March 26 J.P. Morgan Securities raised shares
of Urban Outfitters (URBN.O) and Coach Inc (COH.N) to
"overweight," citing growth opportunities at the companies,
sending Urban shares up 5 percent to their highest ever.
The brokerage also upped Ann Taylor Stores Corp ANN.N a
notch to "neutral," expecting continued sales improvement as
the apparel company sees benefits from the turnaround efforts
it took up last year.
Ann Taylor shares touched $21.07, their highest in a year,
while Coach shares rose to $40.60, their highest in more than
Urban Outfitters, which sells apparel and home decor, and
Coach, known for its handbags other accessories, will benefit
from better margins and square footage growth, JP Morgan said.
"Urban has many of the attributes that growth investors in
our space look for: differentiated portfolio of brands,
double-digit square footage growth, and opportunity for
operating margins to expand," JP Morgan analysts said in a note
They also said comparable quarter-to-date trends at Coach
have accelerated closer to being up 4 to 5 percent, and the
company's full-price stores could post their first positive
comparable sales since the first quarter of 2008.
However, the analysts downgraded shares of Buckle Inc
(BKE.N) and Coldwater Creek CWTR.O. While the Buckle stock is
likely to underperform that of peers, turnaround efforts at
Coldwater is taking longer than expected, they said.
Coldwater has lagged behind rivals Chico's FAS Inc (CHS.N)
and Anntaylor Stores Corp ANN.N as they try to revamp their
businesses, with some analysts pegging the problem on
The brokerage also downgraded off-price retailer Ross
Stores Inc (ROST.O) to "neutral" mainly on valuation.
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(Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by