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Ralph Lauren Reaches 52-Week High

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL) soared to a new 52-week high of $185.09 on Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The company continues to gain from a consistent positive earnings surprise trend, strong revenue growth, an impressive financial position and strong valuation levels.

Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months stands at approximately 618K. Moreover, the stock currently trades at a forward P/E of 19.9x, at a 26.8% premium from the peer group average of 15.7x.

This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) designer, marketer and distributor of lifestyle products closed trade at $185.01 on May 7, representing a solid year-to-date return of approximately 21.6%.

Alongside, companies like Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) and V.F. Corp. (VFC) crafted new 52-week highs of $52.54, $58.66 and $180.01, respectively on Tuesday.

We remain impressed by the company’s robust quarterly results and efforts to capture growth opportunities. The third-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of $2.40 per share at Ralph Lauren exhibited an improvement of 34.8% from the comparable year-ago quarter as well as the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.21. The year-over-year increase was primarily driven by a rise in sales, improved margins and a lower tax rate.

Looking at the earnings surprise history, the company has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimates in the past several quarters. The average positive surprise in the trailing 4 quarters comes to 11.4%.

Bolstered by better-than-expected improvement in operating margin, the company now expects it to rise between 75 basis points (bps) and 100 bps, up from its earlier guidance range of 25–75 bps.

Apart from strong third-quarter results, Ralph Lauren’s growth story looks compelling. We believe that the company’s sustained focus on expanding higher growth businesses, such as the accessories category, along with the strategic expansion of its global operations, bode well for future growth.

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