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2 Apparel Stocks Poised for a Bull Run

By Lawrence Rothman, CFA – Oct 15, 2020 at 12:30PM

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These companies offer solid prospects in a challenging environment.

When looking for apparel companies to invest in, you may want to avoid those that rely on the latest fashion trends. While these companies can do well for a while, they are subject to ever-changing consumer tastes, and that can sometimes backfire with devastating effects.

With the scrap heap littered with apparel companies that weren't able to keep up with shifting preferences, these two businesses provide goods that don't depend on the latest trends. Their results, and hence their stock prices, are in a prime position to benefit from growing demand for their products.

A woman wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Image source: Getty Images.

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss' (LEVI 0.30%) recent results have hit a rough patch due to the pandemic forcing governments to issue stay-at-home orders and close down physical access to retailers. Revenue in its fiscal third quarter (ended Aug. 23) dropped by 27% to $1.1 billion. But this company, founded nearly 170 years ago, will surely rebound. Its jeans and Dockers brand enjoy worldwide recognition.

With these powerful brands, it is looking to expand its digital capabilities. Sales from its own websites accounted for only 3% of its 2015 revenue, which grew to 5% in 2019. In the most recent quarter, its e-commerce revenue grew by 52%. 

It has also been extending its reach to women by diversifying its product line. After revamping this part of the business a few years ago, including new product launches, its share of the company's revenue has expanded from 20% in 2015 to 37% in the third quarter. It's growing faster than its men's business, and management expects women's clothing to account for half of its revenue down the road.


Hanesbrands' (HBI -0.80%) share price is up about 12% this year, but down 28% over the past three years. With an attractive valuation and growth drivers, the stock appears poised for further gains.

With a Hanes branded product in nine out of 10 U.S. householders, there is an excellent chance that you have one of its garments. In fact, this is the country's best-selling apparel brand, and includes underwear, bras, and T-shirts. It has other popular brands, such as Maidenform, Playtex, L'eggs, and Wonderbra.

While these are iconic products, goods sold under its Champion umbrella, Hanes' second-largest brand, offer exciting prospects, too. It has been around for more than 100 years, offering athletic wear like sweatshirts, and has been experiencing strong growth by providing athleisure products to a younger demographic.

Hanes management also showed its ability to quickly pivot by shifting production to personal protection equipment (PPE). This helped boost its fiscal second-quarter adjusted sales, which rose by 6% to $1.7 billion. Through cost-cutting, its adjusted earnings per share increased by 58% to $0.60.

While PPE sales may fade, Hanes will continue to benefit from its stable of well-recognized products to drive revenue and profit growth.

Lawrence Rothman, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Hanesbrands Stock Quote
$6.70 (-0.80%) $0.05
Levi Strauss & Co. Stock Quote
Levi Strauss & Co.
$16.57 (0.30%) $0.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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