Retail Stocks Not Sharing Equally in Today’s Surge

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Retailers do not appear to be headed for uniformly upbeat sales increases in December. Research firm Retail Metrics has dropped its forecast for a same-store sales increase by another 10 basis points this morning, to 1.8%. The projection at the beginning of December called for growth of 2.5%, with sales excluding drug stores dropping from a starting point of 4.2% to 3.5%.

The S&P 500 index is up 1.75% about half an hour before noon today, and retailers’ share prices are all over the map. Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) is down 2.1%, Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) is down 1.5%, Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is down 0.5%, and Dillard’s Inc. (NYSE: DDS) is down 1.7%.

On the upside, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) is up 3.9%, The TJX Companies Inc. (NYSE: TJX) is up 0.5%, and Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) is up 0.9%.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) is up 1.2%, but teen retailers Hot Topic Inc. (NASDAQ: HOTT) and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) are down 1% and 1.5%, respectively.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is up 0.8% and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is down 1.7%. Discount stores are not faring too well either, with Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) down 1.9%, Family Dollar Stores  (NYSE: FDO) down fractionally, and Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) up fractionally. Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is off about 0.2%.

Retailers are expected to report December same-store sales tomorrow.

Paul Ausick

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