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Ahead of the Bell: VF Corp.

NEW YORK (AP) -- A strong group of brands such as North Face should help clothing maker VF Corp. maintain solid earnings growth over the next three to five years, a Janney Capital Markets analyst said Wednesday.

Analyst Eric Tracy said in a client note that VF — whose brands also include Vans and Wrangler — should be able to support a mid-teens or higher percentage increase in its earnings per share over the three- to five-year period.

Although uncertain economic conditions are pressuring brands like Timberland and Jeanswear, Tracy says that this should be more than offset by growth among Vans and North Face.

International expansion and direct-to-consumer will also be key, according to Tracy, as they typically have higher margins than domestic sales. VF's $300 million in available cash also positions the company well to continue to invest in North Face and Vans, as well as to potentially make acquisitions or implement dividend hikes or buybacks, he added.

Tracy raised VF's price target to $210 from $188 and kept a "Buy" rating.

A representative for VF did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

VF shares finished at $188.06 on Tuesday. They have traded in a 52-week range of $129.53 to $189.64.