Although it probably didn’t get as much airtime as the bars and restaurant industry, the apparel sector was one of the hardest-hit segments during the pandemic. And those that specialize in intimate apparel such as Naked Brand (NASDAQ:NAKD) fared especially poorly. Let’s face it: people mainly cared about apparel from the waist up during the pandemic-fueled lockdowns. Naturally, this dynamic didn’t help NAKD stock.
Not to be too graphic but the novel coronavirus was absolute torture for those who were single. With high-contact businesses shut down, there were really no avenues for young people to meet each other. And with that, the incentive for intimate apparel logically died down, directly impeding the bullish narrative for NAKD stock.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want to give the impression that every young person can’t control their hormones. Contrary to stereotypes, many millennials and Generation Z do care about the infectiousness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Logically, this put another damper on NAKD stock as contact with strangers was just out of the question.
Further, even with established couples, the potentially positive storyline for NAKD stock didn’t pan out. Many assumed that the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns would spark a baby boom. In some cases, it may have. But the Associated Press reported that overall, the Covid-19 crisis may have led to a baby bust.
However, management is hoping that a rethink will get business back on track. As I wrote in April, “Naked announced a “transformative” business restructuring plan, which involves transitioning to e-commerce” and divesting from unprofitable brick-and-mortar operations.
Most importantly, Covid-19 cases have declined dramatically, while the vaccination rollout continues. More Americans are gradually returning to their normal routines. Will this favorable combo save NAKD stock?
I wouldn’t bet too heavily on it.
It’s Now Crunch Time for NAKD Stock
On paper, the idea about speculating on a NAKD stock rebound is appealing. To be 100% clear, NAKD is incredibly risky, being one of the many volatile penny stocks that have garnered attention on various social media platforms. But this time around, fundamental factors exist that buttress the Naked Brand.
First, you have the Centers for Disease Control relaxing their guidance for facemasks for fully vaccinated individuals. Second, consumer sentiment as it pertains to going out in public has broadly increased. Third, you have government stimulus checks, which many consumers have eagerly used to buy up goods and services.
Specifically for NAKD stock, the apparel industry enjoyed a big boon in sales from earlier this year, as well as obviously the pandemic lows. Much of this has to do with people going back to work and needing to upgrade their wardrobe. But fundamentally, Naked Brand should benefit as improvements in apparel indicate that people care about being presentable.
Indeed, from the latest April retail sales report, the health and personal care industry saw a noticeable increase throughout all the months of this year thus far. This clearly implies that again, people want to be presentable. Also, younger people are buying beauty products, likely in the hopes of attracting that special someone.
Therefore, if NAKD stock is going to move higher, it has to be now. Beyond the growing incentive for consumers to take care of how they look, you still have pockets of the population that have yet to fully spend their stimulus checks. On top of that, the government is very much in an accommodative mode.
Put another way, if things go awry next year, the government may not have the tools to bail out the public yet again. So while people are still spending money, this is the time for Naked to deliver the goods. It really is do or die.
Tempting Technical Posture
Despite the binary setup of NAKD stock, it may not necessarily mean that this is a 50/50 trade. What will appeal to speculators is that it appears NAKD’s 200-day moving average is acting as support. Since mid-April, shares haven’t broken below this level, which may be an encouraging sign.
I’m not going to tell you what to do with your money. For me, I think the fundamentals present too much of a risky case. The products themselves are not truly compelling and any segment of the apparel business is extremely competitive.
Plus, Naked wasn’t a great investment before the pandemic. I’m not sure I’m seeing anything which the pandemic has improved.
Nevertheless, the market might be signaling one more move higher before NAKD dies out, perhaps permanently. If you decide to take the trade, do so quickly and only with money you can afford to lose.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.