Michael Kors Sells All of the Bags

There's nothing in Michael Kors' path that's going to slow this beast down.

Feb 6, 2014 at 9:44AM

Sometimes what a business really does is obscured by the face that the business presents to the world. For instance, you might think the "pizza slices the size of your head" joint down the road sells pizza, but really it sells heartburn and regret. Similarly, you might think that Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) sells handbags and accessories, but really it just prints cash.

If you're in any doubt, just look at the company's most recent quarterly results. Revenue was up 59%, comparable store sales grew 27.8%, and earnings per share were up 73.4%. What?

Michael Kors is unstoppable
That's a little facetious -- every company is stoppable. Michael Kors is certainly on a tear, though. Investors have been riding the wave to excellent returns -- the stock is up 61% over the last 12 months -- and a positive outlook. Success has come from the brand's incredible strength and luxury factor.

You don't have to look any further than Coach (NYSE:COH) to see where Kors is getting its business. The bettered retailer has seen its market share slip-slide away, with North American comparable sales falling 13.6%. You can almost imagine the swing that's happened here. A customer walks into the mall, mows through a Cinnabon, and walks right past the Coach store to the new Michael Kors location, where all their friends are shopping.

Kors is planning to keep the pedal pressed firmly down and is forecasting a comparable-store sales increase of between 15% and 20% in the next quarter. That would be the lowest increase the company has recorded yet, with the current low being 22.9% in the second quarter of fiscal 2013.

What's in store for Michael Kors
While the company seems to be on an undeniable run, it's not cheap to get in on the action. Kors is trading at 31 times its past 12 months of earnings. Coach is trading at just 13 times its earnings, but it's also suffering.

For the rest of 2014, Kors is on track to open four locations in North America and four in Europe. That should help open up the business, as right now Kors earns less than 15% of its revenue in Europe and 85% in North America.

Finally, I expect Kors will continue to outperform its estimates for comparable-store sales. The management team has been conservative in its forecasts, and there's nothing in Coach's lineup that suggests it's going to take any momentum back from Kors. At some point this year, Tory Burch might jump into the fray to shake things up, but that's still a ways off. For the foreseeable future, Kors is just going to keep churning out bills.

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Editor's note: A previous version of this article listed Kors' P/E as 37, not 31. The Fool regrets the error.

Andrew Marder has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coach and Michael Kors Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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