Retail Checks Show Traffic And Pricing Strength At DECK And COLM Drivin PTs Higher - BofA/Merrill Lynch

December 29, 2017 7:22 AM

BofA/Merrill Lynch analyst, Robert Ohmes, published an industry piece that was chock full of data points on the athletic lifestyle brands. Checks at Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) and Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL) indicate fewer discounts in-store compared to last year and Black Friday, but more elevated promotional activity online. Vendor promotions have increased especially Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Under Armour (NYSE: UA). He went on to state that "following a favorable launch schedule in November, Jordan sales have decelerated meaningfully as Nike tightened allocations. Importantly, Jordan Retro 6 (launched 12/16) and Retro 13 (launched 12/21) are selling below retail on StockX".

Checks at Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) show Under Armour was the most discounted brand with 30% off select styles (including fleece hoodies and tech Ts), but appeared less promotional than Black Friday. Adidas apparel and footwear continue to gain the most incremental space.

While brands appear to be jockying back and forth, the two companies that stood out for maintaining a firm grip on pricing were Columbia Sportswear (NASDAQ: COLM) and Deckers Outdoor (NYSE: DECK) through UGG. The analyst noted that "Columbia appeared less promotional y/y and gained modest floor space at retail". Leading him to raise his PT to $75 from $70. UGG also noted retail stores with strong traffic. In addition, UGG appears to be enforcing its MAP (minimum advertised pricing) policy more aggressively, including pulling distribution from Walking Company after it broke MAP on new product last year. UGG also returned to full price on new product on Zappos (last year was discounted). In response, the DECK price objective was raised to $84 from $79 based on 16X our new F2019E EPS of $5.25, up from $4.95.

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