After all the hubbub about denim fashions this spring, one Wall Street analyst signaled Friday that she thinks teen apparel retailers have taken things too far.
Prudential Equity Group analyst Stacy Pak downgraded
American Eagle Outfitters
Abercrombie & Fitch
to underweight, citing concerns about a denim overload in inventories. She expressed concerns about a possible glut during back-to-school selling season this fall.
Pak also reiterated her underweight rating on
"We learned from our sources that Abercrombie & Fitch has been trying to cancel denim orders with their vendors," Pak wrote in a research note published before the opening bell Friday.
She said Abercrombie confirmed that it had moved "to have some deliveries pushed off to future periods," noting that Abercrombie denim inventories may be more than twice historical levels.
Denim has been the buzzword this spring in the fashion world, and all kinds of apparel retailers that sell to younger consumers have been loading up on designer jeans and other denim products. Pak said she believes the trend is real and largely responsible for some of the strong sales numbers that have been posted recently, particularly by specialty teen retailers.
"Clearly, denim is hot," she said. "The question with any hot trend, though, is how long and how high? We are concerned about the growing inventory levels for the industry overall and in denim in particular."
Shares of American Eagle were recently down $1.81, or 6.5%, to $25.90. Abercrombie was shedding $2.57, or 4.6%, to $52.63. Pacific Sunwear was down 78 cents, or 3.6%, to $20.90, and Aeropostale was down 49 cents, or 1.9%, to $25.90.
Prudential Equity makes a market in American Eagle and Pacific Sunwear, and Prudential Financial owns shares of Pacific Sunwear. The brokerage has no investment-banking relationship with any of the companies.