Tuesday, January 8, 2019

With Aerie Soaring, American Eagle Deserves Better

I've talked about the odd cyclicality of American Eagle (AEO) before, and even if there are some valid concerns at this leading, youth-oriented retailer today, I believe the roughly 25%-plus correction in the share price since my last update is overdone. This correction seems to be largely due to management's decision to increase its SG&A spending and sacrifice near-term margins to build future sales growth potential. While I think there are strong arguments for supporting growth at aerie and in the online business, the reality is that margins have a significant influence on retail valuations, and the Street has largely shifted toward valuing traditional retail stocks on the assumption of moderate (at best) growth.

To that end, I believe the Street is overlooking the long-term potential of American Eagle's aerie brand in this shift toward a "retail is no longer a growth sector" mentality. The company's aerie brand has the potential to grow to a $2 billion to $3 billion business over the next decade, adding more than 50% to today's revenue base, and the existing AE brand still worthwhile. Although I don't expect exceptional growth, I do believe these shares are undervalued below the $20s and could have potential into the high $20s.

Read more here:
With Aerie Soaring, American Eagle Deserves Better

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