Goldman Sachs rate ASOS a ‘buy’

Wednesday, 02 November 2011

ASOS Goldman Sachs re-rated online retailer ASOS a 'buy' with a target price of 3,350p, despite concern of the firms offline competition. The e-tailer lost 0.13% by the market close on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the FashionUnited Top 100 Index closed slightly lower after losing 0.88 points.
Keeping on with corporate releases, Fast Retailing’s October 2011 same-store sales decreased by 4.0% year on year while sales at their own stores increased by 0.9%.Total sales including online sales increased by 0.8%. “Despite strong sales of individual advertising campaign items such as ‘Ultra Light Down’ garments, merino sweaters and fleece, same-store sales dipped year on year in October as rising temperatures towards the end of the month stifled sales of winter clothing,” the company explained in a communicate.
In London, Next published sales (VAT exclusive) in the third quarter were up by 3.3%. “This figure is in line with our performance in the first half; so sales for the year-to-date are up 3.2%, at the mid-point of the full year +2.0% to +4.5% sales guidance issued in September,” company said.  The overall growth pattern for the Next is unchanged, with further improvements in Next Directory (their online business) and the addition of profitable new space more than compensating for slightly weaker underlying Retail sales. Margins and costs remain in line with Next’s directors’ expectations so they will maintain their sales and profit guidance for the full year, “albeit at this stage we are able to give more precise ranges”. These are set out in the table below. “We remain confident that we will see no further increase in selling prices in the first half of the year. Early indications are that this trend will continue into the second half of 2012,” they advanced on early Wednesday.

They were also trailing the corporate week on the other shore of the Atlantic , as Kenneth Cole Productions revealed net income more than doubled in the third quarter as its revenue improved and expenses declined. The company also gave a fourth-quarter earnings forecast Wednesday that came in above Wall Street's expectations. Thus, Kenneth Cole Productions earned $5.8 million, or 31 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's up from $2 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. The earnings beat the 22 cents per share that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average. On other hand, revenue rose 8 percent to $128 million from $119 million, benefiting from increased wholesale revenue and higher licensing revenue. But Wall Street predicted higher revenue of $137 million. Kenneth Cole Productions' gross margin decline in the quarter, which was expected, was mostly due to increased sourcing costs and a substantial shift in its revenue, the company said. Wholesale revenue, which operates at a lower profit margin than retail revenue, made up 62.3 percent of total revenue in the quarter, compared with 52.5 percent a year earlier, partly because the company closed unproductive retail stores. Selling, general and administrative expenses dropped to $42.3 million from $48.3 million. For the fourth quarter, the New York based company anticipates earnings of 37 cents to 39 cents per share, with mid-single digital percentage revenue growth, whereas analysts expect earnings of 26 cents per share.

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