) shares rose after First Albany started coverage with a strong buy rating.
Analyst Harry Ikenson says the specialty retailer is well positioned to deliver earnings growth of 20% or more per year, driven by accelerating top-line momentum and continued operating margin gains. He notes strong growth over the past three years were driven by several efforts aimed at increasing store level productivity. He cites, among other factors, strengthening of management; an extensive store-remodeling program; expanded marketing efforts; and the expansion of sportswear at both Cache and Lillie Rubin stores.
Ikenson sees earnings per share of 49 cents for the fourth quarter, $1.09 for 2003, and $1.30 for 2004. He notes 2003 results are due Wednesday. He set a $30 price target on the stock.