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Baird Prefers Carrying Coach Shares Following Handbag Survey

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Baird Prefers Carrying Coach Shares Following Handbag Survey
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Mark Altschwager of Baird oversees a monthly check of search traffic trends for handbag brands. His latest report for the month of September came in mixed compared to August's check, as his proprietary index rose 320 basis points on a global basis but fell 20 basis points in the United States.

Here is a rundown of how individual brands performed:

1. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE: KORS) saw improved search traffic trends in September, but for the quarter ending September, search traffic decelerated 200 basis points. The analyst was expecting an improvement.

2. Coach Inc (NYSE: COH) experienced a weakening in its September traffic, which marked a reversal from sequential improvements dating back to the second quarter of 2015.

Related Link: Guggenheim Initiates Coverage On 21 Retail Stocks

3. Kate Spade & Co (NYSE: KATE) saw its search traffic trends slowing to 6 percent year-over-year globally and 1 percent in the United States versus a 10 percent global growth and 11 percent growth in the United States in August.

4. Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) saw sequentially flat search trends in September, but quarter-to-date trends are coming in below the analyst's expectations.

Handbag Survey

Altschwager also oversaw a handbag survey in which 500 women in the United States were asked for their brand preference among Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Vera Bradley and privately-owned Tory Burch.

The analyst's quarterly survey has now been done 11 times. A preliminary analysis has thus far found a flattish purchase intent over the next three to six months. Accordingly, the analyst has now adopted a "more cautious near-term stance" on the group.

Over the longer term the analyst prefers owning shares of Coach due to its: a) completed brand "reset," b) a more "differentiated positioning" relative to its peers, c) an accelerating earnings profile and d) an attractive 3.7 percent dividend yield following the stock's approximate 10 percent pullback since its August 9 earnings report.

At Last Check ...

  • Coach was down 0.34 percent at $36.52.
  • Kate Spade was down 0.64 percent at $17.92.
  • Michael Kors was up 0.72 percent at $47.35.
  • Vera Bradley was down 3.01 percent at $14.80.

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Latest Ratings for COH

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2017Deutsche BankUpgradesHoldBuy
May 2017Goldman SachsUpgradesNeutralBuy
Feb 2017Goldman SachsUpgradesNeutralSell

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