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V.F. Corp absorbs headwinds from tariffs, Hong Kong protests

Tariffs, protests in Hong Kong and foreign currency headwinds impacted V.F. Corp.'s fiscal 2020 EPS outlook by about 7 cents, the company's CEO Steve Rendle said during an Oct. 25 earnings call with analysts.

However, despite the headwinds, the company continues to expect EPS for fiscal 2020 to be between $3.32 and $3.37.

"While all of the items just mentioned are small individually, collectively, they're weighing on our opportunities for upside performance for the remainder of fiscal 2020," Rendle said.

So far, the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute has resulted in tariffs on $550 billion in imports from China and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to China.

V.F. plans to reduce its U.S. sourcing from China to 4% next year from 7% this year, according to V.F.'s CFO and Executive Vice President Scott Roe.

While the company reported headwinds from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Roe said the effect was not "large enough to have a huge impact" on the company's overall business.

In early October, V.F.'s brand Vans got caught up in the Hong Kong protest. Vans faced calls for a boycott after the company pulled some items from its sneaker design competition that portrayed the protests.

Rendle addressed the situation saying that the purpose of the competition is to support individual artists in an apolitical way.

"We remain and our Vans brand remains committed to driving that purpose forward and doing it in a way that really doesn't bring politics in, but really focuses on the individual artist and that sense of creative self-expression," Rendle said. "And we're navigating that very well, and if anything, an even stronger commitment coming across all of the regions."

In Europe, uncertainty related to Brexit has continued to affect consumer confidence leading to a slight decline in traffic in the company's U.K. business, according to Rendle. However, Rendle said the company is well-positioned to move forward and is optimistic about its long-term opportunities in Europe.

"We just need to navigate some of these interesting times in the U.K.," Rendle said.

Looking towards the holiday season, Rendle said the company is expecting a "healthy" holiday season in the U.S. aided by strong consumer fundamentals like a low unemployment rate, which fell to 3.5% in September from 3.7% in August.