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By
Reuters
Published
Jan 20, 2009
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Goldman cuts Polo Ralph Lauren to sell

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 20, 2009

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs downgraded fashion company Polo Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) to "sell" from "neutral," as it saw risk to the company's earnings from a shift in customer spending.


Ralph Lauren spring-summer 2009

Analyst Adrianne Shapira said several "aspirational" brands and retailers, including Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), Tiffany & Co (TIF.N), Coach Inc (COH.N) and Estee Lauder Cos Inc (EL.N), have seen challenging sales that has prompted negative earnings preannouncements, leading to double-digit drop in their stock prices.

"A noticeable exception to this aspirational peer group has been Ralph Lauren," she said, adding that the company had bucked the trend with impressive inventory and expense management.

However, Shapira said she expects to see signs of weakened fundamentals across the company's wholesale, retail and its European business, when it reports its third quarter results, as deep discounts were likely needed to drive sales.

The analyst slashed the price target on the company's stock by 27 percent to $37.

Polo shares fell more than 8 percent to $37.66 in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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