Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group also liked Francesca’s Holdings Corp during the third quarter of the year: the hedge fund more than tripled its holdings to about 540,000 shares, though this was still a very small position compared to the fund’s size. Check out Griffin's stock picks. Columbus Circle Investors, managed by Donald Chiboucis, also added shares during the quarter (see Columbus Circle's favorite stocks). However, the most recent data shows that 33% of the outstanding shares are held short, so while we can’t be sure who they are we know that a number of market players are bearish.
A number of peers are also seeing strong earnings growth. Ann Inc (NYSE:ANN), Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS), Chico’s FAS, Inc. (NYSE:CHS), and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) each reported earnings growth of at least 20% in their most recent quarter compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year. Of the peer group we looked at, only Limited Brands, Inc. (NYSE:LTD) seems to be struggling with revenue and net income actually down. The other four companies fall into two groups in terms of valuation: Ann and Chico’s have trailing P/E multiples in the teens, while Kors and Ulta Salon are priced closer to 40 times trailing earnings. This puts Francesca’s between the two groups, a bit below average. Ann and Chico’s both appear to be doing fairly well as far as their sales figures go, and might make better starting points for a value investor. Ulta Salon and Kors are seeing strong growth, and it’s possible that those stocks are poised to go higher as well, but given how pricy they are we think that we’d prefer to wait a couple quarters to see how their growth numbers do. Traders who have a taste for growth stocks, however, could certainly consider them.