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RH – Quick Take On WSM Disappointment

Takeaway: We think RH is 100% on track. The bad WSM print matters at face value, but the lion’s share simply does not apply to RH.

Overall, WSM’s print is a factor we won’t ignore as it relates to RH. Even though the customer mix is very different, WSM is RH’s closest publicly-traded comp. The reality is that this is an environment where a poor quality retailer (M, KSS, TGT) could hit numbers with horrible quality earnings and the stock trades up, where great (and higher multiple) companies smoke estimates but say one word wrong and the stock is down 10-20% (KATE). That’s our greatest concern near-term. But for so many reasons, after taking in this data point we don’t think this WSM print can be extrapolated to RH. We think RH will beat the quarter in two weeks, and more importantly will ultimately print $2.70 this year versus the Street at $2.30. We’re still at $11 in 2018, and think that this stock will be well in excess of $200. We still think RH is perhaps the most powerful story in retail. A bad quarter at WSM does not change that.

A few points…

1) The WSM concept that overlaps most with RH is West Elm. Though it is only 12% of sales, it comped 16.7%, and accelerated by 140bp on a 2-year basis.

2) WSM called out ‘seasonal’ product as being weak. That’s little concern for RH. Less than 10% of the RH assortment is considered ‘seasonal’. WSM is more tied to seasonal promotions in the first nine months of the year. That’s not an issue for RH.

3) Let’s not confuse ‘seasonal’ for ‘outdoor’. People familiar with the RH story know that so-called ‘outdoor space’ is critical to the economic model of its new design galleries. Yes, that’s where they sell outdoor furniture – but it’s not what WSM is referring to as ‘seasonal’. A $3,000 teak outdoor dining table isn’t exactly what WSM was referring to as being promotional. It simply does not compete much with RH’s core.

4) Weakness that WSM might be seeing in kitchen and tabletop is nothing compared to what it will see when RH launches its Kitchen business in the Spring of 2015.

5) To put these stories in context, RH square footage growth is accelerating from -5% to over 40% in just two years. WSM, on the flip side, is shrinking its US store base in the Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma concepts. And with the exception of West Elm, its only new sq. ft. is coming outside of the US. In total WSM has 1.5% unit growth and 3.7% sq. ft. growth for the year. There’s very little leverage left to the model from unit growth.

6) Commentary towards the end of the WSM call made it seem like they had a deferred revenue issue. It sounded to us like there wasn’t inventory at the end of the quarter to meet demand in things that people actually wanted like furniture as opposed to holiday decorations. Again, this comes back to mix shift towards seasonal items that RH does not sell.