3 Consumer Stocks That Got 'Returned' in Q2

Why did investors turn away from Coach, Elizabeth Arden, and Lululemon Athletica?

Jul 3, 2014 at 10:00AM
Lululemon Yoga

Source: Lululemon

The second quarter has drawn to a close with three major consumer-goods stocks down double-digits. Coach (NYSE:COH) suffered from a weak earnings report that fell far behind the competition. Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN) scared away a potential buyer with restructuring plans. Lululemon athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) added to its continuing problems with a shaky earnings report and corporate in-fighting.

What were the details behind the three stocks investors returned this quarter?   

Coach's revenue drop
Coach shares were down 30% following a third-quarter report that featured weakness in women's bags and accessories -- a key segment for the company's branding. 

Third-quarter sales were down 7% year over year to $1.1 billion, while net income fell 20% to $191 million. CEO Victor Luis blamed the drops on the North American underperformance of women's products, which were low enough to offset the stronger performance of men's accessories and footwear. North American revenue alone was down 18%, with comparable-store sales down 21% compared to the prior year's quarter.

International sales were up 14%, with China the standout growth region. But that dim spot of light in the quarterly report didn't reassure investors that Coach can keep up with Michael Kors Holdings (NYSE:KORS) and other luxury-brand competitors.

Kors reported fourth-quarter results in May and showed nearly 54% year-over-year revenue growth to $917 million, a 21% North American comps increase and a 56% increase in earnings per share. The company's shares nevertheless finished the second quarter down slightly.

Elizabeth Arden restructures, loses buyer
Elizabeth Arden shares closed the quarter down about 24% after making the list of one of the worst-performing stocks during the month of May. The company had a terrible third-quarter report, admitted to hiring Goldman Sachs to help explore its options, and settled on a restructuring plan that caused a key potential buyer to lose interest. 

Arden recently announced plans to cut low-return brands from the portfolio. Workforce cuts and closure of the Puerto Rico operations are expected to save Elizabeth Arden $27 million-$35 million in 2014. The company will take a charge of $85 million-$95 million in the fourth-quarter report to account for the restructuring.

The revenue- and margin-saving restructuring had the side effect of turning away potential buyer LG Healthcare & Household -- a prominent cosmetics company in Korea that was looking to expand abroad. LG Healthcare originally expressed interest in acquiring Elizabeth Arden back in April but changed its tune shortly after Arden's restructuring plans were announced, much to the disappointment of investors hoping for a sale.

Lululemon's troubles continue
Yoga-apparel company Lululemon had a rough 2013 with a prominent product recall, the resignation of its long-term CEO, and more public relations missteps from its founder. The company finished down more than 20% in this year's second quarter due to a shaky earnings report and founder Dennis "Chip" Wilson bringing in Goldman Sachs.

The first-quarter report in June beat analyst estimates on revenue and EPS but offered a weak forecast. Comps for corporate-owned stores were down 4%, which led to overall comps coming in nearly flat. Inventory was up 23% year over year as the company tried to restock around last year's product-quality controversy and amid increasing, stylistically varied competition from the likes of Gap and Under Armour.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that founder and board chairman Chip Wilson had turned to Goldman Sachs to consider options that might include a proxy fight. The board of directors reportedly contacted their own bankers in order to fight off Wilson if necessary.

Foolish final thoughts
Coach reports fourth-quarter results in early August, and continued weakness could further weigh down the share price. Elizabeth Arden's future remains murky until either the restructuring plans start showing some numerical payoff or another buyer comes along. Lululemon's infighting, lowered guidance, and high inventory suggest that 2014 might prove as rough as last year for the company.

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Brandy Betz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coach, Lululemon Athletica, and Michael Kors Holdings. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coach and Michael Kors Holdings. 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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