The market’s biggest sensation this week has been Revlon (NYSE:REV). On June 16, the well-known cosmetics retailer announced it would be filing for bankruptcy. In the days that followed, REV stock began to surge as retail investors flagged it as a short squeeze target. One week later, it had skyrocketed by 250%. While shares have since come down, REV is still up 150% from where it was a week ago. Investors are still watching closely as its rise draws comparisons to previous meme stocks, such as GameStop (NYSE:GME). But as its gains stabilized yesterday, investors began looking for the next Revlon.
What would make for such a stock? Fintel CEO Wilton Risenhoover laid it out for investors yesterday. As he sees it, “retail investor[s] are interested in Revlon because it has the same characteristics as the other big meme stock plays in the past — a well known brand that is in trouble and could possibly be saved.”
He cites AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) and Hertz (NASDAQ:HTZ) as examples. By that logic, the criteria for the next Revlon would be well-known brands that are on the verge of bankruptcy. And as CNBC reports, the retail sector is likely facing a “wave of bankruptcies” throughout the coming year.
Let’s take a look at few retailers in financial trouble that might be the next Revlon.
|ANF||Abercrombie & Fitch||$19.75|
The Next Revlon: Gap Inc. (GPS)
Gap (NYSE:GPS) is one of the most known fashion retailers. But the company isn’t just the iconic store that bears its name. Its holdings include other stores like Old Navy and Banana Republic. However, that hasn’t necessarily been a good thing recently.
According to CNBC, Gap is among the list of retailers who claim to have accumulated too much merchandise during the pervious boom cycle. That macro trend may be what leads us to the next Revlon, particularly as inflation continues to curb shopping habits. Gap’s expensive yet informal clothing isn’t deemed an essential in a “buy what’s needed” economy.
Experts have marked Gap as a likely candidate for bankruptcy since the pandemic’s early days, when it began closing stores at an alarming pace. Business Insider reports that by 2024, only 870 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores will still be open across North America. That’s a steep decline from the 1,216 that existed before the pandemic.
GPS stock has plunged almost 50% YTD, and there’s nothing to suggest a turnaround is in sight. But it still remains one of the most well-known brands in American fashion. If it goes under, the r/WallStreetBets crowd will be tempted to step in.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)
The next name on this list isn’t as modest as Gap, but it is perhaps even more well-known. Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) has spent decades catering to the preppy crowd across the U.S. and Europe. While it didn’t have a problem selling high-priced scarfs and crested blazers to wealthy shoppers in better times, the current “buy what’s needed” market hasn’t been good for pricier merchants.
With a YTD decline of 44%, ANF stock hasn’t performed quite as poorly as GPS this year. But it may still have a difficult road ahead. More companies are suffering from the too-much-merchandise plague. Abercrombie’s higher initial prices will mean high losses as it is forced to slash prices to move products.
The nostalgia economy that some experts have discussed isn’t strong enough to save a beaten down stock whose latest earnings were disappointing. But it might be just strong enough to help ANF achieve meme stock status, particularly among contrarian investors in their 20s and 30s.
The Next Revlon: Capri Holdings (CPRI)
When The Street laid out a list of companies that might not see the end of 2022, it included Capri Holdings (NYSE:CPRI). The company owns several high-end brands, including Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace. But even last year’s bull market didn’t help the company’s troubled financials. The Street reports that as of late 2021, it had “about $7.5 billion in assets, $1.1 billion in long-term debt, $1.5 billion in lease obligations and about $234 million cash and cash equivalents on hand.”
The brands in Capri’s portfolio are synonymous with glamour and high-fashion. But if consumers aren’t buying $30 Gap khakis, they certainly aren’t buying $300 Michael Kors sundresses or $650 Versace flip-flops. The company has warned that it isn’t expecting a sales revival until at least 2023. That may be too late for a turnaround.
CPRI stock is down about 30% YTD. That puts it in a slightly better place than GPS and ANF, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a likely bankruptcy candidate. If it does start talking Chapter 11, retail investors will be excited. The prospect of a high-end fashion retailer going under will be too tempting to pass up.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient 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.