Coach Inc. is on the upswing, Tiffany & Co. is a work in progress and Michael Kors Holdings “may soon be in need of transformation,” at least according to Barclays analyst Joan Payson, who updated her take on higher-end brands today.
Each of companies has their own challenges and opportunities, but they and many of their competitors are all tied closely to the U.S. market. “Domestic trends will likely be at the forefront of driving shares and viewed as an indicator of progress,” she wrote in a research note.
The analyst upgraded Coach to overweight from equal weight and raised her target price on its shares to $50 from $38. The handbag maker — which grew to be a giant when it had the affordable luxury space to itself but has struggled to transform in recent years — is now “driving the bandwagon,” according to Payson.
“With turnaround efforts well underway, we are growing more confident in the prospect of domestic store comp acceleration,” she said, noting Coach is seeking to elevate its stores and moving to more of a full price model online.
While Coach is getting its mojo back, Payson said Tiffany is still a work in progress as the firm seeks to bring its price points higher after years of concentrating on affordable sterling silver.
If Coach is reaping the fruits of its turnaround efforts and Tiffany’s transformation is underway, the analyst suggested much of Kors’ work might lie in the future.
Payson described the Kors business, which is centered around a jet-set lifestyle, as “stuck on the tarmac.” She cut her target price on the company’s stock to $60 from $70.
The analyst said Kors’ North American wholesale distribution poses a challenge for the company and is roughly twice the size of handbag competitors’ businesses, at 2,530 full price doors.
“The size of the business could lead to brand dilution by over distributing across the value chain, but is already causing issues given more aggressive price competition compared to domestic retail stores, which are in turn losing traffic share to the wholesale offerings of the brand,” Payson said. “We see the a possibility of up to 1,000-1,200 door exits at some point, which would position Kors’ wholesale distribution more closely to Calvin Klein women’s [with 1,400 stores].”
At 1 p.m. on Wall Street, Shares of Coach were up 3.2 percent to $43.12, while Kors was off 0.4 percent to $63.54 and Tiffany was down 1.4 percent to $86.18.