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Americans Overhaul Wardrobes: 4 Apparel Retailers in Focus

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As coronavirus-inflicted ‘stay-at-home’ orders are being lifted in various parts of the world, the Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry has been steadily making its way out of a tight corner. The virus outbreak created a serious havoc in the retail space – with government-mandated lockdown orders and travel restrictions leading to a long haul of temporary store closures, thereby resulting in a huge blow to sales. However, things look much rosier now.

With increased inoculation and curbs being lifted, consumers are gradually returning to their normal lifestyle and looking to refresh their wardrobes. Clearly, demand for apparel is here to stay. To tap the budding demand, whether in-store or online, apparel retailers are focusing on omni-channel capabilities, delivery solutions, loyalty programs as well as contactless payment options, among others.

Concurrently, companies are investing in renovation, improved checkouts and mobile point-of-sale capabilities to keep stores relevant. Also, they are focused on refreshing offerings and coming up with customization options. That said, as Americans look to venture out, apparel retailers are set to strike the right chords with them. Impressively, sales at clothing & clothing accessories stores soared a whopping 200.3% year over year in May 2021.

Without a doubt, players with sound fundamentals and robust strategic endeavors are likely to gain from the budding demand in the apparel retail space despite pandemic-induced challenges. On that note, we have shortlisted four stocks from the Zacks Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry. These stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and have a Momentum Score of A or B. Moreover, each of the stocks has outperformed the industry’s growth of 33.2% on a year-to-date basis. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

We note that the Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry is housed within the broader Zacks Retail and Wholesale sector. Markedly, the industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #29, which places it in the top 11% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Here are the Fantastic Four

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1, has surged 124.8% on a year-to-date basis. The company has been making significant progress in expanding digital and omni-channel capabilities to better engage with consumers. Well, the specialty retailer of premium, high-quality casual apparel has been making continued investments toward bolstering omni-channel capabilities, including curbside pickup and ship from store services. Moreover, Abercrombie has been on track with its cost-minimization measures. Apart from this, its efforts toward rationalizing store base by reducing dependence on underperforming tourist driven locations are noteworthy. Well, Abercrombie currently has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 18% and a Momentum Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2021 sales and earnings suggest improvement of 18.5% and 552.1%, respectively, from the figure reported in the year-ago period.

Investors can also count on The Children’s Place, Inc. (PLCE - Free Report) — the largest pure-play children’s specialty apparel retailer in North America. The Zacks Rank #1 company has been aggressively adopting strategies and making planned investments to cater to consumer demand and behavior. It has been on track with growth efforts such as enhancing digital capabilities, augmenting supply chain and improving financial flexibility. The company is focusing on superior product strategy to resonate well with millennial customers and advancing omni-channel capabilities. The company, whose shares have gained 85.9% so far this year, carries a Momentum Score of A. Further, Children’s Place currently has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2021 sales and earnings suggest growth of 23.3% and 318.6%, respectively, from the figure reported in the year-ago period.

Foot Locker Inc. (FL - Free Report) , which has returned 53.8% year to date, is a New York-based retailer of athletic shoes and apparel. The Zacks Rank #1 stock has been flourishing on strength in its digital realm, robust brand portfolio and prudent inventory management. In fact, management is optimistic regarding its product categories as well as its ability to drive long-term growth. Incidentally, it will continue focusing on digital advancement and enhancement of its U.S. supply chain. Apart from these, the company plans to spend a major portion of the capital on its fleet of stores, including revamping and remodeling of the same. Well, Foot Locker currently has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of almost 4% and a Momentum Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2021 sales and earnings suggest growth of 11.2% and 101.4%, respectively, from the figure reported in the year-ago period.

Boot Barn Holdings, Inc. (BOOT - Free Report) is leading lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, sporting Zacks Rank #1. The company’s impressive merchandise, marketing and omni-channel initiatives have been fueling margin expansion and generating solid profits. Amid the pandemic, the company’s e-commerce business has been strong, driving overall performance. Management has been boosting the omni-channel offerings to enhance customers’ experience through buy online pickup in-store, buy online curbside pickup, in-store fulfillment and same-day delivery among others. Moreover, management is on track to expand its retail footprint to enhance its customer base. Well, the company has a Momentum Score of B and has surged a whopping 94% year to date. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its fiscal 2022 sales and earnings suggest growth of 26.8% and 70.3%, respectively, from the figure reported in the year-ago period.

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