Whitney Tilson Dominates dELiA*s Q2 Conference Call


Whitney Tilson is juggling several things these days; between playing the realtor of his parents’ Kenya beach house, sending pictures of his entire family to the whole world, and updating his blog on education reform, you would think he would have no time for the hedge fund he sometimes likes everyone to think that he is running. But you are mistaken — he does think about Kase Capital from time to time and apparently was thinking too much about it during dELiA*s, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLIA)’s Q2 earnings call.  Here is a recap of what happened, summarized for the sake of fun only.

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Whitney Tilson Dominates dELiA*s Q2 Conference Call

Kase Capital is Chase Capital now

While we can’t be sure whether there were any other people scrambling to ask questions from dELiA*s, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLIA)’s management, Tilson remained the second and last caller. Escapades of Tilson’s hedge fund seem to have not reached Delia, a micro cap fashion retail company, as his fund was referred to as Chase Capital instead of Kase Capital throughout the call. He also dominated the call and stated “I don’t know how many people are in the queue, so I’m not trying to hog the conversation.”

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Tilson worried about his investment

We know Tilson has talked on many occasions about this investment, and he has been touting Delia since 2010, though the fashion retailer has lost over 40% of its market value since then. Tilson sounded a little worried about his investment, down 10% this year. He first asked about the recent executive hirings at Delia, and was delighted to know that one of his namesakes Whitney Bates-Randall, was hired from Coach, Inc. (NYSE:COH), as head of direct and retail merchandising. He was probably equally delighted at the other hires as well who did not have matching names with him: Daphne Smith from J.Crew and  Jen Galante from Coach.

Delia is small and volatile

Tilson also probed about when dELiA*s, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLIA) is expected to turn around the dismal numbers, as the company reported a 16.7% decline in Q2 revenue which came in at $33.2 million, down from $39.8 million last year.  The operating loss for second quarter amounted to $10.1 million, higher than the loss of $5.3 million in the previous year’s quarter. Tilson was looking for some vague timeline but Delia’s CEO Tracy Gardner made no promises, saying that they are working on a lot of things, have a solid idea of what areas could benefit the business most but acknowledging that, “When you are small, when you are small like this, in the beginning it’s a little volatile because you can imagine, just small things can make a difference.” You bet Tilson knows what that means.

Since Gardner has previously worked at J.Crew, Tilson asked if her time there was tough, to which she answered that it got a lot worse before it got better. Tilson is waiting for that to happen to Kase, aka Chase Capital.

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