Despite my belief that the company’s stock was already looking cheap, considering the growth on offer, the Boohoo (LSE: BOO) share price has continued to fall in recent weeks. What’s going on?
Boohoo share price: what gives?
One potential explanation for the latest capitulation in the Boohoo share price is related to concerns over whether co-founder Mahmud Kamani will be required to give evidence in a $100m lawsuit.
As reported in the Financial Times, Boohoo has been accused of using fake promotions in the US for a number of years. It’s been claimed that customers have been presented with inflated original prices. This, in turn, made discounts seem greater than they actually were. In response, the company’s claimed that Kamani isn’t usually involved in setting prices. As such, he shouldn’t be required to answer questions.
Clearly, this isn’t the sort of headline that investors (including myself) wish to see after the hits to Boohoo’s reputation over the last year or so. This isn’t the first time it’s faced accusations of this kind either. Three years ago, the £4bn-cap had its knuckles wrapped over similar tactics and the use of psychological tricks, such as countdown clocks, in the UK.
So, could things get worse? In the very near term, it’s hard to predict which direction the Boohoo share price may go next. A cheap stock (based on growth potential) can always get cheaper. However, I remain optimistic.
Reasons to be optimistic
For one, the company still has its cheerleaders. Indeed, the Boohoo share price rose yesterday (Tuesday) following a ‘buy’ recommendation by broker RBC. Analysts there have set a target price of 410p a pop once the contribution of new brands kicks in.
Investors might also speculate that the fall in the Boohoo share price isn’t necessarily about Boohoo. After all, shares in fashion peer ASOS haven’t been on fire recently. The AIM-listed rival has lost 15% of its value over the last three months. This loss of momentum may be due, in part, to investors taking profits after benefitting from multiple UK lockdowns and looking for bargains elsewhere.
Once normality returns however, I suspect we could see a preference for growth over value again. Strong interim numbers in September could be a catalyst for this. So too could further evidence of progress on hitting its ESG targets and successfully integrating newly-acquired brands.
On which note, it was announced today that the company would partner with Alshaya Group in the Middle East. The latter currently runs Debenhams stores in the region. The agreement will mean that Boohoo’s brands will now feature in stores from Q4, and through a local online platform from “early 2022.“ This is an interesting development considering ASOS’s similar deal with luxury store chain Nordstrom to stock its brands in the US.
Should all the above come to pass, the current valuation of 27 times earnings could prove a bargain, in time.
Naturally, none of this is nailed on. In fact, the Boohoo share price could slide again if earnings surprise on the downside, or the company continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons. Rising Covid-19 infection levels would likely hit sentiment as well.
As ever, it pays for me to remain diversified, just in case…
Paul Summers owns shares in boohoo group. The Motley Fool UK has recommended boohoo group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
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