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3 Sports Retail Stocks to Buy Right Now: LULU, VFC, UAA

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains discusses three sports retail stocks to buy right now as the market continues to hum along in 2019.

Nike (NKE - Free Report) and Adidas (ADDYY - Free Report) are by far the largest sports-focused retailers in the world. But at one point not too long ago there was talk that Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) would perhaps be able to challenge Nike and Adidas for sportswear supremacy. The likelihood that Under Armour does truly compete on that level seems less likely these days. Nonetheless, UAA stock has outpaced NKE and ADDYY in 2019 and over the last 12 months.

Looking ahead, the company is expected to see impressive double-digit bottom-line growth in fiscal 2019 and 2020. Plus, analysts have turned more positive on Under Armour’s earnings outlook, which helps it earn a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at the moment.

Meanwhile, Lululemon (LULU - Free Report) has remained one of the hottest retail stocks on the market. The company is coming off blowout fourth-quarter earnings. More specifically, Lululemon’s comp sales soared 17%, with e-commerce sales up 39% for the quarter. E-commerce accounted for 30% of total revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 25.4% of total revenue in the year-ago period. This business will become even more important as mobile shopping expands and the popularity of shopping directly from platforms such as Instagram (FB - Free Report) proliferate.

On top of expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint and actively trying to grow in Asia, LULU has expanded far beyond its yoga gear into outwear, shoes, accessories, as well as more work-appropriate and fashion-focused offerings for both men and women. Lululemon, which is currently a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), now competes against not only the likes of Nike, but also Gap (GPS - Free Report) , L Brands (LB - Free Report) , Canada Goose (GOOS - Free Report) , V.F. Corporation (VFC - Free Report) , and others.

Speaking of The North Face owner, VFC is currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), based on its positive longer-term earnings estimate revision activity. V.F., which competes against Columbia Sportswear (COLM - Free Report) , also owns Vans, Timberland, Wrangler, Lee, and others. North Face sales popped 10% in the first nine months of the year, with Vans up 30%. Meanwhile, investors should pay attention to how shares of newly public Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI perform as a proxy for the larger denim industry.

VFC stock is up 25% this year and its full-year revenue is projected to pop roughly 12%. Plus, VFC stock still sits roughly $10 below its 52-week high of $97 per share. The company is also a dividend payer, with a $2.04 per share annualized payout for a 2.29% yield.

Meanwhile, up-and-coming cooler power Yeti (YETI - Free Report) remains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and kayak, camping equipment, and scuba gear maker Johnson Outdoors (JOUT - Free Report) is also a Zacks Rank #1.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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