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Someone asked me what I thought about TBL here. Not fun in this market to make a call on an EPS event, but as Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Bottom line: I like it.

1) This is a longer term fundamental call that I won’t rehash here…but I like how the company has (unbeknownst to the Street) offensively taken down margins by about500bp by investing in key areas despite a slowdown in its core boot business. I think margins have troughed. Check out prior TBL posts for deets…

2) This name is ripe for our ‘Capitalists Emerging’ theme. No debt, and $2.60/sh in cash on the balance sheet. I still think it is more likely than not that TBL is owned by either Nike or VFC over the next 12 months. No one thinks that the Schwartz family will sell. I disagree.

3) I’m above consensus for the upcoming quarter and year. No, the top line is not knocking the cover off the ball, and FX is no longer helping. But store closures, asset divestitures, and shifting apparel over to PVH in a licensed model should all help on the margin. Recent trends in 4Q have been positive (see chart below).

4) Starting in 3Q, TBL goes against its easiest top line compares vs. last year, and cycles meaningful inventory build in 2H07.

5) Short interest is registering at only 6% of the float, a level not seen since mid-07. This might seem super bearish. But since the last short interest data was released (getting cut by a third), TBL went from $17 to $10.50. I think that the bearishness out there is more than it seems at face value. Comments I hear from investors definitely support that.