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  • Jan. 3, 2012, 10:33 AM
    VF Corp. (VFC +3.1%) jumps after Citigroup upgrades the stock to Buy from Neutral, hikes the price target to $157 from $137 and adds it to the firm's "top picks live" list. Citi cites "strong brands" and "secular growth opportunities" within the company's outdoor segment, plus wider margins as cotton prices come down next year. XRT +1.3%.
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  • Dec. 28, 2011, 8:04 AM
    The "dirty little secret" about big Black Friday sales is more sales mean more returns, writes Kristen Bentz, remaining bearish on the holiday season. Feverishly spending amidst the hype and promotions, consumers go home, look at their receipts, and remorse sets in. "Black Friday does not a season make ... one need(s) to look at November and December together."
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  • Dec. 27, 2011, 4:30 AM
    Online shopping jumped 16.4% on Christmas from the year before, according to data released by IBM, while the dollar value of purchases made on mobile devices jumped 172.9%. In fact, nearly 7% of all online purchases on Christmas Day were made using iPads. The uptick was poised to continue yesterday, though final data isn't yet available.
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  • Dec. 23, 2011, 1:32 PM
    Though retailers have had to offer major discounts to drive sales, the stars appear to be aligning for a decent close to the holiday season. The weather has mostly been moderate, and is expected to remain so over the next week, and Christmas Eve lands on a Saturday. Moreover, one survey found 30% of consumer had holiday shopping to do this weekend, up from 26% last year. (previously)
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  • Dec. 23, 2011, 1:06 PM
    Miscalculating their pricing power, apparel retailers see their inventory-to-sales ratio move to a 2-year high, bucking a falling trend amongst the rest of the industry. In the meantime, costs continue their rapid rise, suggesting the margin pinch will continue.
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  • Dec. 23, 2011, 7:44 AM
    Optimistic plans by retailers entering the holiday season are not panning out, says consultant David Bassuk, resulting in pre-Christmas markdowns that are more widespread than typical. Nomura analyst Paul Jejuez, after a weekend surveying malls, is concerned - "You have to be at 40% off to drive traffic."
  • Dec. 19, 2011, 12:24 PM
    A new Goldman Sachs report highlights that Target (TGT -1.1%) may be the poster child for an ongoing theme of retailers offering lower and lower prices in order to grab market share (Retailer margin shock: I, II). The firm's data tallies that Target holds a 18.7% pricing edge on toys over comparable products at rival Wal-Mart (WMT -0.6%), and an even bigger gap with Amazon (AMZN +0.1%). But will TGT's big bet on low-priced toys ultimately lead to profits from shoppers loading up on other items at the expense of other merchandise retailers?
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  • Dec. 15, 2011, 11:36 AM
    Retailers (XRT +1%) push higher after the National Retail Federation raises its forecast for U.S. holiday sales, citing strong results in November and expectations that consumers still have more shopping to do. The trade group now expects holiday sales to rise 3.8%, vs. its prior 2.8% forecast - lower than last year's 5.2% but above the 10-year average 2.6% gain.
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  • Dec. 14, 2011, 2:32 PM
    Margin declines at retailers are all the rage (I, II) as discounting keeps accelerating with savvy consumers waiting for the best deals. Latest analyst margin estimate cuts: GPS 32.7% from 38.2%, JCP 36.7% from 38.2%, M 41% from 41.3%, ANF 60.1% from 63.6%.
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  • Dec. 13, 2011, 12:08 PM
    A group of retailers protest the conclusions of a credit card study sponsored - not coincidentally - by credit card giants such as Mastercard (MC), Visa (V), and American Express (AXP). Though the data from the credit card outfit claims stores are pocketing the difference from paying less in interchange fees to the tune of $825M since Oct. 1 and on pace for $8B in savings this year, the Merchants Payments Coalition isn't buying it. "Calling this research amateurish would be an insult to amateurs."
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  • Nov. 28, 2011, 10:05 AM
    Investors in retailers choose to accentuate the positive and eliminate any potential negative, as retail stocks (XRT +3.9%) post major moves in the early going. Among the notable gainers: AEO +5.2%, ANF +4.6%, BBY +4.2%, TIF +5.6%, AMZN +5.3%, JCP +3.5%, KSS +2.4%, TGT +2.3%, WMT +1.4%.
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  • Oct. 24, 2011, 1:25 PM
    Shares of retail stores (XRT +3%) enjoy a boost from FedEx's (FDX +2.8%) forecast of record holiday shipments. FedEx expects to ship 17M packages, a 10% rise Y/Y, and overall retail sales to rise 2.5%-3% this holiday season. Leading today's charge is JC Penney (JCP +3.7%), named a top pick last week at T2 Partners; also ANN +3.3%, M +4.7%, OMX +9%.
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  • Jul. 11, 2011, 4:02 PM
    Amazon (AMZN -2.6%) pressures retailers for market share due to its competitive price advantages, a report by William Blair found. The firm has an average 11% price discount on each item, and even higher for online bulk sales. Retailers rated at above-average risk for share loss: HGG, BBY, BBBY, TGT, DKS, KSS, PETS
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  • Apr. 13, 2011, 8:20 AM
    Economists estimate that growth in retail sales slowed to 0.5% in March from 1% in February, indicating that higher costs for fuel and food are restraining consumer spending. The figures, from the Commerce Department, are due out in ten minutes.
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  • Apr. 8, 2011, 3:36 PM
    Retailers (XRT -1.3%) are active as investors continue to digest same-store sales (I, II, III). Goldman downgrades Costco (COST -1.5%), tossing aside five straight months of rising average purchases, as earnings estimates and current stock valuation "fully reflect its strong franchise value." BJ's Wholesale (BJ +1.7%) gets an upgrade, since its shares represent a better value.
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  • Apr. 7, 2011, 1:41 PM
    Rising oil prices can't kill the retail rally, Stuart Frankel's Steve Grasso says; shorting retailers because of crude gains "has proved to be the worst bet you could have made." Retail's up around 52-week highs (XRT +1.1%, RTH +0.4%) after most of this morning's same-store reports beat expectations, and Grasso expects more of the same through April and May.
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