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Time to Buy Lululemon (LULU) & Ralph Lauren (RL) Stock?

A few premium apparel firms are starting to stick out as we enter the heart of the holiday shopping season.

With it rarely being wise to bet against the U.S. economy or the strength of the nation’s consumers, here are two apparel companies that could see year-end rallies and should be strong investments going into 2023.

Lululemon LULU

Sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), premium athletic retailer Lululemon (LULU) is worthy of investors’ consideration going into FY23. Still trading 13% off its 52-week highs LULU’s current fiscal year earnings estimates are on the rise.

This year’s earnings are now expected to climb 27% to $9.89 per share, up slightly from 90 days ago.

Sales are projected to jump 27% in FY23 and leap another 14% in FY24 to $9.03 billion. Fiscal 2024 would represent an impressive 175% growth from pre-pandemic levels with 2019 sales at $3.28 billion. This reflects the brand’s popularity and expansion both domestically and internationally as online and brick-and-mortar sales are both growing.

Lululemon stock is only down -2% YTD Vs. the S&P 500’s -16% and the Textile-Apparel Manufacturing Markets -24%. LULU is up +425% over the last decade to beat the benchmark and its Zacks Subindustry’s +40%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Lululemon’s resilient YTD performance and stellar ascension over the last decade are reasons to consider the stock in FY23 and beyond.

LULU trades at 39X forward earnings. This is above the industry average of 10.6X but Wall Street has been ok with paying a premium for Lululemon shares as its growth has been nearly exponential. Plus, Lulu trades at a 56% discount to its decade-high of 90.3X and is closer to the median of 33.8X.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Ralph Lauren RL

Another premium apparel company investors might want to consider going into FY23 is Ralph Lauren (RL). Ralph Lauren is also part of the Textile-Apparel Industry. While the industry is currently in the bottom 31% of all Zacks Industries Ralph Lauren has been a historical leader in the space.

Ralph Lauren shares currently trade 18% from their highs at around $111 per share. RL stock has also rallied nicely off its September lows of $82.33 a share.

Ralph Lauren stock is down -6% YTD, which is above the benchmark and the Textile-Apparel Manufacturing Market. Over the last decade, RL is down -28% to underperform the S&P 500’s +189% and its Zacks Subindustry’s +40%.

However, over the last 20 years, we can see from the nearby chart that RL is still up +410% to beat the broader market and its Zacks Subindustry’s +365%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Ralph Lauren is adjusting to current times to compete with younger companies such as Lululemon. There should be room for both apparel giants to succeed and grow.

Ralph Lauren’s Fiscal 2023 earnings are expected to decline -7% but rebound and jump 12% in FY24 to $8.66 per share. It should be noted that earnings estimates have trended lower for FY23 and FY24.

Sales are forecasted to be virtually flat in FY23 and rise 5% in FY24 to $6.55 billion. Ralph Lauren's FY24 sales are projected to grow 4% from pre-pandemic levels of $6.31 billion in FY19.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

The Polo brand company is in a different stage of corporate life and growth than Lululemon and its valuation looks attractive. Shares of Ralph Lauren currently trade at 14.9X forward earnings. This is slightly above the industry average of 10.6X. With that being said, Ralph Lauren trades well below its decade-high of 242.3X and beneath the median of 17.6X.

Ralph Lauren’s stock currently lands a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Although earnings estimates have trended down, the stock still trades attractively relative to its past. RL also offers patient investors a solid 2.60% annual dividend yield at $3.00 a share.

Bottom Line

Progressing through the holiday season, these companies will be on shoppers’ buy lists and should be on investors’ watch lists as well. Both Lululemon and Ralph Lauren stocks appear to be trading at discounts and are worthy of investors’ consideration as we close out the year.

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