Before the market opened yesterday, Coach reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.18 per share, versus the $1.28 expected. Revenue also came in low, at $1.5 billion, below the $1.6 billion estimate. The stock was sold hard on the news, and ended the day down 16%.
Despite the big move, one option trader made a bet that the stock will move lower still, by buying 2,250 February 55-strike puts for $3.50 each when the stock was at $52.07. This trade will profit if Coach is below $51.50 (1% lower) at February expiration.
There are a few reasons to be bearish on this stock.
First of all, sales fell during the holiday period, despite a 10% increase in the overall handbag and accessories market, and Coach's share of the North American handbag market fell too.
The company's biggest product launch of the last decade was the Legacy line, which was aimed at regaining market share lost to competitors Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren – but it failed to make a difference in December.
Meanwhile, the bullish case for the stock is that it now trades at a 5.8% discount to the S&P 500 on a price-to-earnings basis, which is the biggest discount in three years. Coach also generated gross margins of 72% last quarter, which are better than the gross margins at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren.
The company announced that their latest plan for reviving sales is to develop a lifestyle brand that moves across multiple products. This will undoubtedly involve increasing marketing expenses, and selling lower-margin women's apparel. My money will be on the sidelines while we wait to see if Coach can pull off this turnaround. The stock has already dropped 16%, and I don't see it moving too much lower without attracting value investors. At the same time, there isn't a reason to buy the stock until we know that management can deliver results. I would like to see sales and market share increase, even if margins have to decrease slightly.
Buying puts to limit further losses on a long stock position makes sense, but I will not be buying puts simply to speculate on a further sell-off.
Disclosures: I have no disclosures on this stock.
Brian Stutland is Managing Member of Stutland Equities and a contributor to CNBC's "Options Action."
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