Burberry(LSE: BRBY) shares jumped over 5% to the top of the FTSE 100 leaders board when the market opened this morning after the luxury fashion house reported stronger-than-expected Q1 sales.
New chief executive Marco Gobbetti said he was "pleased" with the performance, "while mindful of the work still to do."
Value of diversification
Burberry advised that retail revenue for the three months to 30 June was up 3% at constant currency on the same period last year and up 13% at actual exchange rates. There was particularly strong growth in China and the UK but weakness in the Americas, the Middle East, some areas of Continental Europe and Korea.
That Burberry was able to deliver a good top-line performance, despite challenging conditions in some markets, is a great demonstration of the value of wide geographical diversification.
Meanwhile, diversification by sales channel is also paying off. The company said that direct-to-consumer revenue continued to grow with mobile transactions now representing 40% of the mix. Its customer app is now live in five markets following its successful soft-launch in the UK last year.
Burberry is going through a period of transition, including management changes, responding to changing shopping habits and preparing for a new strategic partnership with beauty giant Coty.
If you believe, as I do, that its quintessential British fashion has a timeless appeal for customers the world over, periods of uncertainty and share price weakness represent a great opportunity to buy a slice of the business for the long term.
In my buy zone
According to stats from Digital Look, six brokers were recommending selling the shares ahead of today's update, while only five were advising buying (17 were neutral). At a current price of 1,620p, the shares have given up some of their early gains and remain well below their all-time high of 1,900p achieved in early 2015.
Burberry's forward 12-month P/E is below 20, which is a level at which I rate the stock a 'buy'.
Another brand champion
Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser(LSE: RB) -- owner of trusted brands such as Nurofen, Durex, Vanish and Dettol -- is another brand champion I'm very keen on. And as a business in a more defensive sector than Burberry, I'd be willing to pay a higher earnings multiple. Up to 25 is not unreasonable in my book.
A recent cyber attack on the company has had a small and temporary negative impact on business and I put far more weight on the positives in the recent news. In particular, I'm excited by the completion of its $16.6bn acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition.
Reckitt has a fine record of integrating acquisitions and deriving great value from them. And I don't anticipate this one to be any different.
Management expects it to be accretive to adjusted diluted earnings per share in the first full year and double-digit accretive by year three. The acquisition increases Reckitt's exposure to the high-growth consumer health market, as well as considerably strengthening its presence in developing economies, particularly China.
On a forward 12-month P/E of just over 21 at a current share price of 7,630p, I view Reckitt as an attractive 'buy'.
G A Chester has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Burberry and Reckitt Benckiser. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.