How can a City analyst predict the fickle world of young fashion and how long will Superdry, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch remain on the shopping list of the worlds' teens and twenty-somethings?
City scribblers don't claim to know the answer but they do think Superdry owner SuperGroup has turned a corner and it could be worth buying the shares.
Following an analysts' meeting with management, Peel Hunt's John Stevenson said it is "regaining control" following "a plague of self-inflicted profit warnings in the past 12 months".
He said that although there is still a lot to be done, "infrastructure, system and process improvements reduce the short-term forecast risk".
He gives the shares a hold target, up from sell, and upgraded his share price target to 650p from 300p.
Seymour Pierce's retail experts were also positive, and gave the shares a buy rating with a share price target of 750p.
Meanwhile, scribes at Canaccord Genuity were even keener, giving it a buy rating with a 850p share price target.
Canaccord's Wayne Brown said: "Supergroup has delivered two consecutive quarters of decent growth and we feel reassuring updates for the remainder of the year will not only be a theme for 2013 but will transform the appeal of the shares."
SuperGroup's shares leapt 12p to 672p.
Staying on the retail theme, could it be time to throw away the Argos catalogue?
At least one City analyst thinks so. Panmure Gordon's Philip Dorgan reckons punters should sell out ahead of Home Retail Group's results later this month, saying that the Argos and Homebase owner's competitors are "big and ugly".
"Amazon is close to or larger than M&S in non-food in the UK and, together with eBay, has customer approval ratings that Argos can only dream of," he said. "John Lewis' online sales are booming."
He thinks Home Retail will report "another big fall in interim profits."
Panmure gave it a share price target of 51p. Despite the downbeat note, Home Retail's shares gained 1.4p to 98.65p.
Now for something a little more upmarket than the queuing system at your local Argos store.
Investors in luxury goods brands are waiting to see what Burberry's second-quarter trading update will reveal today. Kate Calvert at Seymour Pierce has previously given it a hold rating and a target price of 1,200p.
Last month it put out an unscheduled trading update for the 10 weeks to 8 September after a "material slowdown" in global sales. The company's shares have fallen 26 per cent since then and edged down 13p to 1,003p yesterday.
But analysts at Nomura are confident of growth for the luxury sector in general. In a note on Paris-based Gucci owner PPR Group and Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, Nomura's Christopher Walker said: "Although GDP consensus forecasts for quarter three have been falling, a number of data points are beginning to stabilise or improve in China, giving us increasing confidence about the outlook for luxury goods into 2013."
PPR, which confirmed plans to spin off its Fnac business, saw its shares rise 3.1 cents to €128.20.
The FTSE 100 fell for the third day, but banking stocks beat the benchmark index with Lloyds up 1.48p to 38.5p, and Royal Bank of Scotland gaining 5.4p to 262.7p, leading the way. Reiteration by the Financial Services Authority that it will loosen capital rules for banks helped financial stocks.
But the blue-chip index lost 33.54 points to 5,776.71, falling below the 5,800 barrier that some traders use as a key marker of sentiment. The eurozone debt crisis was at the forefront of investors' minds yet again and mining stocks and engineering companies were big losers. One exception was miner Anglo American, which got a boost from analysts at Sandford C. Berstein who reiterated their "outperform" rating. It edged up 12p to 1,825.5p.
BAE Systems' shares ended on a downward trajectory, down 4.5p to 320.9p as its planned merger with EADS crashed and burned.
Rumours bubbled up again for water group United Utilities and its shares flooded up 11.5p to 729p. Traders reheated rumours that Chinese sovereign wealth could be eyeing it.Reuse content