Growing Wealth Among Rich Makes for Good Opportunities in Luxury Brand Stocks

Investors Can Benefit from the Growth Among the RichIt’s the same old story—the rich are getting richer at a rate much higher than the other 99%. This is not going to change anytime soon, and we will likely see the income gap between the rich and poor expand even more over time. As an investor, you can readily benefit from the riches by playing the companies that benefit from the wealthy getting wealthier. I’m talking about the luxury brand stocks.

Just take a look at high-end jeweler Tiffany & Co. (NYSE/TIF), a top player amid luxury brand stocks. The stock just traded at a record-high after reporting a strong four-percent rise in same-store sales. The report said spending on the company’s expensive products jumped 10% to $459 million in the third quarter in the Americas. Tiffany is tops in the luxury jewelry area.

Another excellent participant among the luxury brand stocks is Michael Kors Holdings Limited (NYSE/KORS), which in my view remains the “Best of Breed” in higher-end merchandising. The stock is currently struggling—down 25% from its 52-week high of $101.04 on February 25, 2014. Some on Wall Street are concerned about the growth, as it’s slowing, but the metrics continue to be superior.

Michael Kors Holdings Limited Chart

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The seller of high-end handbags, clothing, and accessories has beaten the consensus estimate in five straight quarters, which supports Michael Kors as a top play amid luxury brand stocks. The company is still estimated to grow its revenues by about 33.6% in FY15 and 20.3% in FY16, according to Thomson Financial estimates. The decline is a concern, but nonetheless, it’s still strong.

If you are looking for a small-cap luxury brand stock, you could take a look at Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ/VRA, $22.14), which is currently struggling, but worth a look as a contrarian pick amid luxury brand stocks.

Vera Bradley Inc Chart

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Vera Bradley has been around for more than three decades. The company sells women’s handbags and accessories, along with luggage and travel items, eyewear, stationery, and gifts via a network of about 89 full-price stores and 20 outlet stores in the United States. The company also has operations in Japan. A move into China could really help drive sales.

What Vera Bradley is doing to try to turn things around is initiate a new five-year strategic plan involving new management, along with a new line of leather and faux leather handbags and accessories. The company hopes the new strategy will jumpstart sales.

While the path will not be easy amid luxury brand stocks, Vera Bradley does have some time as the balance sheet is pretty good with no debt and about $80.0 million in free cash. Vera Bradley is also in the midst of a $40.0-million share buyback.

Watch for some short covering support, as the shorts are aggressive with about 9.23 million shares shorted, or 82% of the float, as of October 31.

Vera Bradley offers a good risk-to-reward trade among small-cap luxury brands and is worth a look.

During the current stock market bull run, some pundits have suggested there were more than 300,000 new millionaires created. That’s not hard to believe, given the massive advance by the S&P 500. Investors can benefit from this growth among the wealthy by considering luxury brand stocks.