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Bear of the Day: Coach (COH)

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It has been a time of change for the retail industry as many companies have seen either great trading as of late, or extremely sluggish reports and lowered guidance. Coach (COH), a seller of accessories, definitely falls into the latter category after its latest earnings report.

Coach in Focus

 Although the company has been doing quite well from a long term perspective, it has been far shakier as of late, as many are starting to worry that the firm is being left in the dust by some of its competitors. Thanks to this perception, the stock has been quite volatile for much of 2013, though it has skewed lower lately.

This trend could continue based on the latest earnings, as though COH managed to meet estimates, there were several key items in the report that were concerning. In particular though, it was some sluggishness from the all-important North American market that was the most depressing for COH.

In this segment, sales fell 1% to $778 million, pushing comparable same store sales down 6.8%. Shipments also fell, while department store sales compared to the year-ago period also slumped, suggesting broad bearishness.

It wasn’t all bad news as the company did see a strong performance out of its international segment, and in particular Chinese sales. This segment soared by 35% with a double-digit move higher in comparable store sales figures.

So while Coach has made some good progress in the international segment, it has seemingly come at the expense of its top market, the U.S. consumer. Without this business, Coach will be in deep trouble, and with declining margins on top of this story, it is easy to see why many are growing concerned about COH.

Estimate Picture in Focus

Thanks to this dismal trend in the home market, analysts are quickly reevaluating their opinion of Coach and their future prospects on the earnings front. Literally every estimate made on the company has moved lower in the past seven days, with more than 15 estimates moving south for all periods.

This has also pushed the company’s consensus estimate sharply lower as well, once again for all periods studied. The current year estimate was especially horrendous, with it moving from $4.09/share to $3.56/share today. And with this level, Coach is now expected to see an earnings contraction for the current year, further underscoring the bearishness on the stock.

Thanks to this, Coach has earned itself a dreaded Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), suggesting that it is likely to underperform in the near term. And with losses of nearly 10% in the past month alone, this probably isn’t the time to make a contrarian bet.

Other Picks

Unfortunately, the textile-apparel Zacks Industry actually has a pretty poor Rank, pushing the segment into the bottom 30% of all industries. However, there is one #1 Ranked stock in the bunch which could be a great alternative; HanesBrands (HBI - Free Report) .

This company has seen its Rank surge from a #3 a week ago to a #1 Rank today, and it is expected to see strong earnings growth as well. So, if you are determined to stay in the industry, consider this better positioned company over Coach at this time, at least until COH can figure out how to grow sales once again in the key North American market.

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