Stocks to Buy - 12 Apparel and Luxury Stocks Looking Good

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Retirement investors may be surprised to learn that some of the best stocks to buy right now are actually luxury stocks and consumer discretionary plays. While it's true that overall spending isn't quite as impressive as it was before the financial crisis, many luxury stocks, clothing companies and discretionary retailers are doing big business. A consumer stock that manufacturers shoes or jeans may be a perfect fit for your trading strategy .

Take Gildan Activewear ( GIL ), a Canada based clothing company that sells its goods to to screenprinters in North America and Europe. Gildan stock is up about 30% year-to-date in 2010, and has more than doubled in the last year. GIL stock continues to set new highs and shows no sign of slowing down.Whether you favor high yield dividend stocks or whether you're a more aggressive investor, you simple have to take notice that this mid cap stock is making noise right now.

Some investors think that breakneck growth like that can only be found in the best emerging markets. And while its true that BRIC investments in Brazil, India, China and Russia can have big growth they can also come with big risk. When you buy a Western company like this, you don't have to worry about foreign currency exchange rates or political unrest. You just have to focus on the sales and the profits.


Another example is Lululemon Athletica ( LULU ), a yoga-inspired apparel company that provides trendy but functional athletic clothing. LULU stock has done even better, with 47% gains since January 1 and a whopping +236% gain the last year!

And then there's one of my favorite small-cap stocks, Skechers USA ( SKX ). This fashionable footwear company caters primarily to America's biggest spending machine -- teenagers. The stock is up +43% year-to-date and is up nearly +350% in the last 12 months! (Full disclosure: I just recommended this small-cap stock to readers of my Emerging Growth newsletter)

So what gives? Why is it that discretionary stocks focused on sneakers, yoga pants and athletic socks can be doing so well if consumers are holding back on spending?

Well frankly, because clothing doesn't last. Either stuff goes out of style, your kids outgrow their shoes or you just plain wear out your wardrobe. Consumers can only put off their spending for so long. Equally important is that many of the apparel stocks I'm watching right now cater to the upper echelon of consumers who just plain haven't been hurt by the recession - or at least want to keep up appearances.

Take Joes Jeans ( JOEZ ), a company that sells premium jeans for a few hundred dollars as well as pricey shoes, jackets and accessories. Not exactly a retail play for the recession, right? Well JOEZ stock is up +70% in 2010 so far and has tripled in the past year. So much for a lack of consumer spending! What's more, Joes Jeans has a PE ratio in the single digits right now, indiciating this stock is far from overbought.

And don't think that a rising tide will lift all boats in the clothing and luxury goods sector. The bottom line is that some companies are indeed struggling because they fail to connect with consumers, whether about the price point of their products or because of bad taste.

That's another reason I'm so bullish on Skechers USA. The billion-dollar-plus company offers 3,000 styles of trendy footwear in all different shapes and sizes for men, women and children. And recently, the company announced that it will begin producing a new line of Skechers-branded backpacks, messenger bags and totes. Skechers expects the bags to hit store shelves this fall - just in time for school. This stock clearly isn't resting on its laurels and wants to keep the momentum going.

If you're shopping for a clothing or luxury stock to diversify your portfolio, here are my 12 favorites right now as identified by my stock rating database, Portfolio Grader:

Symbol

Stock Name

Market Cap ( B )

Portfolio Grader Grade

GIL

Gildan Activewear Inc.

$3.76

A - Strong Buy

LULU

Lululemon Athletica Inc.

$3.75

A - Strong Buy

DECK

Deckers Outdoor Corp.

$2.05

A - Strong Buy

SKX

Skechers USA Inc. (Cl A)

$1.93

A - Strong Buy

SHOO

Steven Madden Ltd.

$0.93

A - Strong Buy

GIII

G-III Apparel Group Ltd.

$0.50

A - Strong Buy

UFI

Unifi Inc.

$0.25

A - Strong Buy

CFI

Culp Inc.

$0.16

A - Strong Buy

JOEZ

Joe's Jeans Inc.

$0.14

A - Strong Buy

DLA

Delta Apparel Co.

$0.13

A - Strong Buy

DFZ

R.G. Barry Corp.

$0.13

A - Strong Buy

BOOT

LaCrosse Footwear Inc.

$0.13

A - Strong Buy

A simple trading strategy is to follow the money -- and many of these stocks have doubled in the last year. That means if you're a momentum investor or you place a premium on growth instead of PE ratios , these stocks may be right for you.

Full disclosure: As of this writing, Louis Navellier was recommending Skechers in his Emerging Growth newsletter.

About Portfolio Grader: Every Sunday, renowned growth stock expert Louis Navellier runs a fundamental analysis on the top 5,000 Wall Street companies. Armed with this research, Navellier offers a rating for each company reflected as a simple letter grade, with A being "strong buy" and F being "strong sell." Portfolio Grader's stock data is free and open to the public and can be accessed online here .

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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 , Stocks


Louis Navellier

Louis Navellier

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