Liz Claiborne (LIZ) Downgraded: No Catalysts Until Isaac Mizrahi Gets Cranking

Credit Suisse cut Liz Claiborne (LIZ) to NEUTRAL because the bank sees sees no catalysts for growth. CS expects a prolonged difficult retail environment for LIZ in North America and Western Europe, where almost all of the company’s business is concentrated.

Also, Credit Suisse has concerns about LIZ’s restructuring plan:

We see limited upside in the stock until the company can demonstrate meaningful progress on its bold restructuring plan, particularly with the Liz Claiborne and Mexx turnarounds.

We are optimistic on the long-term outlook for the long-suffering Liz Claiborne brand due to the hiring of Isaac Mizrahi as Creative Director and his role in Target’s evolution into a trendy destination for women’s fashion in suburban America. However, we don’t expect any real signs of life for the Liz brand until next spring, the first season that Mizrahi will have his fingerprints on the product and marketing, and suspect it may even take a few seasons after that for women to get back on board with this once dominant brand.

Furthermore, it is quite difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the turnaround at Mexx given the deteriorating Western European macro environment and tough competition from Zara and H&M.

Credit Suisse downgrades Liz Claiborne (LIZ) from Outperform to NEUTRAL, target cut from $25 to $14.

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