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Back-to-School ‘Buys’ for Investors: Analyst

Woman shopping for clothes
Reza Estakhrian | Stone | Getty Images
Woman shopping for clothes

As U.S. retailers head into the crucial back-to-school season, one analyst shared some of her top picks and argued that retailers’ past momentum could augur future strength.

“But I think for back to school, domestic retailers and the names that have done well, like the off pricers, like Target, like Nordstrom, should continue to do well in the back-to-school season,” said Adrianne Shapira, a senior retail analyst at Goldman Sachs.

While July typically accounts for only about 30 percent of the quarter’s sales, Shapira thinks it is an encouraging sign that most retailers ended the second quarter with clean inventories heading into the back-to-school season.

Beating analysts’ estimates, same-store sales rose 4.6 percent after discounts, and increased back-to-school promotions drew U.S. shoppers to dig into their wallets despite economic concerns.

Some of July’s sales winners included Gap; Costco, which topped Wall Street’s estimates for the first time since February; American Eagle Outfittersand Victoria’s Secret parent, Limited Brands.

Aeropostaleand Abercrombie & Fitch, which typically do not issue monthly sales results, both posted disappointing results. Their shares plummeted in trading following the report.

Off-price retailers such as TJX Cos. and Ross Stores have shown “spectacular continuation of high single-digit comps” and continue to raise guidance, Shapira added.

On the higher price point side, Nordstrom is another name that has done well recently and reported same-store sales that topped forecasts on Thursday.

Since most of the retailers who report monthly comps are domestic companies, Shapira said Europe has not had much of an impact so far on the data.

“I don’t think it’s going to derail much in terms of back to school,” she said. “Clearly, the high-end retailers are going to be very focused in terms of what the fiscal cliff means — what that means in terms of taxes going forward.”

In addition to Nordstrom and Target , Shapira also has “buy” ratings on Family Dollar, Ralph Lauren, PVH, and Tiffany.

“I think Ralph Lauren is a great franchise, a great brand,” she said. “I think PVH , Tiffany are, as well.”

Although there may be volatility in these names in the near term, Shapira said they are still great buying opportunities over the next 12 months.

—By CNBC.com’s Katie Little; Reuters contributed to this report. Follow Katie Little on Twitter @katie_little.

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Disclosures:

Goldman Sachs has received compensation from Target, Costco, Ralph Lauren, Wal-Mart Stores, Nordstrom, and Tiffany. All are clients that received: non-investment banking, investment banking, non-securities services in the past 12 months.

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