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Piper Jaffray: Global Fashion Brands Remain Strong


In a report published Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy offered her opinion following the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City where she met with management teams from Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ: CROX), Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW), VF Corp (NYSE: VFC) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE: UA).

"Overall, we see the outdoor market as one that continues to grow as consumers broadly spend more time engaging and participating in outdoor activities," Murphy wrote."

Crox: Turnaround Underway

According to Murphy, Crox's management team left her "encouraged" that its spring/summer 2016 (SS16) orderbook trends "remain strong" with retailers responding well to the SS16 lines so far. The analyst noted that 80 percent of orderbook growth is coming from existing accounts expanding their space while 20 percent is coming from new accounts.

Murphy also noted that its SS16 products are "more cohesive" around the world with two-thirds of the line designed the same globally versus 10 percent a year ago. The company's gross margin dynamics are now "favorable" as molded becomes a bigger emphasis while supply chain efficiencies are also ongoing.

Wolverine: Cautious On Merrell

Murphy pointed out that the Merrell brand represents 20 percent of Wolverine's sales and the company is set to allocate an "increasingly bigger" portion of investment dollars next year towards Merrell as the company is focused on developing footwear collections that can generate at least one million pairs.

However, Murphy suggested that back to school trends have been "volatile" and investors should remain on the sidelines for the time being.

Under Armour: Building Credibility

Murphy commented that 2015 marks the first time Under Armour attended a summer show and ads to the credibility of its outdoor business that is growing at rates "far in excess" of the overall 25 percent-plus figure.

Murphy added that Under Armour continues to connect its apparel business with its footwear collection and working with high-performance partners (i.e Gore-Tex) to maintain "relevancy" in the category.

VF Corp: Focus On North Face

According to Murphy, VF Corp's The North Face segment continues to dedicate its efforts on product innovation, customer engagement and blending its products with technology. In fact, the company is set to relaunch its Summit Series which will be a "more pinnacle and high-performance" brand. In addition, Mountain Athletes continues to bring a year-round customer base into the North Face.

Murphy commented that the company "continues to execute solidly."

Latest Ratings for UA

Feb 2020Credit SuisseMaintainsNeutral
May 2019JP MorganUpgradesNeutralOverweight
Feb 2018JP MorganMaintainsNeutralNeutral

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