Rob Black's Retail Stock Report

by: Rob Black
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) is not seeing signs of economic weakness or consumer skittishness in its U.S. business. New chicken snack wrap product has good potential with a low price point, better food costs than some other value products, ingredients consistent with existing menu, and above average "sales incrementality" in test markets. National advertising launches this week. Coffee strategy is to follow the successful chicken product road map. MCD's potential competitive advantages are based on convenience given its 13,700 U.S. stores and price. The underlying strength and growth of breakfast underscore the potential for coffee. A key benefit of the program to sell low return or high risk markets to developmental licensees should be the greater management focus on the core markets and best growth opportunities. MCD continues to exercise capital discipline.

Coach's (COH) CEO says that business remains brisk and that 20% annual profit-growth remains in reach. Coach sells luxury purses and there is concern about the shoppers cutting back or trading down to cheaper brands if the economy softens and the brand could be diluted by its ubiquity and increasing trendiness.

Employees of retail giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) have set up their first trade union in China, a move analysts said could lead to more unionization in the sector.

Wal-Mart sees July same-store sales up 2.4% which is toward the high end of its forecast.

Wal-Mart Stores estimated that July sales rose 2.4 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year, toward the high end of its forecast, as it lowered prices to lure back-to-school shoppers.

Brean Murray believes that Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), bebe (NASDAQ:BEBE), Claire's (CLE), and Guess (NYSE:GES) could achieve results at the high end of their July comps projections.

Piper Jaffray says that while they believe Blue Nile (NASDAQ:NILE) maintains a dominant position in the online engagement segment, they remain concerned with the declining growth rates and lower gross margin profile.