Wall street sign in New York city financial economy and business district with America national flag background. Stock market trade and exchange zone.

The coronavirus — an unmitigated disaster for the world and the cause of so much personal suffering — actually boosted the stock market, as well as a lot of fashion, retail and luxury companies. 

Part of that has to do with the low interest rates and trillions of dollars lawmakers used to prop the suddenly shut-down economy. 

And part of it has to do with a change in outlook and attitude. Companies that were constantly chasing the carrot of never-ending growth were forced to stop, re-evaluate and find a new path forward and through the crisis. 

That meant big cost cuts, the jettisoning of non-core businesses, fewer promotions, tighter inventories — and a new corporate look that Wall Street investors are keen on. 

“This is real,” said Simeon Siegel, stock analyst at BMO Capital Markets, of the retail and fashion rally.

“The pandemic provided an opportunity, for those who took it, to refashion their business for the future,” he said. “It allowed everybody to take a minute and reflect on all the decisions being made. The pandemic stopped inertia.” 

Siegel pointed to L Brands Inc., which at least for now is parent to Victoria’s Secret, and Under Armour Inc., which backed away from its bold move in connected fitness, as companies that have made decisive moves. 

“They made very public, very expensive admissions of improvement by closing units, by pulling back on promotions, by selling aspects of their businesses that were not core and essentially by deconstructing the late-cycle decisions that were driven by a sole focus on growth without any care for what it costs,” Siegel said.

L Brands’ stock is up 284 percent over the past year while Under Armour is ahead 122 percent. 

They’re not alone. Platform darling Farfetch, mall mainstay Gap Inc., and department store Macy’s Inc. have all more than doubled the value of their stocks, despite a world of trouble and a gain of just 55 percent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 

Here, a look at just how much key players have gained in the market over the past year.

The Pandemic Rally

Despite the pain of COVID-19, government stimulus and strategic rests have helped fashion stocks.
Company  Stock Price 3/12/21 One-year Change
Farfetch $59.50 648%
Revolve Group Inc. $47.71 428%
L Brands Inc. $60.81 284%
Capri Holdings $54.06 277%
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. $34.20 240%
Gap Inc. $30.81 206%
Tapestry Inc. $44.61 197%
Kohl’s Corp. $60.46 173%
RealReal Inc. $23.22 164%
Macy’s Inc. $18.73 154%
G-III Apparel Group $32.49 145%
PVH Corp. $107.30 143%
Under Armour Inc. $19.44 122%
Nordstrom Inc. $41.37 108%
Moncler 52.04 euros 106%
Target Corp. $180.01 98%
Levi Strauss & Co. $25.14 93%
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton 563.40 euros 91%
Nike Inc. $140.45 91%
Estée Lauder Companies Inc. $289.21 85%
Amazon $3,089.49 84%
Lululemon Athletica Inc. $306.08 81%
Hermès International 954.20 euros 71%
Burberry Group 21.40 pounds 64%
Kering 596.40 euros 60%
Ralph Lauren Corp. $123.98 57%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 32,777.98 55%
Source: Google Finance, Yahoo Finance

 

 

 

More from WWD: 

Who Won 2020? Retail Earnings Tell the COVID-19 Tale

ThredUp Vs. Poshmark Vs. RealReal on Wall Street

Clerisy Growth Fund Launches With $100M and an Eye on Consumer

 

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