Luxury Consumers Rein in Spending: 9 Consumer Stocks With Significant Short Selling

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(By Becca Lipman. List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA. Data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.)

A study from American Express Business Insights shows that the top-tier of luxury consumers curbed their spending on high-end clothes, accessories and jewelry in the first half of 2011. The good news is regular consumers are picking up the slack for the first time since the crisis began in 2008. (via CNBC)

What does this mean for consumer confidence? Is the average consumer returning to pre-recession shopping habits? Let’s not get our hopes up. According to the report, it appears average consumers are simply revamping their existing wardrobe while luxury spenders are putting their wardrobe revival on hold.

CNBC says, "In recent years, [the average consumers] have turned to other categories such as shoes and makeup to freshen their look," so it seemed only a matter of time before some start playing catch-up with their wardrobe.

According to the American Express Report, "since the recession, a group of "fashion enthusiasts" – those making up the top 5% of spend on apparel & accessories – have led spend growth across all categories of luxury fashion retail globally. In 2011, however, the remaining “average” consumers are making notable spend increases while the enthusiast group pulls back, revealing a compelling catch-up trend."

Analysts wonder how long the slowdown in luxury spending will last, but say it is too soon tell if it a permanent trend.

So, which luxury stocks are in trouble?

For ideas we looked at short seller trends, and identified a list of luxury stocks that have seen a sharp increase in shares shorted over the last month.

Short sellers think these luxury names are in trouble--what do you think?

Analyze These Ideas (Tools Will Open In A New Window)

1. Access a thorough description of all companies mentioned
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List sorted alphabetically.

1. AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN): Operates as a specialty retailer of women's apparel, shoes, and accessories primarily in the United States. Shares shorted have increased from 7.30M to 9.44M over the last month, an increase which represents about 4.62% of the company's float of 46.28M shares.

2. Collective Brands, Inc. (PSS): Engages in the wholesale and retail of footwear and related accessories worldwide. Shares shorted have increased from 18.99M to 20.33M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.43% of the company's float of 55.24M shares.

3. Fossil, Inc. (FOSL): Designs, develops, markets, and distributes fashion accessories worldwide. Shares shorted have increased from 923.06K to 1.56M over the last month, an increase which represents about 1.2% of the company's float of 53.07M shares.

4. J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP): J. C. Penney Company, Inc., through its subsidiary, J. C. Penney Corporation, Inc., operates department stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. Shares shorted have increased from 29.16M to 33.32M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.88% of the company's float of 144.22M shares.

5. The Jones Group Inc. (JNY): Engages in the design, marketing, and wholesale of apparel, footwear, and accessories in the United States and Canada. Shares shorted have increased from 9.62M to 11.01M over the last month, an increase which represents about 1.82% of the company's float of 76.44M shares.

6. Saks Incorporated (SKS): Operates fashion retail stores in the United States. Shares shorted have increased from 30.79M to 33.48M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.56% of the company's float of 104.89M shares.

7. Skechers USA Inc. (SKX): Engages in the design, development, marketing, and distribution of footwear for men, women, and children in the United States and internationally. Shares shorted have increased from 5.83M to 6.67M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.24% of the company's float of 37.55M shares.

8. The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. (PLCE): Operates as a children's specialty apparel retailer in North America. Shares shorted have increased from 5.34M to 6.19M over the last month, an increase which represents about 3.98% of the company's float of 21.34M shares.

9. Under Armour, Inc. (UA): Designs, develops, markets, and distributes a range of apparel and accessories using synthetic microfiber fabrications in the U. Shares shorted have increased from 1.85M to 2.82M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.64% of the company's float of 36.79M shares.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


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