William Blair analysts are keenly weighing in on stocks in the consumer sector, Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) and Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU). Despite a new product launch, analysts are on the sidelines of Fitbit amid plunging share prices while remaining bullish on Lululemon in hopes that the athletic retailer is poised to outperform in 2016.
Despite falling 45 percent year-to-date due to recent questions surrounding the accuracy of the company’s heart rate tracking technology, Fitbit is starting off 2016 with product launches as the wearable fitness company just released the Alta; a slimmer and more fashionable activity tracker. Ralph Schackart of William Blair weighed in on Fitbit following the announcement, explaining that the Alta will most likely replace the Fitbit Charge. The Alta has the same $129.95 price tag as the Charge, but has several new features including a reminder that notifies the user when he/she has been sedentary for some time and automatic exercise recognition.
Schackart elaborates, “Management did not go into detail on Alta’s gross margin, but maintained what it has said previously that it expects new products to initially have lower gross margins than the legacy products they are replacing. However, the company also expects new products to be closer to the 50% target gross margins at launch than legacy products have been at their respective launch dates.”
The analyst commends Fitbit for already releasing its second new product of the year, with the first being the Blaze smartwatch. The company intends to roll out new products throughout the year, mitigating analysts’ concerns that the company is a one-product wonder. Fitbit will report Q4 earnings on February 22 and Schackart looks forward to hearing 2016 guidance.
Despite this addition to Fitbit’s product arsenal, Schackart remains on the sidelines for company, reiterating a Market Perform rating without providing a price target.
Schackart has a 50% success rate recommending stocks with a +3.3% one-year average return. According to TipRanks, 12 analysts are bullish on Fitbit while 1 remains on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target between these 13 analysts is $35.36, marking a 120% potential upside from current levels.
Lululemon Athletica inc.
Shares of the athletic apparel retailer have already increased more than 20 percent since the start of the year. Sharon Zackfia of William Blair updates his coverage on the company, citing many reasons why it is poised to outperform this year.
Despite a few products flaws that plagued the company in 2013 and 2014, Zackfia explains that “lululemon continues to generate robust brand loyalty as evidenced by brick-and-mortar sales per square foot of roughly $1,700 in 2014, which remains among the highest in retail. Moreover, lululemon remains a leader in the growing athletic apparel market.”
Lululemon works at an advantage compared to other athletic retailers thanks to its business model. The analyst highlights the company’s shorter lead times, company-owned retail sales model, and differentiated marketing strategy through a grassroots approach. Zackfia applauds the company’s “strategy of opening a limited number of highly productive, small-format stores,” which “epitomizes what retailing should be in the 21st century” as evidenced by its strong sales.
Zackfia also acknowledges the company’s contracting operating margin, but notes that it is set to improve this year. Furthermore, the analyst believes that Lululemon will become a global brand over the next few years. She explains, “With plans to reach 20 stores in both Asia and Europe by 2017 (versus 4 and 6 currently), lululemon’s ability to replicate its success in North America and Australia/New Zealand should become clear over the next few years.”
Due to these several bullish factors, Zackfia reiterated an Outperform rating on LULU without providing a price target.
According to TipRanks, 12 analysts are bullish on LULU, 1 is bearish, and 5 remain neutral. The average 12-month price target between these 18 analysts is $61, marking a 3% downside from current levels.