While many of us have come to the conclusion that it is much easier to shop online than fight crowds at packed malls, for some of the top retailers who count on the holiday season to make the year’s numbers, online sales have become gigantic. A new research report from the e-commerce team at UBS highlights companies that will do a huge portion of the total fourth-quarter business via the Internet.
The UBS report highlights a fact that won’t surprise many investors: online shopping continues to grow and to gain new participants. While the staggering percentage number gains of four and five years ago are slowing down, the overall adoption of e-commerce use continues.
Here are the four stocks highlighted by UBS that will have at least 20% of total holiday sales this year.
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (NYSE: AEO) shareholders should be pleased this holiday. The executive chairman and interim CEO showed up as a big insider buyer of the stock in the fall, and that signals commitment to change and growth for the chain. The UBS team projects that the company will do an incredible 24% of fourth-quarter sales via the e-commerce route. This retailer of casual apparel, accessories and footwear is slated to report third-quarter fiscal 2014 results Thursday.
American Eagle investors are paid a solid 3.5% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $13.86. Shares closed higher on Tuesday at $13.93.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) has slowly but surely started to rebuild what once was a very dominant brand, and the company has been utilizing its huge 19 million user following on Facebook. The UBS analysts cite a gigantic 29% of the stocks sales will be on the Internet during the holiday shopping season. Wall Street has applauded continuing share repurchases, leaner inventory and improving fashion offering as catalysts that could drive earnings and the stock higher soon. But Abercrombie massively cut earnings estimates when it reported earnings, and investors should tread carefully.
Abercrombie investors are paid a 2.8% dividend. The consensus price target is $34.19. Shares closed Tuesday at $27.84.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) could be poised to see outsized growth based on international and category expansion. The stock has had a very up-down 18 months, but things seem to have settled. While the company dominates the very expensive yoga and workout clothing category, a growing online presence is helping to boost overall sales. The UBS team estimates that the company will do 22% of holiday sales via the Internet.
The consensus price target is $45.18. Lululemon closed Tuesday above the target at $46.06.
Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) is another trendy name that has battled consumer perception and tastes in the revolving door of the fashion world. Its Instagram efforts, combined with other targeted media, have started to bring consumers and sales back up. It is the company the UBS team expects to be the overall e-commerce winner this holiday season, with a massive 38% of all sales coming via the Internet.
The consensus price target for the stock is $34.35, and the stock closed Tuesday at $31.09 a share.
With the Internet becoming ubiquitous, it is no surprise that ever more retail companies are expanding the use of it to grow overall sales. The savvy shoppers scour the Internet looking for bargains, and they are finding them.