Stephen Simpson, CFA
Long only, growth at reasonable price, value, research analyst

Living In The Fast (Retailing) Lane Comes At A Price

Apparel retailing can be a surprisingly cyclical business, and not just because of economic cycles. Plenty of U.S. apparel companies, ranging from Gap (NYSE:GPS) to American Eagle (NYSE:AEO) to Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) have enjoyed periods where they could do no wrong with merchandising or marketing, only to see the crowds leave without warning and take their sales with them. What's more, as a store's footprint grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an impressive or satisfying level of growth.

One solution that apparel companies have found is to go global. Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch have taken their shows on the road (with not a lot of success thus far), as have European...

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