The bank downgraded Kering to sell on Friday and slashed its target price on the stock to 136.80 euros, or $153.04 at current exchange, from 183.50 euros, or $205.29.
Kering stock fell 6.2 percent after the downgrade to 141.70 euros, or $157.51, leaving shares of the company off 9.1 percent for the year so far.
Goldman analyst William Hutchings said Gucci has overexpanded its store network and the current turnaround strategy will take time. He wrote, “We see limited offsets from the rest of the portfolio and believe consensus expectations for 7 percent group revenue growth and 130 [basis point] margin uplift as a challenge.”
In June, Credit Suisse analyst Guillaume Gauville also downgraded the stock to underperform and dropped his target price to 140 euros from 170 euros. Gauville doesn’t believe that Gucci can deliver the consensus estimate calling for flat sales for 2015 and instead sees Gucci declining 4 percent. Gauville wrote, “The stock has gone through 10 consecutive quarters of negative organic growth revisions at Gucci and we do not feel comfortable yet with current market expectations of flat organic sales in 2015.”
Gauville, like Hutchings, thinks Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent are outperforming and are a positive element at Kering, but that they won’t be enough to offset the problems at Gucci. When it comes to Puma, Guillame expressed concern about the highly competitive market with Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. Selling Puma outright, in his opinion, brings little additional value per share.
Goldman’s comments about there being too many stores is underscored by Credit Suisse’s analysis from June, when the bank noted that store count increased by 70 percent between 2009 and 2013, but units sold per store dropped by half.
Credit Suisse suggested that the reason behind the drop in traffic was due to increasing prices and loss of brand appeal among the Chinese. Guillaume noted that Gucci isn’t at the top of the shopping list of luxury bags for Chinese, but Louis Vuitton still remains a desired brand.
Goldman said Kering’s second-quarter revenue outperformance was significantly led by promotions and that it would impact future growth. Hutchings noted he could change his opinion if there were a faster recovery at Gucci and better-than-expected cost savings from store closures.
For its part, Gucci has taken a radical shift in its latest marketing campaign and is focusing on digital communication. Madonna has also chosen Gucci to be one of the designer brands for her concert tour costumes.