Today I’ll be taking a closer look at three luxury British brands famed for their designer clothing and accessories. This fashionable trio may be great at designing scarves, handbags and shoes – but could you seriously invest in Burberry, Mulberry and Jimmy Choo?
Famous for its signature check, Burberry (LSE: BRBY) is also known for its trench coats, cashmere scarves, other accessories and, more recently, its high-margin handbags. The retailer has enjoyed relentless growth for over a decade as overseas markets have been lured by the brand’s British heritage. But full-year results to the end of March revealed a drop in pre-tax profits coupled with lower revenues as the slowdown in the key Asian market continued to take its toll. The disappointing results have led to the firm announcing a three-year investment and cost-saving strategy, as well as management changes with a new CEO set to join.
But the challenge facing the luxury market, particularly in China remains a concern, and the City doesn’t expect Burberry to return to growth until at least 2018. The shares have lost a fifth of their value this year, and are trading well below all-time highs of £19 reached in 2015. Currently trading at around £13 with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 19, I believe this luxury brand is still too expensive, despite the heavily discounted price-tag.
Mulberry (LSE: MUL) is another London-listed fashion brand catering for customers with more exclusive tastes. The upmarket retailer designs and sells a whole host of clothing and footwear, but continues to be best known for its luxe leather handbags.
Unlike its much bigger rival Burberry, AIM-listed Mulberry pleased investors with strong results for fiscal 2016. A sharp rise in pre-tax profits to £6.22m, compared to just £1.86m reported a year earlier, and revenues also up from £148.7m to £155.9m came after it introduced more ‘affordable’ luxury products.
After three year of decline, the Bath-based business looks to have turned a corner with brokers expecting a strong rise in earnings this year and next. But the shares are trading at 12 month highs after gaining more than a fifth this year, and I would say that the predicted growth is well-and-truly-priced-in with premium earnings multiples of 110 for this year, falling to a still-expensive 78 for the year to March 2018. The risk remains that the shares could tumble if the company fails to deliver on the ambitious growth forecasts.
Successful growth strategy
Jimmy Choo (LSE: CHOO) is a luxury British fashion house synonymous with designer shoes. The London-listed small-cap remains upbeat about its prospects saying it has enjoyed a good start to 2016 while it continues to deliver its successful growth strategy and remains focused on controlled expansion. Brand awareness continues to grow strongly, particularly in China where the label is under-penetrated.
City analysts are also positive about the company’s prospects, predicting strong double-digit earnings growth over the medium term, with underlying profits expected to reach to almost £30m by the end of next year. Not bad for a company that reported a pre-tax loss of £8.3m as recently as 2014. The shares look good value at 14 times earnings for 2017 given the strong growth outlook, and in my opinion now could be a good time to buy ahead of interim results due on 25 August.