The focus on the weekend often ignores macro trends – typical – but those macro trends are inescapable throughout the holiday spending season and 2012.
And the big macro trend is the erosion of the middle tier retailer. These “biggest losers” have been on a downside for a while and the trend accelerated during the recession. Analysts assume a decent spending season overall will push up some companies in that middle. To use expert language I hope you understand, simply ain’t gonna happen.
As it turns out, The New Frugal American consumer is spending more – but on things for not sold in bulk at middle tier retailers, such as electronics, restaurants, and travel. This was borne out by data from a recent survey by ChangeWave Research (part of the 451 Group) showed consumers planning to spend little more in the coming 90 days compared to the past ninety days at these stores – when they should, if bullish analysts are correct, be spending a lot more given projections for a decent holiday spending season.
This also makes sense – as consumers concentrate their spending money, they put it to work on great brands, things to make the home a more central place for entertainment, and at really inexpensive places to shop such as outlet malls, Costco (COST) and Amazon (AMZN).
Who do I see as the potential biggest losers?
- Sears (SHLD) – a loser for more than five years, it has held up due to ridiculous assumptions about their real estate and vain hope in their CEO.
- Kohls (KSS): In the ChangeWave survey Kohls did poorly – and they are more and more competing with rock bottom discounters.
- JC Penny (JCP): Longer term, the company may do all right because of their new CEO, the man who built the Apple retail stores from scratch, but I believe they will have a disappointing holiday season.
- Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF): NO survey data here, my own store visits and analysis. Way too expensive for teens with no jobs and no money and parents buying them one big present such as an Apple iTouch or an Amazon Kindle Fire.
Recently I wrote about the great success Amazon was going to have and last week I wrote that the pre-eminent retailer in the world that would do well this holiday season was Apple. That was before I received the ChangeWave survey results. I now feel even more strongly about these two choices – the survey results showed Amazon and Apple to be overpowering winners this shopping season, even more than I expected, with more than 40% of respondents saying they will shop at AMZN for home entertainment products this season.
I find the adds I have seen for Black Friday a bit distasteful given so many American are out of work, near the poverty line or under it. I sense – I cannot prove – many Americans agree. The money spent this season is going to be more targeted than ever – and the biggest losers are traditional, middle tier department stores.
How would you like to turn every Friday into an “Extra Pay Day”?
I’ve been trading weekly options for several years now . . . specifically selling weekly options for cash profits every Friday. And have invited a select few investors to join me in this extra paycheck every week. You can join me too.
I’ve just put together a short video that reveals exactly how you can grab an “Extra Pay Day” every Friday. You can view this video here.