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Piper Downgrades Ross Stores, Says 'No One Is Immune' To Weakening Consumer Environment

Ross Stores, Inc. NASDAQ:ROST - Piper Downgrades Ross Stores, Says 'No One Is Immune' To Weakening Consumer Environment

Piper Jaffray’s Neely J.N. Tamminga believes that with Ross Stores, Inc. ROST 4.4% shares currently trading close to their five-year high, the stock valuation could see downside risk due to a weakening consumer environment or a 1Q miss.

Tamminga downgraded the rating on the company from Neutral to Underweight, with a price target of $55.

The analyst also expressed concern regarding the consensus forecasts, which are above the guidance range for comparable store sales as well as EPS.

Waning Interest In Off-Price Stores

According to the Piper Jaffray report, “It is a common belief among the investment community that off-price concepts are part of a secular, demographic trend towards value retailing.”

However, Tamminga pointed out that there have been signs of weakening activity in off-price stores for both women and teens, given that “consumers are looking for newness and not likely finding it at off-price, but rather at specialty and/or department stores.”

Stock At Risk

The analyst mentioned that given the current high stock valuation, Ross Stores’ shares could be at risk if a slowdown were to become evident.

The stock is currently trading at a premium to the market and if the 1Q results “underwhelm” investors, Tamminga expects the shares to come under pressure.

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2016Piper JaffrayDowngradesNeutralUnderweight
Mar 2016Goldman SachsDowngradesConviction BuyNeutral
Mar 2016CitigroupDowngradesBuyNeutral

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