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Swedbank Changes Apranga to ’Neutral’ From ’Buy’ on Slower Sales

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Swedbank changed its recommendation on Apranga AB, the biggest Baltic clothing retailer, to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ as the company’s shares fell from a 22-month high after it reported sales growth slowed in October.

“We estimate the decline in Latvian sales growth had the largest impact on lower consolidated turnover growth” and was partly due to competitor H&M opening a story in the Latvian capital of Riga, Swedbank said in an e-mailed remark to clients today after trading.

Before trading, Apranga reported sales in October grew 13.4 percent from the same month last year, compared with 28.5 percent annual growth in September. Swedbank said it hadn’t changed its forecast of 23.6 percent sales growth in 2012 or its target price of 2.15 euros ($2.76), which was the closing price on Oct. 31 when the shares last traded.

Apranga fell 1.4 percent today to 2.12 euros on the Nasdaq OMX Vilnius exchange in the Lithuanian capital. Volume of 21,816 shares was just below the 12-month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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