Shoppers, enticed by heavy discounts and armed with rebate checks, spent freely in June, helping to lift retailers' sales.
The nation's retailers on Thursday reported a better-than-expected June gain of 4.3 percent, with discounter Wal-Mart accounting for the majority of those increases.
Wholesale club operators BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco were also among the best performers. Some rebate money made its way to clothing stores, like Children's Place, though sales generally remained sluggish at mall-based clothing stores, including Limited Brands and Gap
So, is retail really all that bad? It seems that's a matter of opinion. Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz and Associates says, “Sales would have been lousy without those rebate checks and stocks got what they deserved.”
There’s no denying that consumers are still confronting high gas and food prices, as well as slumping housing market and tighter credit. But Davidowitz seems a little dramatic.
CNBC’s Margaret Brennan sees it a little differently, “Promotions are getting people in the stores, she says. There are companies in the right place in a bad time.”
If you’re looking for a trade you might want to check out TJ Maxx . “They feast where the other guys screw up,” Jon Najarian tells us .
In other words they buy merchandise that other retailers couldn’t move and sell it at a heavy discount. “These guys are the play in the space, but I frankly I wouldn’t touch any retailer right now.”
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Trader disclosure: On July 10, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Macke Owns (MSFT), (USO), (INTC), (WMT); Najarian Owns (AAPL), (CHK), (MAR), (NOK), (TSO), (XTO), (XLF); Najarian Owns (FNM) And (FNM) Puts; Najarian Owns (YHOO) Calls, (RIMM) Calls, (SLB) Calls, (CSCO) Calls; GE Is The Parent Company Of CNBC; NBC Universal Is The Parent Company Of CNBC; Finerman Owns (GS); Finerman's Firm Owns (DVA), (GE), (MSFT), (NOK), (SUN), (TSO), (VLO); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C) And (C) Leaps; Finerman's Firm Owns (PLCE) Calls, (TGT) Calls, (HUN) Calls.; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IJR), (MDY), (SPY), (IWM); Finerman's Firm Is Long SPX Index Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BIG)