If you're a Skechers (NYSE:SKX) investor, no one will blame you for being nervous. The walking and casual athletic-footwear specialist reports quarterly results after the market close on Thursday, and last time, the stock got rocked.
Shares of Skechers plummeted 27% the day after it posted uninspiring first-quarter financials. Skechers stock had hit fresh two-year highs earlier in the week. Analysts have been warming up to the shares lately. Eric Tracy at Buckingham put out a bullish note on Skechers last week following channel checks showing healthy demand for the company's footwear. Last month, it was Jay Sole initiating coverage of the stock with a buy rating. Both analysts have $42 price targets on the shares, approaching where the stock was before last quarter's debacle.
The big surprise here is that the stock hasn't gained much of the ground that it lost last time out. The stock has risen less than 4% since its April stumble, so it's fair to say that there's still some pessimism priced in the shares. Trading momentum may not be on the side of the bulls at the moment, but the languishing shares suggest that there's healthy headroom for a bounce if Thursday's report isn't another fiasco.
One step in front of the other
Sizing up last quarter's miscues is probably the first step in assessing Skechers' prospects later this week. Skechers disappointed investors by posting decelerating revenue growth in the first quarter. It also barely beat its sales target and landed within its earnings range. It wasn't a horrendous showing, but it was a far cry from its previous blowout quarter to close out 2017.
The real sticking point in April's report was guidance for the quarter that it will review on Thursday. Skechers is eyeing just 8% to 11% in revenue growth for the second quarter after increasing its top line by 16% or better in each of the four previous outings. The news doesn't get better on the bottom line, with Skechers targeting earnings per share to clock in between flat and up by 13%.
Skechers spent 2017 turning things around, particularly its domestic wholesale business that had lagged the success it was having on the retail front as well as internationally. Now, investors are bracing for back-to-back quarters of decelerating revenue growth for the first time in three years.
Buckingham's Tracy putting out a bullish note late last week is encouraging. His channel checks with industry contacts suggest that demand is healthy and that the product pipeline is looking strong heading into the latter half of the year. He sees a return to accelerating revenue growth in Skechers' guidance for the balance of the year. Tracy also sees the bottom line picking up the pace come next year. An encouraging note so close to a quarterly update isn't always a slam-dunk, but it's typically a positive sign since the Wall Street pro is making a gutsy call on fresh information.