Quiksilver Crashes: Buying Opportunity?

Source: Quiksilver.

Shares of surfing and skateboarding apparel maker Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK  ) crashed by a breathtaking 41% on Tuesday, as investors massively sold in reaction to the company's latest earnings report. Fear and uncertainty can usually create buying opportunities in these kinds of situations. However, alternatives such as Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) and Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) look like much better choices for your portfolio. Let's look in more detail at what happened.

Out of fashion
Quiksilver is having serious trouble at adapting to consumer trends lately, and the brand is losing power because of mistakes in areas such as product design and marketing. In a sign of the times, surfing star Kelly Slater has recently announced the end of his 23-year sponsorship agreement with Quiksilver, and it certainly won't be easy for the company to replace Slater, arguably the greatest surfer in the history of the sport.

Financial performance has been under pressure for some time now, and the latest earnings report was particularly dismal. Sales during the quarter ended on April 30 fell by 10.5% to $408 million, versus $456 million in the same quarter during the prior year.

Performance was weak across different geographies: Sales in the Americas declined 18% to $186 million, while sales in constant currency fell 16%. Sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa fell 2% to $162 million from $165 million, and were down 5% in constant currency. Net revenues in the Asia-Pacific region were down by 6% to $60 million, but up 3% in constant currency.

E-commerce was a particularly strong spot for the company, with sales increasing by 23% versus the prior year. Management also cited strong growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, and Mexico as the main driver behind a big increase of 28% in emerging markets revenues during the quarter.

Still, this was not enough to compensate for huge declines in key markets. Besides, management is not very optimistic regarding prospects for a turnaround in the short term: "We expect to see key sales trends in the first half of the year continue into the second half of fiscal 2014."

Net income per share was a loss of $0.15 during the quarter, considerably bigger than the net loss of $0.02 per share that Wall Street analysts forecasted on average.

The scenario looks quite gloomy for investors in Quiksilver, and there aren't many reasons to be optimistic in the middle term. The way things are going, it looks like performance could continue deteriorating before turning for the better.

Quiksilver versus Nike and Under Armour
Nike is considerably bigger than Quiksilver, and the company is not as focused on specific disciplines such as surfing and skateboarding. However, Nike is still one of the most renowned brands in the global sports apparel and footwear business, and the company offers unparalleled competitive strengths in areas such as scale, global reach, and marketing budget.

Furthermore, for a company of its size, Nike is generating impressive growth. During the quarter ended on Feb. 26, Nike delivered a 13% increase in revenues to $7 billion, while sales excluding currency fluctuations jumped 14% versus the prior year. Worldwide future orders were up by 12% during the quarter, or 14% when excluding currency changes. 

Even if Under Armour is considerably smaller than Nike, the company is still bigger and more profitable than Quiksilver. Importantly, Under Armour is truly firing on all cylinders.

Under Armour announced a big 36% revenue increase during the quarter ended on March 31, reaching $642 million during the period. International sales grew by a spectacular 79% year over year, and they still represented only 9% of total revenues during the quarter. This means that Under Armour has enormous room for growth in the years ahead, not only in the U.S. but also in global markets.

Investors looking for a solid and reliable play in the sports apparel and footwear business should look no further than Nike, while those who prefer a smaller company with extraordinary potential for growth may want to consider Under Armour instead.

As for Quiksilver, the risk is probably too high at this stage.

Foolish takeaway
Steeply falling sales and wider-than-expected losses are a big reason for concern regarding Quiksilver, and the company has not proved its ability to turn the situation around. Companies such as Nike and Under Armour seem to be much safer and more reliable alternatives in the sports apparel and shoes business.

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