Days after basking in the glow of the first collection from Gucci’s new designer, Kering SA shares fell back to earth under the weight of a rare sell rating.
(Bloomberg) — Days after basking in the glow of the first collection from Gucci’s new designer, Kering SA shares fell back to earth under the weight of a rare sell rating.
Bank of America Corp. analyst Ashley Wallace downgraded the French luxury company to underperform on Monday, becoming only the second out of 32 analysts tracked by Bloomberg to hold a negative recommendation.
The shares fell as much as 3.7% in Paris to the lowest in almost a year, reversing Friday gains fueled by Gucci’s Sabato de Sarno presenting his debut collection at Milan fashion week.
Wallace said China’s sputtering economy would make it tough for Kering to turn around its flagship Gucci label. It is also more exposed than rivals to less affluent shoppers, who are likely to cut spending during an economic downturn, compared to ultra-rich clients ready to spend tens of thousands of euros for a Hermes Birkin bag.
Kering, which sells couture, jewelry and eyewear under brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Bottega Veneta, has already trailed its European luxury peers during this year’s stock market frenzy. It is typically viewed as a weak link in comparison with its French competitors LVMH and Hermes International.
Bofa cut its target price for the stock to €430 from the prior €600 to the lowest of all analysts tracked by Bloomberg. The shares currently trade around €450.
Wallace said the Gucci brand in particular had been “super hot” in the run-up to the pandemic, but started losing market share soon after. As doubts grow over the health of the Chinese consumer, “it will be hard for Gucci to differentiate itself at this crucial time,” she added.
Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault acknowledged after De Sarno’s successful Milan show on Friday that it would take more than one successful show to turn Gucci around.
A new designer’s touch is “built over some time,” he said, and the “climax won’t come right away.”
–With assistance from James Cone.
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