A Touchdown for This Leather Expert?

With college football season upon us, the Heisman hype is expected to be greater than ever. With stars such as Ted Ginn, Jr., Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and Reggie Bush, repeat-Heisman hopeful Matt Leinart will be in a race that may be one of the best ever. The race for college football's most prized trophy will be a doozy, but the same cannot be said about the duel between leather makers Wilsons The Leather Expert (Nasdaq: WLSN  ) and Coach (NYSE: COH  ) .

While Coach has been a champ of an investment up to this point, Wilsons, on the other hand, is thankful that the clock hasn't run out yet. So let's take a look at Wilsons to see whether it has what it takes to make a comeback.

If you just took a quick sneak peek at its latest quarterly results, you may have been one of those who helped sink its stock down to $6. No doubt the Q2 2005 net loss of $14 million wouldn't exactly cause you to give your investing buddy a high five. While Wilsons fumbled with another operating loss, Coach showed improved operating profit margins of 33.8% for its most recent quarter.

Cooler heads prevailed, however, as Wilsons' recent brush at $6 was brief. Its rebounding price of $6.75, not too far off from its 52-week high, suggests that shareholders were able to salvage a few positives out of the latest quarter. These included a substantial improvement in its SGA (selling, general, and administrative) expenses as a percentage of revenue. While not quite good enough to result in an operating profit, going from 60.8% in the second quarter of last year to the most recent quarter's 42.1% shows that management is doing some good things to get its team pointed in the right direction.

Wilsons continues to show some improvements, but as I advised before, investors will want to hold out for a series of successes before calling this team a winner. And since it's hard to call a net loss a touchdown, they may want to temper their enthusiasm for this company's stock until it shows it can reach the end zone.

If Wilsons isn't your style, check out these articles on Coach:

Fool contributorJeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.


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