Market Overview

March Malls: Urban Outfitters Vs. Victoria's Secret Vs. Old Navy

March Malls: Urban Outfitters Vs. Victoria's Secret Vs. Old Navy
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Retail channel checks indicate trends during the first three weeks of March were “only minimally improved” from February's levels, Wedbush’s Morry Brown said in a report. He added that checks suggest promotions have been “broadly higher” year-over-year at malls, while sales have remained soft and highly volatile, with low conversion rates and inventories remaining a concern.

While Easter falls in April this year versus during March in 2016, which could drive sales growth next month, “any late-quarter sales surge would likely come at lower margins,” Brown commented.

Key Takeaways For Softlines

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN)'s store of the same name: Promotions and clearance rose year-over-year. By the third week of March, the brand had a promotion for a 17 percent discount on an entire purchase as well as style specific promotions in the women’s category. These appear “unplanned,” compared to the 20 percent discount on all dresses and style specific promotions last year, Brown noted. He further stated, “Dresses in particular appeared to be performing poorly with full size runs on markdowns in select styles.”

Victoria’s Secret from L Brands Inc (NYSE: LB): Promotions and clearance rose year-over-year, and there was an incremental sale featuring bras starting at $10. The benefit from Swim Special televised on CBS last year is missing this year since the brand has exited swimwear, the analyst noted. Incremental sales versus last year featured at select locations pointed to “the need to clear through inventory, which we believe is still slightly elevated.”

Gap Inc (NYSE: GPS)'s Old Navy: Promotions rose year-over-year and inventory appears elevated. The brand offered a 30 percent discount on an entire purchase in the first week of March. “While traffic into ON has been stronger than peers, we note inventory appears elevated, notably in spring dresses (a soft category across the mall),” Brown wrote.

Ratings And Price Targets

  • Urban Outfitters: Neutral, price target of $26.
  • L Brands: Neutral, PT of $47.
  • Gap: Neutral, PT at $23.

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Posted-In: Morry Brown WedbushAnalyst Color Reiteration Analyst Ratings Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga


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