It's easy to appreciate teens -- especially if you don't have any of your own. But I'm talking about the investors' point of view. Over the past few years, there have been substantial payoffs for stock pickers who've put their dollars into the companies where teens spend theirs: Aeropostale
But the teens I really love are companies. I'm taking about firms whose commonly observed growth metrics are in the teens. When a company is growing sales and earnings percentages in the teens, they're below the blistering pace that attracts the big-money crowd and pushes prices up beyond the margin of safety. (If you can buy these when the P/E is also in the teens, you should be doubly interested.)
My favorite of these, over the past year, has been Guess?
The final bit of good news was that Guess?, which is also subject to a European fashion calendar, has different lumps from U.S.-only clothiers. As such, it doesn't lend itself to easy evaluation. Add in the structural changes it was enduring at the time, which masked the real story, and those with short attention spans didn't seem to be paying attention. That meant a real value a few months back. But I still think there's room for more, which is why I don't see any reason to shed my shares, even after today's 20% rise.
Just-released September sales results show that Guess? may have just kicked things up a notch. Total revenues for September were up 25.3% on strong 14.2% comps growth. That helped wrap up its third quarter with 19.6% growth on the top line and 8.9% same-store sales growth. We won't know how earnings came out for a while, but I'm expecting good things, especially since management noted that September's major gains were made with less discounting than in the prior year. That's usually good for margins.
It's tough to find a real competitor for Guess? -- while there are plenty of teen retailers out there selling jeans, Guess? certainly has its own look. That's a double-edged blade, of course. It means that when it's on the right side of trends, Guess? has its own niche, but if it's wrong, you might hear crickets instead of cash registers. While many are averse to investing in companies with fashion risk like this, I'd say, "Follow the success." And the results at Guess? certainly show that it's getting things right.
For related Foolishness:
- Review Guess's last quarter by the numbers.
- Should you have been worried about the "jeans glut?"
- Analysts have been guessing wrong for a while.
Seth Jayson loves retail, because there are potentials for bargains every single month. At the time of publication, he had shares of Guess?, Aeropostale, and Pacific Sunwear, but no position in any other firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.