Goldman Sachs downgrades Levi Strauss, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein parent PVH on department store concerns

Concerns about the wholesale channel sparked downgrades of Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI, -6.05% Ralph Lauren Corp RL, -3.85% and Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp. PVH, -3.32% at Goldman Sachs. The downgrades sent each of the apparel stocks down, with Levi Strauss tumbling 4%, Ralph Lauren falling 3.7% and PVH down 3.4% in Wednesday trading. Goldman expects headwinds for the wholesale channel to ramp up in the second half of the year. "The combination of persistently tough first-half retail trends and an optimistic spring ordering season has driven inventory overhangs at several multibrand retailers," the Goldman note said. "These retailers are thus tightening up ordering as we head into the critical back-to-school and holiday season. We thus see incremental sell-in risk for apparel brands, particularly those with high exposure to department stores." Goldman expects growth at PVH’s Tommy Hilfiger brand to "fade," thinks Ralph Lauren’s wholesale troubles will be amplified by brand challenges at Polo and Lauren, and is worried that growth in Levi’s tops business will decline. Levi stock is down 19% over the last three months, Ralph Lauren is down nearly 16%, and PVH is down 32.2%. The ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF EMTY, -0.74% has climbed nearly 11% over the last three months and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.22% has gained 3.5% for the period.

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