Fashion runs hot and cold. Targeting the next hot apparel brand can be hit and miss. Liz Claiborne (LIZ) is caught in that bind.
Besides owning well-known labels such as Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, and Lucky Brand, the apparel maker also sells its Liz Claiborne branded lines at JC Penney and elsewhere.
But sales have been mixed. Kate Spade sales shot up over 70 percent in the first-quarter while Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand sales sank.
The upshot: The once-vaunted apparel maker is losing traction. Its net sales fell 12.2 percent in the first quarter to $513 million versus $584 million a year ago. Losses from continuing operations came to 56 cents per share, 25 cents lower than analysts expected in consensus. This quarter isn’t unusual. It marks the 14th quarter of unbroken losses.
More challenges are coming. Rising raw-material costs are starting to strain company margins. Falling sales and deeper debt, which also rose this quarter, already make Liz Claiborne a highly volatile stock.
Slow turnaround, solid brands
Analysts are mostly under-whelmed by Liz Claiborne. Of the eight analysts tracked by Thompson/First Call, just one has a strong buy recommendation, with two buys, three holds and two underperforms.
Imperial Capital does have an outperform rating on Liz Claiborne, while also noting a longer operational turnaround than expected. But, analysts added, the apparel maker’s brands have inherent value.
© 2017 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.