Company profile: Lululemon is a specialty retailer of upscale women's athletic apparel. Its original focus was on yoga clothing but it has expanded its offerings to include a wide range of sports as well as comfort wear. The company has a $6 billion market value. Most sales are through its 140 company-operated retail stores. Customers are willing to pay up to $150 for a jogging skirt and $68 for a yoga mat.Stock performance: up 7.7% in the past month; 36% in 2011; three-year average annual return of 133%. Investor takeaway: Goldman Sachs added Lululemon to its "conviction buy" list Jan. 4, with a $64, six-month price target (then a 37% upside). The bank said: "We believe LULU still offers one of the most compelling growth stories in retail, with continuing brand, sector-leading annual sales, growth of over 30%, and substantial runway still ahead." But there's no doubt that its success will attract competitors, and the formidable Nike (NKE) is making a move on the sector. From a totally different angle on its appeal, Morningstar says Lululemon "could attract interest from strategic buyers or private equity firms at the right price, given that the retailer has no debt, attractive growth prospects, and a strong free cash flow position."
Coach (COH) Company profile: Coach makes high-quality, brand-name goods, including handbags, leather accessories, business cases, footwear, jewelry, sunwear, travel bags, watches and fragrance products. It's seeing huge sales growth in China and Japan. Handbags sell for up to $420. Share performance: up 16.6% in the past three months; 12% in 2011; three-year average annual return of 43%. Investor takeaway: Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand wrote that, "even during the challenges of the recession, Coach's fundamentals were excellent, with three-year historical operating margins above 30% and returns on capital around 40%." Free cash flow generation also has been high, historically greater than 20% of revenue. S&P Capital IQ has it rated "strong buy" with five stars, its highest rating. It gives its shares a $77 price target, a 23% premium.
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