Is There Still Upside in These Luxury Retail Stocks?

I'm a guy, and as such, I tend to invest in lots of companies that do guy-type-things. But I'm always on the lookout for good opportunities, and on a recent trip inside the closet that I share with my wife, I noticed that I may have overlooked a potentially lucrative industry.

While my wife doesn't care much about shoes, she does love handbags, and judging from her collection, she particularly likes Coach (NYSE: COH  ) and Michael Kors (NYSE: KORS  ) . While standing inside my closet, I found myself wondering how these companies looked as investment opportunities. Had I been overlooking something good?

COH Chart

Coach
What I first noticed about Coach was the turbulent ride its share price has been on this year. The chart above tells the story of a tempestuous year. The stock hit a high just shy of $62 in mid-January, but fell to a low of $45.87 by late February. Throughout the year, shares of Coach have bounced up and down within that range.

However, as I looked into Coach's financials, I began to feel better about this luxury leather goods company. Coach's net cash flow has had a steady climb over the past five years. It reported $1.41 billion for the 2013 fiscal year, with gross margins of 73%. Income-minded investors will probably like that it pays a quarterly dividend -- currently $0.3375 per share -- for an annual dividend yield of 2.5%. And while analysts are split pretty evenly between buy and hold, there is a consensus price target of $62. All of this seems to make Coach worth some consideration.

Michael Kors
Michael Kors has been something of a financial media darling since its December 2011 IPO, and a look at the above chart shows that its share price has outperformed its competitor, Coach, pretty decidedly. If nothing else, this says that investors like this stock. But it's not all hype--Kors' fundamentals look strong, too. Net operating cash flow was $356 million for the 2013 fiscal year, which sounds small when compared to Coach's numbers, but that $356 million is up from just $115 million the previous year.

Kors' gross margins are smaller than Coach's as well, but at 57%, they are still very good. While there is no dividend paid on shares of Kors, analysts seem to like it a lot, with the vast majority rating it a strong buy. With Kors closing at $75.24 last week, it is not far from the consensus target of $80, which, personally, makes me leery of this one, at least from a long-term investment perspective. Where it goes once it hits $80 seems like a big gamble. I will keep an eye on Kors, but at this time, I don't think there's a place for it in my portfolio.

The death of luxury?
Many have proclaimed that luxury retail is dead, but I'm not sure that's the case. There is, of course, a cyclical aspect to the sales of high-end items, but these companies have posted good numbers during rough economic times.

If the economy is turning around, as many predict, the luxury space seems poised to benefit greatly. With Coach and Kors posting such good numbers in poor economic times, maybe these companies deserve a spot in your portfolio. If you're unsure now, you might want to keep an eye on them for a few weeks, as both companies will release recent quarterly numbers soon. Coach will go first, releasing its first quarter results on Oct. 22, and Kors will follow with its second quarter results on Nov. 5.

Coach is just one company the Fool thinks will rule retail
The retail space is in the midst of the biggest paradigm shift since mail order took off at the turn of last century. Only those most forward-looking and capable companies will survive, and they'll handsomely reward those investors who understand the landscape. You can read about the 3 Companies Ready to Rule Retail in The Motley Fool's special report. Uncovering these top picks is free today; just click here to read more.


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  • Report this Comment On October 23, 2013, at 4:24 AM, GETRICHSLOW2 wrote:

    A friend of mine just recently tried to purchase a Louis Vuitton bag that retails for $3900. There were none available on earth anywhere and they had so many people on the waiting list that they would no longer accept new names.

    This seems to be a trend among many of the high end retailers. What do you reacon the profit is on a $3900 purse?

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