Americanas (AMER3) emerges as the winner of the sector after the balance and stock shoots up, but analysts still reiterate caution

Reinforcing the view that it is a winner in the sector due to its good assortment of products and with recovery of margins, Americanas (AMER3) recorded first quarter numbers considered positive – and which could have been even better if it were not for the cyber attack that took down the group’s websites for a few days in March.

However, the macroeconomic scenario and the greater skepticism with the increase in competition are factors that should still limit a better sentiment regarding the shares of the sector in general (including Americanas) in the view of some market analysts. This is even though the short-term reaction to the balance sheet is positive, as observed in this session: the shares registered a rise of 6.40%, at R$ 24.12, around 10:30 am (Brasilia time) in this Friday’s trading session. (13).

One of the positive highlights was the Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) up 22% year-on-year, driven by the 28% growth in physical stores with the economic reopening. The assortment focused on lower ticket products offered resilience in the face of the macro scenario.

Online GMV grew 20% year-on-year despite the cyberattack that took place in February, which suspended sales for 5 days (the company estimates that the incident impacted sales growth by 10 percentage points in the quarter).

Morgan Stanley points out that the total sales data was 2 percentage points below its forecast, but 3 points above the consensus.

XP analysts also highlighted the strong revenue growth and improvement in profitability levels, with gross margin improving 0.4 point year on year, despite stable online penetration at 77% of GMV, while the Ebitda margin (Ebitda , or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, over net revenue) grew 1.8 points year-on-year, driven by synergies captured with the integration between Lojas Americanas and B2W and by the monetization of Ame Digital.

“While rising interest rates limited earnings, with the company posting a net loss, overall we see a solid sales/margin balance for Americanas starting in 2022,” note Morgan Stanley analysts.

XP also highlights the company’s net loss of R4 137 million due to higher financial expenses due to higher interest rates, in addition to a cash burn of R$ 1 billion, due to the seasonality of the first quarter combined with the increase in expenses with capital (capex).

For Bradesco BBI, the superior performance in the growth of e-commerce GMV in relation to two of the three Americanas pairs is proof of the diversification of the assortment, something that should help the company to maintain resilient growth throughout the year as a whole. .

“Despite inflation pressures on operating costs, we view the overall outlook for margins as relatively benign given that the sector as a whole is in ‘margin rebuilding mode’, so we think Americanas can likely deliver the gain an Ebitda margin of around 1 percentage point in the annual comparison compared to the consensus projection”, evaluates the BBI.

Caution continues

Despite the good numbers, and even among those who are optimistic about the stock, the current scenario is seen as challenging for stocks, which have accumulated a fall of around 25% in 2022.

Morgan Stanley, for example, points out that the integration of Americanas continues to advance, with a complete unified distribution network and management reiterating the synergy goals. Since the combination of operations in January 2022, Americanas has completed the merger of customer data, unified inventory and logistics network, and integrated the back office.

“We continue to believe that a simplified operating and holding structure is a positive increase for Americanas”, they assess. However, taking into account the competitive scenario for e-commerce in Brazil, it highlighted selectivity and remains with an equalweight recommendation (performance in line with the market average, equivalent to neutral), with a target price of R$ 36, still a potential appreciation of 59% compared to the closing of the day before.

Also mindful of current market conditions, the BBI finds it unlikely that the shares will have a short-term reclassification (although they highlight an immediate positive reaction for the asset). Therefore, it maintains a neutral recommendation, with a target price of R$ 39 for the AMER3 asset, still a 72% appreciation potential compared to the previous day’s closing.

For Credit Suisse, looking forward, the relatively more favorable outlook when compared to peers remains in place for Americanas as it will likely continue to perform well in its physical channel and decent online sales.

“That said, investors appear to remain skeptical of e-commerce, in light of the uncertainties down the road when it comes to interest rates not only in Brazil but also in the US, which affect equity markets around the world.” , evaluate. Analysts, however, continue with an outperform recommendation (a performance above the market average), with a target price of BRL 36, or a 59% appreciation potential compared to Thursday’s closing.

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