Broker Check

Choosy Shoppers Choose

It appears retail shoppers are becoming more particular and stingy about what they are spending their dollars on during the last month or so. Over the last few weeks, I have noticed that apparel retailers are reporting lower sales figures while others seem to be holding in just fine. Several of the big department store retailers are also showing slowing sales. I must admit, I have never been a big supporter of department stores or apparel companies because of the fickleness of consumers. Changing fashion trends is not a subject I feel comfortable forecasting even with a wife and three daughters. So, I will leave that game to others and try to make sense of a few specialist retailers that have longer term trends to analyze.

This week we will get reports from Lowe’s and Home Depot that should provide a good clue if consumers are truly pausing or just shifting their priorities to their home rather than their clothes closet. My bet is that they are indeed spending more on their home and becoming a little more discriminating about personal expenditures.  And, if we think about what products should be selling well at these DIY retailers, it makes sense that Masco Corporation that makes many of the products in your home should also be doing well.

Aside from these DIY retailers, I think we are safe believing that consumers are still addicted to their Starbucks and Dunkin Brands coffee. And, monthly sales have also been consistent at Costco and Five Below Inc. which should be able to keep their positive trends going through August and September. The only retailer that I like that gives me a little trepidation is Dicks Sporting Goods which reports their quarterly results on Tuesday. While one quarter does not make or break a retailer, a poor sales outlook will be an important indicator through the next two/three months. We wait with bated breath for signs of better sales ahead.

Summarizing, during a quiet week in August we cannot make too much of the action and reaction of many of the top retailers. However, I believe that consumers are becoming choosy about their dollars and will continue to buy what they need rather than something they can easily push off until next month or next year.

Have a great week and go buy some sneakers at my favorite sporting goods store.


Roger N. Steed

August 19, 2013


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