of Upton’s ambassadorship came in conjunction with the retailer’s fourth-quarter results. Net income fell 25% during the quarter, dropping from $63.9 million to $47.9 million. Net sales declined 2% from $731.7 million, to $715.9 million.
Same-store sales rose 1%. The company cited heavy promotions as impacting its quarterly results, which fell short of Wall Street expectations. Express intends to start opening outlet stores beginning in May 2014.
“Our fourth quarter results were within the range of our revised guidance but disappointing nonetheless given the strength of our collection across both genders,” said chairman and CEO Michael Weiss. “We delivered positive comps for the quarter, but the heavier than planned pace of promotions impacted both top-line and margins. On the plus side, we ended the quarter with lean inventories heading into spring. We also made advances in terms of three of our growth pillars. Specifically, we continued to grow our e-commerce business; opened new North American stores, including our San Francisco flagship; and continued our international expansion."
Looking ahead, Express expects net income of $10 million to $15 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 and same-store sales in the negative low to negative high digits. For the full fiscal year 2014, Express projects net income of $88 million to $105 million and same-store sales in the low negative single digits to flat range.