Rob Black's Retail Stock Report

Includes: ANF, PETC
by: Rob Black
Petco (Pending:PETC) jumped after Texas Pacific Group and Leonard Green & Partners agreed to acquire it for $1.68 billion in cash, the second time the buyout firms have taken the No. 2 U.S. pet-products retailer private. The purchase price of $29 a share is 49 percent more than Petco's closing price Thursday.

BusinessWeek Online reports Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) "is one of the best values in specialty retail," says Barbara Wyckoff of Buckingham Research Group. Buckingham, which owns shares, has a target of 75.

Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in June, a sign near-record gasoline prices and higher interest rates are becoming a bigger burden for consumers and the economy. Last month's 0.1 percent decline, the first decrease since February, reflected fewer purchases of autos, electronics and building materials. Excluding autos, sales rose 0.3 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in May. Federal Reserve policy makers are counting on weaker growth to help tame inflation, bringing them closer to ending a two-year campaign to raise rates. Americans are finding little relief at the gas pump as prices jumped this week to a 10-month high on violence in the Middle East. Growth will be sub-par, not terribly weaker, but sub- par. Retail sales account for almost half of all consumer spending, which in turn represents about 70 percent of the economy. Sales rose an average 0.6 percent a month in the year ended in May.