In my previous article, I wrote about three stocks investors can use to profit from the luxury trade. The idea was that despite the overhang of anemic economic growth, there are sectors of the economy that remain virtually untouched by wider economic concerns.
One of these sectors is high-end retailers, and that list includes companies such as luggage maker Tumi Holdings (NYSE: TUMI), jeweler Tiffany& Co. (NYSE: TIF) and the ultimate luxury department store, Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS).
On Tuesday, Aug. 14, Saks reported a wider-than-expected loss for the second quarter, but that loss was due to charges relating to the company closing stores and opening a new fulfillment center. The more important takeaway from the Saks earnings report was that same-store sales, a key metric for retailers, jumped 4.7% in the period. Moreover, the company reiterated its sales forecast for the second half of the year.
The Saks report caused the shares to surge 6% in Tuesday's trading session. The move also confirmed my previous analysis that if the numbers were positive, Saks shares would shine. The Saks news also buttresses my wider thesis that luxury goods shoppers are likely to shrug off bad economic news and continue to "shop 'till they drop."
This means more opportunity in two additional luxury stocks atop my watch list.
First, Michael Kors (NYSE: KORS). On Tuesday, Aug. 14, the designer and seller of men's and women's fashions, handbags and other luxury gear reported outstanding earnings for its fiscal first quarter that included a 185% surge in profits. The company reported net income of $68.6 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $24.1 million, or 13 cents per share. Those numbers easily bested expectations for earnings 20 cents per share.
The top-line revenue number soared in fiscal first quarter, up 71% to $414.9 million compared with the same quarter last year. Wall Street was only expecting revenue of $368 million. Michael Kors also said it saw a remarkable 37.3% increase in same-store sales. The shares jumped more than 16% on the news.
What I like about this stock and what I suspect will continue driving the shares higher despite Tuesday's breakout, is that Michael Kors also raised its fiscal 2013 forecast, saying it now expects sales between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion and earnings between $1.32 and $1.34. That's well above its earlier estimate of $1.08 to $1.12, and easily ahead of Wall Street expectations for earnings per share of just $1.12 on sales of $1.8 billion.
The only note of caution here is that the shares surged in Tuesday's trade, and that might make investors hesitant to get into the stock. Certainly, there is a concern that there's not much left in the tank here, but I don't buy it. I think that subsequent earnings strength and sales for this luxury powerhouse will continue propelling the shares at least 10% higher in the weeks and months to come.
The second luxury stock I like is Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN). This department store operator is similar to Saks in its focus on the high-end consumer. Although its product lines aren't quite as expensive as those of Saks, Nordstrom still features luxury brands, along with luxury customer service that appeal to the high-end shopper who isn't too concerned with the economic problems the majority of us face.
On Aug. 9, the company reported a second-quarter decline in net income of 11%, but those results were in part due to the timing of the company's biggest annual sale that shuffled some promotions into August. The more important metric here is that same-store sales rose 4.5% during the quarter, while online sales surged a stunning 40%.
Like Michael Kors, Nordstrom also raised its forecast for the full year, saying that it now expects revenue at stores open at least a year to climb from 6% to 7%, up from its earlier growth forecast of 4% to 6%. The company also said it expects earnings per share for the full year of between $3.40 and $3.50. That's up from the original forecast of $3.30 to $3.45 per share.
From a technical perspective, Nordstrom shares are forming a classic cup-and-handle trading pattern. They're also on the verge of breaking out to new highs, which means that in addition to the fundamentals, the technicals in this stock are uber bullish.
Action to Take --> Both of these defensive stocks are great buys. I would buy Michael Kors at market price with a stop-loss of $44.80 and set initial price target at $54. For Nordstrom, I'd buy the shares at market price and set a stop-loss of $51.75 and a price target of 64.