New York, August 18 (FinanceEnquiry.com) – Analysts at Barclays maintain EQUAL WEIGHT ratings on the shares of Stage Stores (NYSE: SSI). The 12-month target price has been raised to $20.
In a research note published yesterday, the analysts mention that gross margin exceeded the expectations, increasing to 30.2 percent by 80 basis points driven by a 25 basis points increase in merchandise margin and 50 basis points of leverage in buying occupancy and distribution costs.
The total inventories rose 10.9 percent and 7.7 percent on a comp basis driven by an acceleration of back to school to inventories and investment in basis commodity items like underwear, socks and intimate apparel. Gross margin upside has been expected to continue in 2H12 driven by AUR’s up single digits in the fall and benefits from lower cotton costs flowing through COGS, the analysts say.
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