Michael Kors Holdings Ltd‘s (NYSE:KORS) earnings could have been worse. To be clear, the “it could have been worse” argument doesn’t fly for most earnings reports. For luxury apparel and accessory brand, though, investors were willing to view last quarter’s results through a lens of patience — at least judging from the 6% gain for Michael Kors stock during pre-market trading.
As of this writing, KORS was still up 4%.
So is this a sign that a much-needed turnaround is finally taking hold for Michael Kors? That might be a bit of a stretch. But at the very least, KORS stock might actually be worth owning again.
All the same, there’s no particular reason you should pay today’s high price to get it.
Michael Kors Earnings
For its third quarter ending in December, Michael Kors turned $1.44 billion worth of revenue into an operating profit of $1.77. The top line was better than the $1.35 billion generated in the year-earlier quarter, though profits were down from $1.64 per share. Analysts were only calling for sales of $1.38 billion and earnings of $1.29 per share.
Same-store sales fell 3.2% for the quarter in question, but analysts were expecting far worse — the pros were modeling a 6.8% drop in same-store sales.
CEO John Idol commented on the numbers “We are pleased with our third quarter performance, which delivered better than expected results and saw the successful integration of Jimmy Choo into our luxury group.”
Though investors were pleasantly surprised, they arguably shouldn’t have been.
Rivals Ralph Lauren Corp (NYSE:RL) and Tapestry Inc (NYSE:TPR) — Coach, Kate Spade — both reported comparably strong quarterly results within the past few days. Though Ralph Lauren’s revenue fell, earnings were up year-over-year, and the bottom line was better than expected. Tapestry reported an earnings and revenue beat on Tuesday of this week.
Michael Kors was caught up in the so-called retail apocalypse as much as any other name. Foot traffic at malls thinned at the same time that interest in higher-end goods waned.
In-store “experiences” are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Kors is adapting, but they had to make some tough decisions in the process. These choices are creating short-term pain in exchange for long-term gain.
One of those decisions was shipping fewer goods to department stores and off-price venues that sell Michael Kors brands at steep discounts. Not only do these lowered-priced goods cannibalize full-priced sales, they dim the perception of Micheal Kors as a premium brand.
The company also closed some of its poorly-performing stores and acquired the Jimmy Choo brand.
So Michael Kors’ evolution remains a work in progress, but there is measurable progress being made.
For fiscal 2018, the company is expecting a top line of right around $4.66 billion, thanks to $230 million from the recently-purchased Jimmy Choo. That’s better than the $4.62 billion analysts had been expecting. Earnings are expected to roll in between $4.40 and $4.45 per share of Michael Kors stock, versus the $4.00 consensus. For Q4, the company is guiding for a profit of between 50 and 55 cents per share.
Bottom Line Michael Kors Stock
With Wednesday’s 8% pop factored in, Michael Kors stock is up more than 80% in the past six months. That’s a well-deserved gain. And at a trailing P/E of around 19 and a share price that’s only about 16 times the company’s forward-looking earnings, the value argument for KORS certainly holds water.
Still, from a short-term technical perspective, the frothy chart may flatten a bit in the near future as profit-taking kicks in.
The company has proven it’s on the right track to remain relevant in the current market environment. But there’s no need to pay full price for a stock that’s likely to go on sale soon.
If you’re looking to own a retail stock though, KORS certainly isn’t a bad one for patient investors.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.