A lot of retail stocks have been getting a tad ahead of themselves lately. You could argue that J. Crew
I would have thought a stock jump of more than 20% in intraday trading might indicate something a little more exciting from J. Crew than what I discovered. Instead, first-quarter net income fell by 33% to $20.4 million, or $0.32 per share. Revenue did increase by 2% to $345.8 million, and although having sales on the upswing is a nice to see in the current climate, same-store sales dropped by 5%.
In the markdown-heavy competitive environment in which it toils, J. Crew also saw its gross margin drop to 42.2% of sales, down from 46.9% of sales this time last year.
Still, J. Crew did manage to beat analysts' earnings expectations by a long shot -- $0.22, to be exact. So clearly, things at J. Crew weren't quite as bad as some might have thought.
When I looked last month at some retail stocks gone wild, J. Crew was on my list. At the time, its stock had already surged significantly, even though its fourth-quarter results had shown weak business performance. And sure enough, there are still a lot of things to like about J. Crew the company. For one thing, it's run by an individual with a reputation for being a smart merchant -- Millard (Mickey) Drexler, who did a stint at Gap
These days, investors seem to be taking great heart in retailers that do better than expected, and of course, there is something to that line of thinking. However, J. Crew looks far too overpriced to me now. It's trading at 37 times trailing earnings. That's way out of hand when you consider that The Buckle
J. Crew is certainly a high-quality retail business, but I see no reason for investors to pay such a hefty premium for the stock, especially when there are still plenty of issues shaking out for consumers. Furthermore, J. Crew stock may well go on sale in the future, given its crazy run-up over recent months. Buyer, beware.
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