In a blow to the retailer, analysts at investment bank Cowen & Co. on Tuesday downgraded its stock from outperform to market perform for the first time in eight years, lowering its price target to $119 from $142.
The move sent PVH’s share price on a negative path, closing down $5.13, or 4.66 percent, to $105.05. In the last 12 months, it has fallen around 30 percent.
“Our view is that there is a high potential that either top-line or margin profile could disappoint as Calvin begins a period of restructuring,” John Kernan, an analyst at Cowen, said in a note to clients.
He acknowledged that his comments go against the grain as PVH is 85 percent net buy rated, one of the highest in its coverage, suggesting that the consensus view regarding growth and margins over the next several years remains elevated.
Cowen, however, thinks those expectations are too high and instead sees “a lower growth and higher risk environment” on the back of a number of challenges PVH faces and not just in its Calvin Klein business.
This includes competition from other apparel vendors, a difficult wholesale channel in North America, and potential supply chain headwinds, Kernan said.
PVH, which purchased Calvin Klein in 2002 and also owns Tommy Hilfiger, has had a dramatic few months.
The saga first came to light at the end of November when its chairman and chief executive officer Emanuel Chirico shocked the fashion world, unveiling a less than rosy third-quarter performance for Calvin Klein and admitting that its hiring of design-star Simons had not turned out as it had hoped.
He branded Simons’ high-concept overhaul of CK Jeans a fashion miss and slashed investments in the designer’s runway collection, dubbed 205W39NYC. The shortfall caused the brand to shift its focus toward influencers and more approachable messaging.
The disconnect between spending and sales was clear to see in Calvin Klein’s numbers for the third quarter. Earnings before interest and taxes decreased to $121 million from $142 million a year earlier, which the company at least partially attributed to “an approximately $10 million increase in creative and marketing expenditures compared to the prior-year period.”
Rumors swirled over Simons’ future at the brand, with speculation turning into reality just before the Christmas holiday, when Calvin Klein announced in a terse press release that it had cut ties with the Belgian designer.
Just weeks later, Steve Shiffman, chief executive officer of Calvin Klein Inc., said it would shutter Calvin Klein’s New York flagship on Madison Avenue and trim staff as part of its “go forward” restructuring plan.
A spokeswoman for PVH did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the downgrade.