Foot Locker to rally 45% in 2018 after sneaker sales turn higher, analyst predicts

Foot Locker shares could rocket higher next year as footwear trends bottom in 2017, according to Canaccord Genuity, which upgraded the stock to buy from hold.

Calling the retailer’s relationship with Nike “strong and symbiotic,” analyst Camilo Lyon told clients that footwear trends are set to improve with sustained growth in athletic options.

“It was made abundantly clear to us that the company’s relationship with Nike is strong and symbiotic, and more importantly the current assortment-led comp declines are cyclical, not structural,” explained Lyon in a note Friday. “We believe footwear trends, while still soft, are improving sequentially. Running continues to perform well as momentum in Adidas (NMD, Tubular Shadow, EQT, UltraBOOST) and Nike (VaporMax, Air franchise) is not fading and allocations are increasing.”

A swell in footwear sales at Foot Locker would certainly be welcomed by the company. Shares have slid all year as news of a closer relationship between Nike and e-commerce giant Amazon surfaced. The stock is down nearly 40 percent this year, though shares have rallied 42 percent in the past month.

The company performed better than expected in its latest quarterly earnings report, sending shares up nearly 30 percent in a single day.

Lyon’s new $64 price target represents 44 percent upside from Thursday’s close. Though an inflection in footwear trends were the crux of the analyst’s upgrade, Foot Locker’s improving digital platform could also bode well for sales.

Shares of Foot Locker were up more than 3 percent in premarket trading after the call.

“The company is making progress on rolling out the new digital e-commerce platform along with a mobile app platform and new point-of-sale technology,” added Lyon. “Following these rollouts, all e-commerce sites globally will be on one platform, all mobile apps will be on one platform, and all stores worldwide will be using the same point-of-sale system.”

A better digital surface would likely lead to greater visibility into consumer buying patterns, quicker access to inventory as well as enhanced data analytics. Lyon noted that the company is currently hiring scientists and third parties to study social data and popular buying trends.

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