Big Day for Some 'Former Glory' Apparel Retailers

 |  Includes: ANF, PSUN
by: Brendan Wagner

Thursday morning's barrage of same-store-sales press releases overwhelmingly surprised to the upside. Standouts included Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ), Abercrombie (NYSE:ANF), PacSun (NASDAQ:PSUN), Wet Seal (WTSLA), and Dillard's (NYSE:DDS).

Some of these stock jumps look extreme in relation to 2010 and 2011 earnings estimates. Abercrombie is trading at 17x 2011 numbers, and look at PacSun, up 9% today even though they're expected to post massive losses this coming year, even WITH these positive sales reports.

I think it helps to take a look at what these "former glory" retailers previously earned, as that can explain investor optimism. Pull out Abercrombie's cash per share and it trades at 8 times the five year peak earnings of 5.20; I'm not saying that is the right way to value it, but it is important to consider.

Another one to look at is Pacific Sunwear (PSUN), a stock trading at just three times its five year maximum earnings per share. Granted, they're expected to post huge losses this year, but this list is a good place to look for "former glory" possibilities (far right column below). The most critical component of these possible turnarounds is management, and you can get a partial feel for their skill and level of shareholder commitment by listening to their quarterly conference calls.

Happy hunting... (Click chart for clearer view.)

Click to enlarge

Disclosure: Long GPS