Williams-Sonoma (WSM) +6.5% AH after posting better than expected Q4 earnings and revenues, and raising its quarterly dividend by 6%.
Comparable brand revenue growth in Q4 rose 10.4% Y/Y after gaining 4% in the year-ago quarter; gross margin was 40.6% vs. 41.3% in Q4 a year ago.
At West Elm, comparable-brand sales jumped 18.3%, Pottery Barn same-store sales rose 14.6%, Pottery Barn Kids gained 11.2%, while PBteen climbed 9.6%; at WSM's namesake stores, comparable-brand sales added 2.3%.
Issues downside guidance for Q1, seeing EPS of $0.41-$0.44 vs. $0.46 analyst consensus estimate, on revenues of $920M-$940M vs. $943M consensus; Q4 comparable brand revenue growth is expected at 4%-6%.
Sees FY 2015 EPS of $3.05-$3.15 vs. $3.21 analyst consensus estimate on revenues of $4.63B-$4.71B vs. $4.64B consensus; comps growth of 5%-7% expected.
Gift cards are a bigger part of the earnings matrix for retailers this year with usage rising to 23.7% of all holiday spending.
Companies which have their fiscal quarter end in January stand a better chance of realizing gift card sales along with holiday sales, while those with a December 31 ending date could see sales slip into the next period.
The volume of gift card sales can also factor in to how promotional firms decide to become during the post-Christmas season.
The unexplainable toy juggernaut that is known as Elf on the Shelf is showing massive sales gains again at retail outlets as the little red-adorned feller becomes even more entrenched as a holiday season tradition for households with children.
A self-financed book by a mother and daughter team in 2005 has evolved to a retail winner with more products and tie-ins being developed. One online British retailer reports sales gain of 900% for Elf on the Shelf products this year.
Target (TGT), Pottery Barn (WSM), and Barnes & Noble (BKS) get a piece of that action as preferred retailers with expanded kiosks.
Retail sales showed their biggest gain since June and beat expectations after backing out auto sales.
Automobile and housing-related categories helped drive up sales during November to make up for weakness in other areas. Furniture (LZB, ETH, HVT, PIR, BBBY) and home furnishings stores (WSM, RH, KIRK) showed an impressive 9.7% Y/Y gain. The read for Home Depot (HD -0.3%) and Lowe's (LOW -0.4%) is positive as well as their key categories looked solid.
Grocery stores (SVU, KR, DEG, IMKTA, SFM, WFM) and clothing stores were drags during the month.