Analyst Note| David Swartz |
Investors have forsaken apparel manufacturers and retailers, which we believe present numerous attractive opportunities. These firms have struggled with many issues in 2022, including higher inventories, lower operating margins, inflation, logistical challenges, tough comparisons with 2021, low international travel, and an extremely strong U.S. dollar. However, we see positive signs. In recent weeks, shipping has shown signs of normalizing, and gas prices have dropped. Moreover, we anticipate inventory levels will improve as manufacturers cancel shipments and sales increase in the holiday season (as is typical). In 2023, we anticipate the benefits of investments in supply chains and other operations by many apparel firms will become more apparent. Consequently, despite widespread pessimism in the market, we believe now is a good time to consider the many apparel stocks trading well below our fair value estimates.