#2 – Ralph Lauren (RL)
For a company that’s in the midst of a management change, Ralph Lauren (RL) doesn’t seem to be missing a beat.
Sure, net income in the latest quarter fell 4.2% to $205 million, or $2.23 per share. That’s down from $214 million, or $2.29 per share, a year earlier, as higher costs overshadowed gains in sales. But earnings came in better than the $2.20 per share analysts had expected, and revenue rose 2.8% to $1.92 billion. Ralph Lauren, whose brands include Polo, Club Monaco and Rugby, also hiked its dividend 13% to 45 cents.
“The diversity of the Ralph Lauren portfolio, the strength of our lifestyle positioning and our increasingly global reach are enviable assets that position us for strong long-term growth,” Jackwyn L. Nemerov, the company’s president, said during the recent earnings conference call. And that’s what makes this one of the strongest retail stocks out there.