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Bear of the Day: Francesca's (FRAN)

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It’s not really difficult to pick on brick-and-mortar retailers in this market. Flat out, online sales have been killing traditional retailers. While it hasn’t been a problem across the board, it has been a huge problem for most stores. If a company doesn’t have a reason for shoppers to keep coming back then they end of suffering. Some places have avoided their doom by instituting great rewards programs while others have leaned on a superior in-store customer experience. Today’s Bear of the Day needs to think quickly to make a move to right the ship.

That Bear of the Day is Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) Francesca’s (FRAN - Free Report) . Francesca’s Holdings Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates a chain of retail boutiques. It offers fashion apparel, jewelry, accessories, and gifts primarily for women between the ages of 18 and 35. The company’s apparel products comprise dresses, fashion tops, sweaters, cardigans and wraps, bottoms, outerwear and jackets, tees and tanks, and intimates; and jewelry includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. Its accessories consist of handbags, clutches, wallets, shoes, belts, hats, scarves, sunglasses, watches, and hair accessories; and gifts include fragrances, candles, bath and body products, home accessories, books, wall art, nail polish, and miscellaneous items. As of January 28, 2017, the company operated 671 boutiques under the name Francesca’s in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

A big reason for the unfavorable Zacks Rank is the increasing bearish attitude among analysts. Over the last week, two analysts have dropped their EPS estimates for the current quarter while four have brought down their current year numbers. The overall impact to our Zacks Consensus Estimate has been drastic. Current quarter EPS consensus is down from 30 cents to 17 cents while our current year number had dipped from $1.18 to $1.09.

It’s no wonder why the stock has come under so much pressure this year. The apparel market has managed to inch higher on the year, up 4.2% however shares of Francesca’s have sold off 39.3%. A sharp decline in the face of a very bullish stock market.

Investors looking for other companies in the same industry should take a look at a couple of Zacks Rank # 1 (Strong Buy) stocks, Adidas (ADDYY - Free Report) and Rocky Brands (RCKY - Free Report) .

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