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Apparel Stocks' Earnings to Watch on May 12: RL, DLA

The earnings reporting season for first-quarter 2016 (or the quarter ended Mar 31, 2016) is nearing its end, with only the Retail sector left with a sizable number of releases. We now have earnings results for about 87% of the S&P members on board. That being said, the earnings trend shows widespread growth challenges, with numerous positive surprises and fewer negative revisions to the current-quarter estimates.

However, the catch here is that the positive surprises were probably due to larger negative estimate revisions at the start of the reporting cycle.

Per the latest Earnings Trend Report (as of May 6, 2016), the Consumer Discretionary sector, which is the broader sector for the Textile-Apparel industry, has already seen first-quarter results from nearly 83.8% of its members. Of these, 83.9% beat on earnings and 64.5% surpassed revenue estimates. Additionally, the blended beat, which is the percentage of companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates, is 58.1% for the sector. Total earnings for these companies were up 10.8% year over year, while revenues grew 4.1%.

Among the Textile-Apparel stocks that have reported earnings, we saw names like Coach Inc. COH and Columbia Sportswear Inc. COLM beat the top and bottom line estimates.

Looking ahead, we expect the Consumer Discretionary sector to witness 8.4% growth in earnings and a 5.7% rise in sales in first-quarter 2016. This would compare favorably with respective a 5.1% increase in earnings on 2.2% revenue growth witnessed in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Here, we will focus on two Textile-Apparel stocks Ralph Lauren Corporation RL and Delta Apparel Inc. DLA, which are scheduled to report earnings on May 12.

We are unsure whether the premium lifestyle merchandise retailer, Ralph Lauren will be able to post a positive earnings surprise in the quarter to be reported. The company’s past performance reveals an average positive earnings surprise of 7.7% for the trailing four quarters. Ralph Lauren's growth story looks compelling as it possesses a strong portfolio of globally recognized brands and a healthy financial status. However, following the dismal sales performance in the third quarter, the company lowered its sales and operating margin forecasts for fiscal 2016 and provided a bleak outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter. It also expects the ongoing foreign currency headwinds to hurt sales in the fiscal fourth quarter and in fiscal 2016.

Though the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), our earnings beat prediction has been marred by an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. (Read more: Ralph Lauren's Q4 Outlook Bleak: Will Earnings Beat?)

Coming to Delta Apparel, this designer and marketer of lifestyle basic and branded activewear apparel and headwear outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 36.4% over the past four quarters. Though the company carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), our criteria of earnings beat have been let down by an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. The company’s recently reported preliminary second quarter fiscal 2016 results indicate that it has made significant growth in terms of margin expansion on the back of it growing high-margin businesses. Driven by this expansion, the company expects earnings per share for the to-be reported quarter in the range of 40–43 cents compared with 3 cents earned in the prior year quarter. However, the company’s sales bore some impact of the bankruptcy of a large retail customer. Therefore, sales are projected to come in almost flat with last year at $109.2 million.

We won’t be surprised if any of the companies deliver positive earnings surprises, as the estimates have become too conservative.

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COACH INC (COH): Free Stock Analysis Report
COLUMBIA SPORTS (COLM): Free Stock Analysis Report
RALPH LAUREN CP (RL): Free Stock Analysis Report
DELTA APPAREL (DLA): Free Stock Analysis Report
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