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  • Dec. 14, 2012, 10:21 AM
    Will this year's holiday shopping season be even more skewed toward online than forecasts? A report from U.K. retailer John Lewis showing a 46% surge in online sales suggests that across the pond the online trend is firmly entrenched. There's also the sneaking suspicion of some retail watchers that late online shopping could be a bigger factor with delivery turnaround times shortening. A few names to watch for online sales upside: AMZN, M, DKS, LTD, WSM, LULU.
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  • Dec. 7, 2012, 10:25 AM
    More on Consumer Sentiment: The 74.5 read wasn't just sharply below the 83 consensus, it was 5 points underneath the lowest estimate out there. It was led by a 13 point plunge in expectations to 64.6. Double-digit declines are very rare, say the report authors, and point to a "sudden pessimism" as the final surge of the holiday shopping season approaches. The XLY, XRT, and XLP can't be bothered, all with moderate gains today.
  • Nov. 29, 2012, 8:21 AM
    Holiday season warning for retail? The three heavyweight retailers to report November same-store sales all came in with disappointing marks. While Macy's and Target actually saw sales slip during the month, Gap showed a positive reading below expectations. The quick buzz from analysts is that a deeper trend than just a bump in the road from Hurricane Sandy could be in play. GPS -2.4%, TGT -2.9%, M -2.8%.
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  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:01 AM
    Anybody relying on reports of Black Friday sales to make investment decisions likely deserves to be separated from their money. Barry Ritholtz makes crystal clear the reality of retail sales doesn't come anywhere near the breathless headlines. The 2012 Hall of Shame for Black Friday reporting.
  • Nov. 26, 2012, 1:08 PM
    Retail stocks (XRT -1.5%) are a mixed bag on the first day of trading following Black Friday. Though directionally, specialty sellers perceived as Black Friday winners such as Limited Brands (LTD +0.6%), Tilly's (TLYS +2.5%), Cache (CACH +2.8%), and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF +0.4%) can be found, the overall trend is decliners outnumber gainers. One common theme for the day is a sluggish performance for department store stocks: Macy's (M) -3.6%, Nordstrom (JWN) -3.3%, Saks (SKS) -3.2%, J.C. Penney (JCP) -1.4%.
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  • Nov. 23, 2012, 11:18 AM
    By the numbers there can be no denying Black Friday is a dominating national event. An estimated 147M Americans will participate in the shopping frenzy, compared to the mere 126M people that voted in the national election or the 112M who watched the last Super Bowl. Early reports on turnout has been strong, but the read-through to the bottom line of the retail sector won't be known until there is a better handle on the level of promotional activity pushed out by under-duress retailers such as J.C. Penney (JCP +1.6%) OfficeMax (OMX -0.7%), Best Buy (BBY +0.3%), and RadioShack (RSH).
  • Nov. 23, 2012, 10:55 AM
    Retail stocks as a group are trading with strength on optimism Black Friday will deliver a healthy kickoff to the holiday season spending season. While accounts of lines out the door at major stores are an encouraging - but largely anecdotal indicator - it's early numbers from Wal-Mart (WMT +1.2%) and a Dow Jones report tipping off strong online spending on Thanksgiving that may be really powering the mini-rally for big retail concerns such as Costco (COST +0.6%), J.C. Penney (JCP +1.8%), Sears Holdings (SHLD +0.4%), and Target (TGT +0.5%). (Previous: WMT hits 5K transaction per second at its peak)
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  • Nov. 23, 2012, 3:34 AM
    Long lines snaked around city blocks last night as retailers such as Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) opened late on Thanksgiving. Others, including Best Buy (BBY) and Macy's (M), waited until Black Friday. Despite the queues, the National Retail Federation reckons the number of shoppers will fall to 147M over the Thanksgiving weekend from 152M last year, and that the growth in retails sales will slow to 4.1% in November-December from 5.6%.
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  • Sep. 12, 2012, 10:42 AM
    The calendar could be the best friend of retailers this holiday season with a longer than typical interval between Black Friday and Christmas and a full weekend in front of New Year's Eve. Analysts think Christmas falling on a Tuesday is the best scenario possible to help drive up foot traffic to stores.
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  • Aug. 20, 2012, 4:24 PM
    While 80% of S&P 500 stocks are above their 50-day moving average, all of the defensive sectors - Telecom, Consumer staples, Health care, Utilities - have readings below that. The most defensive of them all - Utilities - shows just 39% of the sector above the 50-day, a sharp change from just 2 weeks ago, when 90% were above. "The dynamic has clearly changed," writes Bespoke, with cyclical sectors now leading the charge.
  • Aug. 17, 2012, 8:59 AM
    Another graphic look (via ukarlewitz) at the recent rally which is notable for its rotation into roughed up sectors like Energy, Materials, Industrials, and Discretionary, and out of popular defensive plays like Utilities, Health Care, and Staples. Have the hedge funds been caught wrong-footed again?
  • Aug. 7, 2012, 11:28 AM
    A graphic look at the rotation into neglected sectors - Energy (XLE), Discretionary (XLY), Cyclical (FCL), and Retail (XRT) are all moving higher the past few sessions, while the popular mREITs (represented by NLY), Utilities (XLU), Pharmaceuticals (IHE), and Staples (XLP) all sell off.
  • Jul. 27, 2012, 5:10 AM
    The SEC and Department of Justice are considering starting an investigation of the retail sector for possible breaches of the anti-foreign bribery law, Reuters reports. The deliberations follow allegations about Wal-Mart's (WMT) practices in Mexico, and after other unnamed retailers reported possible offenses by their employees.
  • Jul. 5, 2012, 10:26 AM
    The retail sector (XRT +0.5%) ratchets higher after the dust settles from a flood of June sales reports. Investor favorites of the day include Limited (LTD +5.5%) and TJX Companies (TJX +3.5%), with both companies raising their profit outlooks (I, II). Kohl's (KSS +5.3%) is showing surprising strength off its sales miss, but a comment from the department store operator tipping off that sales trends improved over the course over the month is holding sway
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  • Jun. 28, 2012, 11:09 AM
    The National Retail Federation and the National Council of Chain Restaurants both weigh in with public comments on the Supreme Court decision on healthcare law. The gist of the argument by the trade groups is that the law will penalize companies in the retail sector in particular, as they operate on razor-thin margins in many cases and can be very employee-intensive.
  • May 29, 2012, 2:32 PM
    JPMorgan's Brian Tunick says May chain-store retail sales will come in strong as the sector marks its 10th straight quarter of growth of over 5% since the depths of 2009's slowdown. It's a different story with luxury names - still roiling from a number of high profile warnings (I, II, III) and conflicting opinions on the future of China's high-end spending
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