Citi Analyst Turns Bullish On Two Dept. Stores

Wednesday, 4 Mar 2009 | 6:03 PM ET

Investors are holding their breath ahead of same-store sales figures, most of which are due Thursday. What’s the trade?

Though sales may be slightly better than they were in January, investors are bracing for a stormy set of numbers from a wide range of stores including Macy's, The Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.

"The macro headwinds that consumers and retailers are facing right now are so stiff that we feel there are still more negative comps to come as we progress through the first half of this year," says Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins.

For February, apparel retailers are expected to post an 8.6 percent same-store sales decline, while department stores face a 10.1 percent drop, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.

Although those numbers reflect the overall consensus at least one analyst takes a much more optimistic view. We wanted to hear more so we invited Citigroup retail analyst Deborah Weinswig to be our guest on Fast Money.

February Retail Sales Preview
The Fast Money traders and Deborah Weinswig, a retail analyst at Citigroup, look ahead to February retail sales data.

Weinswig, who’s one of the most followed analysts on the Street, says she thinks some department stores will likely report stronger-than-expected results.

She tells us, “Since November we’ve seen almost a bottoming in retail. December was better than November, then January was better than December and February should be better yet. It seems that things have stabilized, somewhat.”

As a result one stock to watch is Nordstrom . “While their sales haven’t been phenomenal their sales have outperformed the rest of the group.”

She also says JC Penney looks poised to perform well for the rest of 2009 because they could benefit from so many other stores closing in the malls where they’re anchored.

And it's worth noting Weinswig has weather on her side. Mild temperatures and new spring merchandise in stores may have helped sales a bit in February. It was the warmest February since 2005, according to weather tracking firm Planalytics

While February is usually not a key month for retail analysis given fewer days and its place between the post-holiday and early spring shopping periods, this year the month could show how willing shoppers are to spend even without the motivation of gift-giving.

Got something to to say? Send us an e-mail at fastmoney-web@cnbc.com and your comment might be posted on the Rapid Recap. If you'd prefer to make a comment but not have it published on our website send your e-mail to fastmoney@cnbc.com.

Trader disclosure: On Mar. 4th, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (MS), (TM), (AAPL), (MOS); Macke Owns (GE) Puts; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BX), (EEM), (FCX), (MON), (RIG), (BAC), (FXI); Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Finerman's Firm Owns (DNA) & (DNA) Calls; Finerman's Firm Owns (AEO), (MSFT), (PBR), (RIG); Finerman's Firm Owns (BAC) Preferred, (WFC) Preferred; Finerman's Firm Is Short (BAC), (BBT), (VNO), (IYR), (IJR), (IWM), (MDY), (SPY), (USO)

For Deborah Weinswig:
Citigroup Owns (SKS)
Citigroup Owns (TGT)
Citigroup Has Acted As Manager Of A Public Offering Of (WMT)
Citigroup Has Received Compensation From (KSS)
Citigroup Has Received Compensation From (SKS)
Citigroup Has Received Compensation From (TGT)
Citigroup Has Received Compensation From (WMT)
Citigroup Has Received Compensation From (JCP)
Citigroup Has Had (WMT) As An Investment Client
Citigroup Has Has (KSS) As An Investment Client
Citigroup has had (JCP) as client
Citigroup has received compensation from (JCP)

  Price   Change %Change


Contact Fast Money

  • Showtimes

    Halftime Report - Weekdays 12p ET
    Fast Money - Weekdays 5p ET
  • Melissa Lee is the host of CNBC's “Fast Money” and “Options Action.”

  • Scott Wapner is host of the "Fast Money Halftime Report," which airs weekdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. ET.

  • Guy Adami is a contributor on CNBC's "Fast Money." He also is managing director of stockMONSTER.com.

  • Najarian, the "Pit Boss," is cofounder of optionMONSTER.com, a news site for options traders.

  • Finerman is president of Metropolitan Capital Advisors, Inc., a company she co-founded.

  • Founder of EmergingMoney.com

  • Chief Market Strategist for Virtus Investment Partners & CNBC Contributor

Halftime Report