The good tidings continue for Etsy (ETSY -0.17%) investors. Shares of the arts and crafts marketplace operator hit fresh 52-week highs on Tuesday following a bullish analyst report on Monday afternoon.
Laura Champine at Loop Capital is kicking off her coverage of Etsy with a buy rating and a $32 price target. She's encouraged by the dot-com turnaround story's momentum since a new management team was brought in last year. Etsy's guidance calls for 21% to 23% in revenue growth this year -- in line with where Champine's Wall Street peers are perched -- but she concedes that the forecasts may prove conservative. The only problem with her $32 price goal on the stock is that it suggests less than 10% of upside off of current levels.
The Etsy bitsy spider
Etsy stock is on fire. The shares have nearly tripled since the beginning of last year. Things seemed pretty hairy a year ago; financial results were problematic, and buyout chatter began circulating as an exit strategy. There were layoffs announced, as was the exit of Etsy's CEO and CTO.
The marketplace operator has been bouncing back since new leadership took over, and February's blowout quarter was just its latest exclamation point. Revenue rose 24%, Etsy's third straight quarter of accelerating year-over-year top-line growth. Gross merchandise sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time in any Etsy quarter. Etsy has landed well ahead of Wall Street's profit targets in each of the past three quarters.
Active sellers, active buyers, and gross merchandise sales have risen 11%, 17%, and 18% over the past year -- and that's just the way you want to see those metrics line up, with buyers growing faster than sellers and spending more. Services revenue is growing faster than all three of those metrics, again just what you want to see as an investor as Etsy milks its dominant niche position.
Things won't always be perfect. Bloomberg is reporting that there are problems with Etsy's wholesale division, which has been helping some high-volume sellers get their products into brick-and-mortar stores. We also live in a time when it's easier than ever to launch one's own digital storefront to sell directly to arts and crafts shoppers. Etsy is still finding ways to post double-digit growth.
It's not just Loop Capital's Champine who is waxing bullish on Etsy these days. Last week it was Tom Forte at D.A. Davidson boosting his price target from $28 to $33. He had lifted his goal from $26 to $28 following February's strong fourth quarter. Last week's boost comes after meetings with management left him impressed with how Etsy's operations are being fine-tuned.