SAKS STOCK UP ON HIKE IN FURMAN SELZ RATING
NEW YORK — Shares of Saks Holdings rose 1 1/8 to 33 14 Thursday after Furman Selz put the chain on its recommended list and upgraded it from neutral.
Kimberly Walin, analyst at Furman Selz, said in a research note that stock prices of high-end retailers “have languished over the last couple of months despite excellent operating momentum.”
Saks stock has retreated 22 percent from an October high of 41 1/4, she said.
Walin said that the retailer’s February sales are doing well despite a difficult same-store sales comparison with a 14.9 percent gain a year ago. She expects the retailer to report strong fourth-quarter results next week.
Walin estimates Saks will earn 71 cents a share, with 44 percent more shares outstanding, compared with 61 cents in the year-ago quarter. She estimates that sales grew 11 percent in the quarter, with an 8.3 percent calendar same-store sales gain.
This performance would be counter to the disappointing fourth-quarter performance from Nordstrom, she said, adding, “Saks and Neiman’s are siphoning off Nordstrom’s higher-end customers by offering more exclusives and greater depth in bridge and designer merchandise.”
For the year, Walin estimates Saks will earn 73 cents against a loss in 1995. She also raised her 1997 estimate on Saks by 5 cents to $1.72.