Quite a few retailers seem to be losing some top brass lately; Hot Topic
Charlotte Russe shares dropped more than 20% yesterday after the company announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Patti Johnson, is resigning. Just a few weeks ago the company said its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Hoffman, retired, so you get the drift: There's some serious upper management uproar.
Board member Leonard (Len) Mogil, who formerly worked as an executive vice president at Phillips-Van Heusen
Charlotte Russe's quarterly earnings missed analysts' expectations by a penny, which also hammered the stock; earnings were $0.31 per share, on the low end of its own guidance for $0.31 per share to $0.34 per share. Net income fell by 35% to $6.6 million. Revenue increased 7.2% to $193.2 million, with same-store sales dropping 6.5%.
Musical chairs seem pretty prevalent in retail these days. American Eagle Outfitters
I've pointed to Charlotte Russe as an appealing value stock over the last year or so. Its price-to-earnings ratio has been very low compared to other retailers for quite some time now (although some rivals are starting to trade at similar multiples), and although it also faces the current economic headwinds, it's from the discounted, "fast fashion" retail segment.
However, make no mistake, losing major executives and having a board member run the show infuses a more serious degree of risk than existed before. It still looks like it's on the cheap side, though: It's trading at only 8 times trailing earnings, compared to price-to-earnings ratios of 19 at Hot Topic, 11 at Abercrombie, and 8 at American Eagle Outfitters.
Hot Topic trades at a premium, but it's also trying to turn itself around in a tough retail environment. So at least one thing here looks like a no-brainer, to me anyway -- Hot Topic's stock's just too pricey. Charlotte Russe, Abercrombie, and American Eagle all sound like beaten-down value stocks for the long term -- but they come with risks that investors must weigh carefully.
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