When a company stumbles, you have to determine whether it's a function of fixable problems or if it's the result of a broken business model. In the case of retailer Christopher & Banks (CBK), shares are hitting fresh 52-week lows due to tepid consumer spending and poor decisions on the merchandising front. The company's board has hit the reset button by installing new leadership, but this is a retailer that still has considerable brand cachet with its target demographic -- middle aged-women that have relied on the retailer for many years for their professional attire.
Just like Nuvasive and EnerNOC, Christopher & Banks isn't poised for a quick rebound. Instead, I see catalysts coming in the first half of 2011 in two stages. First, if employment trends start to improve, so will sentiment toward these kinds of stocks. Second, new leadership will aim to bring an improved merchandising touch, and it only takes a little stirring on the same-store sales front to get investors interested in this rebound candidate. Notably, Christopher & Banks will be coming up against very easy sales comparisons as we head into next summer.Meanwhile, more than half of the company's $186 million market value is accounted for in cash. Back that cash out, and the company is valued at less than 20% of trailing sales. That's less than half or even a third of the percentage of peers such as AnnTaylor (ANN), Charming Shoppes (CHRS) and Talbots (TLB). Turning around retail operations takes time. Christopher & Banks has had to do it before, in 1997 and 2003. This down leg of the cycle will also be met with better days ahead. Action to Take Stocks hitting 52-week lows are a sign they are out of favor. And they rarely suddenly move back into favor, so these are long-term holdings that may take a while to get going again. But when they do, each of these names looks to have at least 50% upside. This article originally appeared on StreetAuthority. Sterman has no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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