Fashion giant Burberry (LSE: BRBY) has seen its share price receive a hammerblow on Tuesday after the release of its latest trading update.
The high-end fashion play announced that underlying revenues slipped 4% during April-September, to £1.6bn, although like-for-like sales at its retail channel ticked 2% higher from the corresponding 2015 period.
Although sales declines are never cause for cheer, today’s release gave multiple reasons for investors to be optimistic. While trading troubles in Hong Kong and Macau persist, Burberry has seen total retail sales improve in recent months — the retailer recovered from a 3% decline in the first quarter to punch a 2% rise between July and September.
Looking elsewhere, Burberry noted that “digital continued to outperform in the half, with growth in all three regions,” helped by recent improvements to its website. And the London designer also lauded the success of its new product ranges, with its runway rucksack and new Bridle bag spreaheading growth across its bag collections.
On top of this, Burberry also advised of a positive currency boost going forward. Owing to its vast international bias, the firm said that full-year profits would receive a bump to the tune of £125m should sterling remain at the levels seen on October 12.
I believe today’s share price crash at Burberry has been influenced more by heavy profit taking than an adverse reaction to Tuesday’s trading numbers.
The fashion colossus has seen its share price explode 25% since June’s EU referendum, even after today’s 8% decline, as investors have sought stocks with vast global exposure. The company even touched 14-month tops of £15.10 per share just last week.
I retain a bullish take on Burberry’s investment potential, and believe growing personal income levels in its hot growth regions — allied with rising investment in developing its already-stellar brand — should underpin stunning earnings growth in the years ahead.
But Burberry isn’t the only game in town for fashion hunters.
Fellow Londoner Ted Baker (LSE: TED), for example, is able to beat the top-line turbulence whacking luxury designers like Burberry thanks to its focus on the premium segment.
Ted Baker’s total revenues grew 14.4% during the first half of the fiscal year, to £259.5m, with sales in Asia and North America surging by double-digit percentages and demand in its key European region rising 8.5%.
Like Burberry, Ted Baker is also witnessing incredible online activity, with e-commerce sales advancing 29.7% in the period. And both companies are also expanding their global store networks to underpin future sales growth.
So which is best?
Well neither Ted Baker nor Burberry can be considered cheap on paper. An expected 13% earnings rise this year leaves the former dealing on a P/E rating of 22.6 times. And Burberry — which is expected to record a 2% bottom-line advance — deals on a multiple of 19.3 times, some way above the FTSE 100 average of 15 times.
Ted Baker’s stunning sales momentum may make it a preferred pick for many stock selectors, particularly as Burberry still has a lot to do to get sales really motoring again. Still, I believe both fashion plays are great picks for long-term investors.
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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Burberry and Ted Baker plc. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.