Target’s stock tumbles 8.8% premarket after holiday-period sales update

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Kohl’s downgraded as discounts and weakness in women’s clothing put margins at risk

Kohl’s Corp. was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Cowen as weakness in women’s clothing, a key category, higher promotions and digital fulfillment costs put the retailer’s comparable sales and margins at risk. Cowen lowered its price target to $53 from $56. Analysts note Kohl’s strength in the active category, its loyalty program and its real estate, which has avoided struggling malls. However, analysts say Kohl’s is struggling with traffic volatility and is in the early stages of attracting a younger customer. Cowen joins Jefferies analysts, who downgraded Kohl’s stock on Tuesday. Cowen analysts favor Target Corp. because it has a mix of private labels and national brands that drive momentum across a variety of categories, including women’s apparel. And Cowen is favorable towards Nordstrom Inc. thanks to its localized strategy, digital approach, and improvement at the off-price Rack business. Kohl’s stock is up 1.3% in Wednesday premarket trading, but down 27.5% over the past year. The S&P 500 index has gained 25.7% over the last year.

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