The downturn at beleaguered European luxury retailer, Hugo Boss (BOSSY) , claimed another victim today after the supervisory board and Christoph Auhagen, chief brand officer at the company, reached a "mutual agreement" to part ways, effective immediately.
The announcement follows multiple profit warnings over a six month period and the departure of CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs in February. It also comes closely on the heels of a note issued to clients, by broker Jefferies, in which analysts described the company as suffering from "brand fatigue" before going on to forecast a minor contraction in sales for the full year.
The projection of a sales decline comes in contrast to guidance given by the retailer that suggest sales will grow in "the low single digits" for 2016. The shares fell by as much as 3.5% during the European session today, extending their year to date decline to -25%.
Despite the downbeat projections for sales, a soft market for luxury brands and the brand's relative lack of success in growth markets such as China, analysts at Jefferies recommend buying the stock. According to the note issued this morning, the company "remains a prominent brand that could be strengthened with an adjusted pricing strategy and strengthened execution".
Elaborating on earlier comments, the analyst team state, "We acknowledge that some of these changes take time...Nonetheless, the balance of opportunities....and a 5% dividend yield should provide some support."
With the shares trading at €56 ($63.08) in Frankfurt, the €86 price target assigned to the shares by Jefferies implies upside that is in excess of 50% from the current level.
The broker note and board departure comes following a trading day that has seen many growth sensitive companies pummeled in European trading.
Chris Beauchamp, senior analyst at London's largest retail derivatives brokerage IG Group, explained, "We've had a mixed bag of earnings releases across the UK and Europe recently, with more companies due to report in the U.S. next week. Almost all segments of the U.S. economy will be represented and so we'll probably see a fairly risk-off environment until we have more visibility on how those releases will pan out."