Analysts Think Body Central Is Dressed for Success

By Basch, Mark | The Florida Times Union, December 6, 2010 | Go to article overview

Analysts Think Body Central Is Dressed for Success


Basch, Mark, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Mark Basch

Now that its initial public offering is complete and the company has issued its first quarterly earnings report, analysts are weighing in on the potential of Body Central Corp.'s stock. And the four analysts who are covering the stock - who all work for firms that underwrote Body Central's IPO - are in agreement about its prospects, issuing the equivalent of "buy" ratings.

The analysts see strong growth potential for Body Central, a Jacksonville-based retailer that operates 204 women's fashion stores in 23 states under the Body Central and Body Shop banners.

"The main differentiating factor for Body Central versus other retailers is its early stage growth status. Given the mature retail landscape where most companies are consolidating their store base, Body Central is among the rare pure-play growth stories," Jefferies & Co. analyst Randal Konik wrote in his report.

Konik thinks Body Central "can easily more than double" its 204-store base in about five years.

Analysts also think Body Central is doing a good job of offering fashion that appeals to young women.

"Body Central operates in the fast-fashion arena, in which on-trend styles are designed and manufactured quickly and delivered at affordable price points to the consumer," William Blair & Co. analyst Sharon Zackfia said in her report.

"We believe fast fashion has a strong secular tailwind, since it nimbly address the needs of 18- to 29-year-olds (a rising demographic in sheer numbers through 2014), with nearly one-third of female respondents in our early 2010 survey of college students naming a fast-fashion retail concept as the store they shop most frequently and traditional branded specialty retailers lagging in relevance," she said.

Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst Jeffrey Klinefelter also cited Body Central's success in online sales.

"Few specialty retailers have a similar level of penetration in the direct channel [e-commerce/catalog] and we believe this creates a strategic point of differentiation in the model," he wrote.

The analysts also think highly of Body Central's management, including CEO Allen Weinstein, who joined the company in August 2009, and Chief Merchandising Officer Beth Angelo. Angelo is the daughter of company founders Jerrold and Ronnie Rosenbaum, who opened the first Body Central store in the Roosevelt Mall on Jacksonville's Westside in 2003. Angelo was CMO before a group of private investors bought control of the company in 2006.

"The private equity buyers brought in a new CMO in 2006 [to the detriment of company performance]. …

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