Retail stocks rose 5.8 percent last week, supported by readings of consumer confidence and the job market that were negative, but no worse than feared.
The same kind of proportionality — if retailers are lucky — could apply to comparable-store sales reports this Thursday. Some chains are expected to show signs of stabilization in March, as well as a benefit from the timing of Easter, and even if the numbers aren’t actually good, the absence of downright bad results might be enough to send stocks higher.
Citigroup equity analyst Deborah Weinswig predicted comps at broadline retailers increased 1.2 percent in March versus a 0.3 percent rise a year ago.
“We believe favorable weather, pent-up demand, continued promotional activity and tax refund distributions spurred sales of spring merchandise,” said Weinswig, noting Wal-Mart Stores Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. are most likely to turn in better-than-expected results.
Standard & Poor’s equity research group also saw cause for some optimism. “We are seeing less discounting at Macy’s this spring versus last fall-winter,” said S&P. “Firmer pricing implies to us that customer spending levels, while still down year-over-year, have potentially stabilized.”
Another week of stock increases would help solidify an upswing that has sparked hopes, however faint, that some sort of a bottom has been reached.
On Friday, the S&P Retail Index advanced 1.2 percent, or 3.74 points, to end the week at 314.17. Retail stocks are up 40.8 percent from their March 6 low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday registered a rise of 0.5 percent, or 39.51 points, to 8,017.59, marking a 3.1 percent increase for the week and guaranteeing at least a weekend stay above the 8,000 level.
Last week, the Conference Board said consumer confidence remained at all-time lows for March and the unemployment rate also hit a 25-year high of 8.5 percent, about what economists had predicted.
Jeweler Zale Corp. enjoyed a dramatic rise in its stock, which increased 48 percent to $4.16 on Friday and was ahead 77 percent for the week after a series of investor meetings.
David Sternblitz, Zale’s vice president and treasurer, said, “There’s more recognition from the investment community that we will be a survivor in the jewelry industry as things consolidate. We are taking a number of steps in terms of managing our inventory, our expenses, looking at our real estate portfolio to prepare us to capture market share as the environment improves.”
Off-pricer TJX Cos. Inc. also caught the attention of Wall Street. RBC Capital Markets analyst Howard Tubin initiated coverage of the company, giving its shares a rating of outperform with a target price of $31. The stock closed up 2.1 percent Friday at $26.68 and was ahead 0.5 percent for the week.
“Better positioned players in the off-price channel will continue to outperform their department store peers,” Tubin said. “The channel is likely gaining new customers as the consumer continues to show a laser focus on ‘value.’”
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)