Funny Business with Jane Wells

Vampires 'Played Out,' but Teens Less Ashamed of Coldwater Creek

Abercrombie & Fitch
Paul Sakuma

Now that September retail numbers are behind us, Brian Tunick at J.P. Morgan is looking at October, and beyond.

For one thing, he says 45 percent of teenagers say the whole vampire thing is "getting a little played out". Well, sort of. More on that in a moment.

Tunick expects overall same store sales in October to fall 4.3 percent, but store by store, projections vary widely. Aeropostale is expected to continue rocketing upward, with same store sales projected to increase between 12 and 14 percent.  TJX and Ross are also expected to improve about six percent. Losers are the familiar names: Abercrombie & Fitch (projected to fall 17 to 19 percent), Pacific Sunwear (projected down 21 to 23 percent), Talbots (projected down 17 to 19 percent), and Tiffany (projected down 15 to 17 percent).

  • Retailers Trying to Kick The Discount Habit

As for how investors are reacting to this week's positive news, Tunick says they "appear to be chasing beta as appetite for risk (i.e., the biggest margin recovery stories) is now increasing." He says specialty retail stocks in the Russell 2000 are up 82 percent on average this year, while the index is up 13 percent. Specialty retailers in the S&P 500 are up 52 percent year to date, handily beating the index, and the numbers are even better in the S&P 400: "Specialty retailers are up 126% while the index is up 20%."

Then Tunick throws in some entertainment value, with "Tunick's Top Ten Takeaways from OUR Teen Survey".

They include:

Sixty-five percent of teens surveyed can't understand why their allowances have been cut 50 percent...and YET mom keeps coming home with bags full of candles, shower gels and anti-bac soap form Bath & Body Works .

Seventy-four percent of teens surveyed still believe that Aeropostale's  midteen EBIT margins have more room to expand next year than Abercrombie & Fitch's  mid-single-digit EBIT margins.

Eighty-two percent are less embarrassed to be seen with their grandmother wearing Coldwater Creek apparel this year versus last year.

Regarding sales of "Twilight" paraphernalia at Hot Topic , 45 percent of teens said that this vampire thing is "getting a little played out."

Ninety-eight percent of teens were Twittering, updating their Facebook page, and downloading games onto their iPhones while taking the survey "and can't believe that the investment community would actually think about listening to them when making investment decisions."

Wow! Really?

Oh, wait, what is this? An asterisk! "Please note that no actual teens were surveyed in our survey!!" Tunick also reports that his monthly poker game is coming up on Tuesday "so let me know if you're interested".

Who says analysts are boring?

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