Sunday, November 30, 2014

Retail Stocks To Watch During Holiday Season Hudson's Bay Company HBAYF, Target TGT, Sears SHLD department stores

Even though total sales during thanksgiving weekend were unchanged and black Friday sales were down 7%, the overall picture is not so bleak i) the official numbers released by the national retail federation do not include online sales (where major retailers like IBM, Target have already reported increases of nearly 10% versus the previous year) ii) sales are forecast to rise by 4% in november/december (holiday sales) which would be the biggest increase in three years.  Another thing benefiting Americans is a strong US dollar - this makes it easier for retailers to lower prices stateside.

US sales figures: black Friday : $9.1 billion -7%.  thanksgiving holiday : $3.2 billion +24%.

With Christmas only a month away let's look at a few stocks possibly benefiting from all this retail activity                     investing

Companies Benefiting From The Holiday Season

Target Corporation (TGT) - Canadian retail sales growth is strong (online sales up 23% nationwide), and with key competitors Canadian Tire CTC.A and Sears SHLD offering little in the way of online competition, there's good reason to expect a surge in sales at Target Canada.  Because Canada has one of the world's highest import fees, Target Canada is not exposed to as much online competition in the country as it is stateside. (Target competitors)
.. online sales matter : online retail sales up +22.6% in 2014.. 6.7% of all Canadian retail sales now occur online.

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Hudsons Bay (nasdaq:HBAYF) - HSBC commands a leading share in Canada's high end clothing market.  With Sears (nasdaq:SHLD) shifting its focus away apparel and into major appliances, hbayf could see an uptick in sales due to market share growth.  The company has a rich real estate portfolio - total retail asset value is $7.3 billion (including those in the US) which is twice the market valuation of the entire company !  Earlier this month its most coveted asset, the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in NYC was appraised at $3.7 billion which comes out to $1.3 billion more than what it paid for the entire company last year ! The CEO also has expressed interest in creating a real estate investment trust (reit) using company property.  hbayf - even if you exclude heavyweight Saks, group sales are healthy meaning the retail business adds value to the stock.  Also HBAYF is in the process of refinancing existing debt so as to reduce its long term debt load.  CEO Richard Baker is interested in opening new locations in high traffic areas - with more money coming in from the real estate side of the business he will be able to do this without the burden of short term debt (healthy quick ratio = less risk).
seraphim's advice - Richard Baker knows the retail market for apparel and is a real estate genius.  He's put the company in an enviable position - to grow throughout North America.  Saks, Hudson's Bay, Lord & Taylor are established brands with a long history - the fact that they have continued to do well when others like Sears are on life support, is a testament to the brand strength.  There's plenty of shareholder value to go around.
if you're looking for a company that maximizes shareholder value Hudson's Bay is the way to go - it took just a few years for privately held NRDC Equity Partners to turn a bankrupt chain of Canadian department stores into a money making asset.  The Zellers real estate assets that were sold for $2 billion two years ago didn't even touch the company's premier properties in Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver.