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By
Reuters
Published
Oct 17, 2014
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Urban Outfitters shares fall after third quarter profit warning

By
Reuters
Published
Oct 17, 2014

Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc are set to open down nearly 15 percent after the apparel retailer said third-quarter earnings could be hurt by lower-than-expected sales.




Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Janney Capital Markets downgraded their ratings and cut their price targets on shares of Urban Outfitters. Another 12 brokerages cut their price targets.

The company, whose main brands include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, said on Thursday that its current-quarter earnings may be affected by lower-than-expected sales due to a persisting low single-digit percentage decline in comparable retail sales growth.

Goldman cut its rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy" and removed it from its Americas Buy List, saying it expects growth to be slower over the next couple of quarters.

Analysts said the continued decline in sales could be due to an ongoing weakness at the troubled Urban Outfitters brand, which caters to young, cash-constrained customers.

The retailer has been trying to overhaul its flagship brand by revamping stores, refining its merchandise assortment to focus on its main target audience of 18 to 28 year olds and improving marketing.

But analysts said the turnaround was taking longer than expected.

"We had expected the turnaround efforts at (the Urban Outfitters brand) to continue to progress and show increased signs of improvement in 3Q, but trends appear to be flat throughout the quarter," Goldman analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann wrote in a note.

Analysts on average have a median price target of $40 on the stock, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Urban Outfitters said in a regulatory filing last month that it recorded a low single-digit percentage range decline in sales at stores open for at least a full fiscal year.

Urban Outfitter had reported flat comparable retail sales growth for the second quarter, primarily due to a 10 percent fall in sales of its flagship Urban Outfitters brand.

The company's shares were down 13.8 percent at $29.80 in premarket trading on Friday.

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