Foot Locker's (FL) - Get Report horizon is about to get brighter thanks to the success of two new, highly anticipated product launches from trusted vendors Nike (NKE) - Get Report and Growth Seeker holding Under Armour (UA) - Get Report , according to analysts at Piper Jaffray.
The firm maintained its overweight rating and $67 price target -- representing a potential 21% upside from the stock's previous close -- thanks to the weekend launch of the Air Jordan 12 Flu Game shoe as well as Under Armour's Steph Curry 2.5.
"While May has been a challenge for most retailers from a traffic perspective, we believe FL had something unique to offer to draw traffic during its final day of May," Piper Jaffray's note read. "We called stores within the most populated cities across 12 states in the U.S. and estimate that within one day of the Flu Game launch, 90% had sold out. Importantly, we believe comps markedly improved to end the month."
The stock has been on a roller-coaster ride, showing large jumps followed by even steeper falls as it has declined more than 15% this year. But analysts at Piper Jaffray believe the exclusive nature of the Steph Curry release -- Foot Locker will sell the shoe exclusively over the next four weeks -- will help with the company's lagging comparable store sales.
"We recognize concerns around growth and the recent consumer response within the basketball category over the past three quarters. As a reminder, we estimate basketball to represent 45%+ of FL sales," analysts wrote. "Going forward, we note that: 1) basketball comp comparisons start to ease; and 2) a strong pipeline of newness should follow the Olympics. In addition, we note management is continuing to diversify its offerings to fuel trends in casual and lifestyle running. Our [2Q] comp stands at 3.5%, which could prove conservative."
The firm's store checks show that adult-size Air Jordan 12 Flu Game, which retail for $190 a pair, sold out at 90% of stores across 12 states, while the remaining 10% had one or two adult sizes remaining. "Our sense is the launch was ahead of plan and store inventory was selling out within the first day. Speaking with representatives at the FL distribution center also indicated to us there was very modest inventory remaining across the fleet," the note said.
However, the Trifecta Stocks holding's troubles, along with the entire sports apparel sector, cannot be turned around with just one successful release. Following the company's weak quarterly results, Foot Locker has struggled, leaving some of its staunchest supporters, like TheStreet's Jim Cramer, scratching their heads.
"So what's really going on here? I think that the whole group has become 'show-me,' meaning that we need clean quarters from all of the players and more important, the bar has been raised, not lowered, by all of this chatter," Cramer wrote last week. "As Matthew Boss from JPMorgan (JPM) - Get Report put it best, writing about Foot Locker, 'three pointers and lay-ups now required,' if the second half is going to produce upside."