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Southwest Downgrades Chico's to 'Neutral'

Southwest Securities downgraded Chico's FAS (CHS) to neutral.

Analyst Ozarslan Tangun says Chico's is one of the best apparel retailers, but he thinks the current valuation, combined with lower-than-expected comp-store sales, is putting pressure on the stock. Tangun says Chico's stock price had been 5% below his $25 target before the market's open Thursday. He notes that although the May catalog seems to be working well, sales for first part of April were worse than expected.

Tangun says his April forecast called for high, single-digit same store sales. He sees 95 cents fiscal 2004 (Jan.) earnings per share, and $1.15 for fiscal 2005, which is in line with consensus estimates. He previously had a strong buy rating.

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