Shares of Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL), a global leader in designing, marketing, and distribution of premium lifestyle products spanning apparel, home, accessories and fragrances, are down 5% as of 3:10 p.m. EST. The stock is following other apparel retailers lower Thursday.
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Today's decline seems to be a continuation of pessimism surrounding many premium retailers, despite many beating estimates in recent quarters. In fact, Ralph Lauren declined 7% in early November after releasing second-quarter results that topped estimates for both the top and bottom lines. Partly behind that decline was the company's inability to drive North American results higher: Comparable-store sales in North America increased 1% in constant currency during the second quarter, despite management ramping up marketing by 30%.
With those second-quarter sales results in mind, especially heading into the holiday season, investors are likely a little concerned after seeing shares of Tailored Brands (NYSE: TLRD) plunge 31% as of 3:10 p.m. EST, after its comparable-sales growth and earnings beat were offset by a guidance cut. As you can see in the chart below, premium retailers have faced declining stock prices over the past six months:
Investors should take Ralph Lauren's decline today with a grain of salt and remember that it's actually taking strides with its business. Remember that during the second quarter it grew sales in China by 13% and digital sales by 10%, all while improving adjusted gross margin by 100 basis points to 60.9%. Furthermore, management's "Writing Our Next Great Chapter" strategy should help win a new generation of consumers, drive expansion, improve core products and underdeveloped categories, and increase its digital e-commerce footprint.
Ralph Lauren is declining today with no real direct news, though uncertainty heading into the holiday season, and a large tumble from another premium apparel retailer, are difficult for some investors to shake off. But they'd be wise to focus on the long-term improvements management is making.
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