By the Numbers

8 Retailers that Gain During the Holidays

Hope for a much anticipated economic recovery is boosting Americans' optimism about this holiday shopping season.  

In a recent survey on retail and spending trends conducted by Deloitte, 54% of the 10,878 consumers polled, said they were more cheerful about the prospects for next year, expecting the economy to recover in 2010.  This figure represents a 93% increase from 2008 levels, when only 28% of the participants answered favorably. 

While most consumers' (66%) purchasing behavior will be focused on frugality and getting the most for the money, many others (30%) anticipate to spend more on the holiday than they expected about a month or two ago. 

An uptrend in consumer spending this holiday season will be key to many retail chains that rely

heavily in this time of year.  But as consumers remain cautious about any potential relapses, which in turn, leads them to be more conscious about their spending habits, not all retail stores may reap the benefits from an uptick in spending. 

Indeed, discount stores continue to be the top shopping destination among consumers, with nearly 6 out of 10 people (59%) anticipating to shop at value-department stores, according to Deloitte's survey.  Online shopping remains on track to capture a sizeable share of this year's shopping (42%).

Among the top items this year, gift card continue to hold first-place, while technology-related gifts, including computed and video games, continue to gain popularity.  Also, consumers seem to be more willing to spend in non-gift items, such as socialization away from home, entertaining, and home furnishing. 

Investors seeking opportunities from an increase in retail sales, may find value in analyzing trends during previous years.  As such, we conducted a stock screen of the performance of 52 prominent retail stocks during the past five years.  We looked at the percent move of these stocks from the day prior to Thanksgiving to the day before Christmas.  The result yielded 8 companies, included on the table below, with an average gain of nearly 5% or more during this period.   

Note that we decided to exclude Lululemon Athletica (LULU) and J Crew Group (JCG) as part of the list, because both companies have traded for less than five years.

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