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Luxury Retailers Need the Rich

Companies / Sector Analysis Jan 26, 2013 - 11:03 AM GMT

By: InvestmentContrarian

Companies

George Leong writes: The shares of luxury stock Coach, Inc. (NYSE/COH) plummeted by more than 14.0% last Wednesday. The stock is down 35.0% from its 52-week high, as the retailer of high-end designer handbags and accessories is struggling to achieve the sales growth that helped to drive the stock from the $2.00 level in 2000. Revenue growth in the second quarter was a muted 3.8%.


In the high-end retail sector, Coach is facing some spending slowing at its factory stores; if not for its strong sales of 40.0% year-over-year in China, the growth would be lower, according to the company. Same-store sales from China grew at double digits, while they declined 2.2% in North America. The growing importance of Asia is critical, since Coach owns and operates 402 stores in Asia. (Source: “Coach Reports Second Quarter Earnings Per Share of $1.23,” Business Wire, January 23, 2013.)

The showing from Coach indicates the current stalling in the luxury brand stocks in the retail sector, with the higher-end consumers appearing to be cutting back on spending.


Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The retail sector continues to be a difficult place to make money, and it requires careful attention and monitoring. There are trades to be made, but you need to be selective.

Discount and big-box stores continue to do very well, and in my view, they continue to be the space in the retail sector to make money.

The successful initial public offerings (IPOs) of Five Below, Inc. (NASDAQ/FIVE) in mid-July demonstrated the continued strong appetite for discount retail stocks.

Luxury retail stocks had been on a tear in 2011, but they have lost some luster amongst investors in the retail sector.

Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. (NYSE/TIF), after beating Thomson Financial consensus earnings-per-share (EPS) estimates in three straight quarters, has fallen short in the last four consecutive quarters, including a 22% shortfall in the fiscal third quarter based on Thomson Financial consensus estimates.

While Coach and Tiffany face some growth issues in the retail sector, you cannot say the same for high-end clothing retailer Michael Kors Holdings Limited (NYSE/KORS), which is estimated by Thomson Financial to report sales growth of 54.3% in fiscal 2013 and 31.3% in fiscal 2014. Michael Kors beat on Thomson Financial EPS estimates by an average of 63.1% over the past four quarters.

The stock debuted on December 15, 2011, and it doubled in price before the recent weakness. Based on its operating results, Michael Kors could be a special stock going forward.


Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

The key to investing in the retail sector is to search for a company that offers some sort of niche or a unique product that differentiates it from its competitors.

The luxury retail sector stocks are a niche that has a growing target market with the newfound riches in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). These stocks tend to have strong global brand awareness and are sought after by both the newly rich and the old money.

In the short term, the money in the retail sector will likely be made with the discount and big-box stocks, while the high-end retailers wait for the wealthy to open their wallets.

Source: http://www.investmentcontrarians.com/stock-market/to-the-rich-the-luxury-retailers-need-you/1309/

By George Leong, BA, B. Comm.
www.investmentcontrarians.com

Investment Contrarians is our daily financial e-letter dedicated to helping investors make money by going against the “herd mentality.”

George Leong, B. Comm. is a Senior Editor at Lombardi Financial, and has been involved in analyzing the stock markets for two decades where he employs both fundamental and technical analysis. His overall market timing and trading knowledge is extensive in the areas of small-cap research and option trading. George is the editor of several of Lombardi’s popular financial newsletters, including The China Letter, Special Situations, and Obscene Profits, among others. He has written technical and fundamental columns for numerous stock market news web sites, and he is the author of Quick Wealth Options Strategy and Mastering 7 Proven Options Strategies. Prior to starting with Lombardi Financial, George was employed as a financial analyst with Globe Information Services. See George Leong Article Archives

Copyright © 2013 Investment Contrarians- All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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