Betting on the pandemic has served a number of investors pretty well over the past few months, with a case in point being fitness company Peloton Interactive (Peloton Interactive Stock Quote, Chart, News NASDAQ:PTON), whose share price has more than tripled since COVID-19 came around.
But while the company may be getting a lot of press along with a boatload of new customers, portfolio manager Christine Poole thinks the stock is too pricey considering Peloton’s growth potential. The fund manager says there’s another issue: Peloton pretends to be a mass consumer item when in fact it has extremely niche appeal.
Interactive fitness platform Peloton certainly came around at the right time, what with gyms closed for much of the year and folks looking for ways to keep in shape while stuck at home. The stationary bike and treadmill may cost thousands each not to mention the monthly memberships but it’s clear some folks are climbing on board, as seen in the company’s latest quarterly report which last month showed sales jumping 172 per cent year-over-year for Peloton’s fiscal fourth quarter.
“When you look at Peloton’s target market it’s obviously higher income, given the price of the bikes and the monthly subscription fee that you pay. And then within those higher income households it’s got to be people who are into physical fitness and then a subgroup of that is people who like to cycle, and then cyclists who like will cycle indoors, so I think it’s somewhat of a relatively narrow market…”
Revenue and earnings for the company’s Q4 beat analysts’ estimates, coming in at $607.1 million and $0.27 per share, respectively, compared to the consensus $582.5 million and $0.10 per share. (All figures in US dollars.)
Peloton is making money not just on equipment and subscriptions but on apparel, as well, as its user base keeps climbing. The company boasted 1.09 million connected fitness subscribers and 3.1 million members in total as of its latest quarter. The company hopes to boost those numbers by bringing in lower-cost versions of its stationary bikes. “It has long been our goal to democratize access to fitness and lowering the price of our bike, along with the introduction of our lower-priced Peloton Tread, are important steps in achieving this goal,” CEO John Foley said on the Q4 earnings call.
Showing strong growth is one thing but living up to the hype is another, according to Poole, who says she’s staying on the sidelines.
“Peloton has definitely been a COVID winner, but I think you have to look ahead and for myself the stock is trading at a very high valuation level. There are a lot of growth expectations built in,” said Poole, CEO and managing director of GlobeInvest Capital, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday.
“When you look at Peloton’s target market it’s obviously higher income, given the price of the bikes and the monthly subscription fee that you pay. And then within those higher income households it’s got to be people who are into physical fitness and then a subgroup of that is people who like to cycle, and then cyclists who like will cycle indoors, so I think it’s somewhat of a relatively narrow market,” she said.
“The stock has done well and we’ve seen that segment of the population buy their products. But for me, I just think that stock is very expensive and there’s a lot of growth built in so I would not be a buyer that stock,” Poole said.
Not everyone agrees with that assessment, however. Truist Securities just upped its target price on PTON on Wednesday, going from $115 to $144 per share and putting the 12-month projected return at about ten per cent.