It's been interesting to watch which retail and consumer goods companies have been able to buck the trend in these difficult times for the American consumer. VF
VF's first-quarter net income increased 7.7% to $149 million, or $1.33 per share. Revenue rose 10% to $1.85 billion. The company attributed much of its success to its outdoor and imagewear segments, which include brands like The North Face, Vans, and Majestic Athletic, as well as its contemporary brands, which include high-end denim brand 7 for All Mankind as well as the yoga-centric lucy. (lucy goes head-to-head against a stock many found buzzworthy recently -- lululemon
If investors don't seem too terribly impressed with VF's quarter, maybe it's because VF said it sees a lower second-quarter profit than last year, coming in at $0.80 per share versus last year's $0.93 per share. On the other hand, VF maintained its guidance for 2008 earnings to rise 10% and revenue to grow 9%. In the conference call, management said its expectation for a strong second half of the year isn't actually contingent on a recovery in the economy or consumer spending -- one would think that would mitigate some investor pessimism. Instead, that strength is contingent on executing plans in the company's businesses.
Many companies have turnaround situations to contend with right now, as well as a far less enthusiastic American consumer -- look at the situations at Chico's
Of course, right now maybe the best values are the companies that are already strong, not struggling to right their ships, and VF has been a good example of such a company.
I'm not changing the positive tune I've had about VF's stock over recent months. VF has a wide array of brands that attract many demographics, and many of these are very high quality. Also, its international exposure has helped it weather the economic storm quite nicely. Last but not least, it gives investors additional income through a dividend (which is why it's a Motley Fool Income Investor selection). VF still strikes me as a very fine idea indeed.
Shop around for some related Foolishness: