Technology

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: WMT, TGT, BBY, COST and AMZN

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 23, 2020 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Walmart WMT, Target TGT, Best Buy BBY, Costco COST and Amazon AMZN.

Here are highlights from Tuesday’s Analyst Blog:

Retailers Prep for Early Start to Holiday Season Amid Pandemic

Amid heightened fears of the ongoing pandemic and resultant social distancing, retailers are gearing up for an unprecedented holiday season. No wonder, the season, which accounts for a sizeable chunk of yearly revenues, is a make or break for retailers. Evidently, retailers need to address any logistical or inventory issues and roll out strategies to provide a seamless shopping experience, whether offline or online.

To beat the COVID-19 blues, retailers are looking for an early start to the festive season with an extended promotional period to avoid rush at stores, given the health concerns. Per AlixPartners, the global consulting firm, nearly half of US consumers are likely to kick-start their shopping for the festive season before Halloween. The consulting firm now expects holiday season to span between the period October and December.

Joel Bines, global co-leader of the retail practice at AlixPartners said “The traditional November-December holiday-season definition is meaningless this year—and, I would argue, for the future as well. For years now, holiday sales have been pulled forward earlier and earlier, thanks mostly to the explosion in online shopping.” Bines added “The pandemic has accelerated what was well on its way to happening anyway.”

The consulting firm envisions an increase of 1-2.6% in retail sales on a year-over-year basis during the newly defined “October-through-December” holiday season. In the last year, sales amounted to $1.132 trillion during the aforementioned period. According to the poll conducted by AlixPartners, apparel, toys, footwear, and electronics & video games emerged as the top retail categories where consumers intend to spend the same or more this festive season.

Thus, keeping in mind consumers’ product preferences and growing inclination toward online shopping, retailers need to replenish shelves with in-demand merchandise and ramp up investments in digitization this holiday season to draw customers. The AlixPartners consumer survey also highlights that 45% of customers plan to make majority of their holiday purchases online. This reflects an increase of about 15 percentage points from last year’s survey.

It is quite apparent that retailers need to play dual in-store and online roles. In this respect, the industry players have been directing resources toward digital platforms, accelerating fleet optimization and augmenting supply chain. In fact, companies’ initiatives to expand delivery options — curbside pickup or ship-to-home orders — and contactless payment solutions have been a boon amid the pandemic. Additionally, retailers are investing in renovation, improved checkouts and mobile point-of-sale capabilities to keep stores relevant.

According to a report from CNBC, Deloitte envisions holiday sales between $1.147 trillion and $1.152 trillion, which suggests an increase of 1-1.5% during the November-January period. Meanwhile, e-commerce sales are estimated to improve 25-35% to reach $182-$196 billion, per the consultancy firm.

Retail bellwethers from Walmart to Target and from Best Buy to Costco are certainly trying all means to make the most of the upcoming season. Meanwhile, e-commerce behemoth Amazon has unveiled plans to recruit as many as 100,000 full and part-time employees to meet the surge in online demand more efficiently.

Lastly

Despite all endeavors, there is a lingering fear about how comfortable consumers will be in terms of purchasing. Well, if consumers choose to tighten purse strings, retailers have to tough it out this shopping season. However, industry experts believe that any measure undertaken by the government to stimulate demand or a breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccine may lift consumer sentiments, and in turn retailing activities.

These Stocks Are Poised to Soar Past the Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted consumer behavior dramatically, and a handful of high-tech companies have stepped up to keep America running. Right now, investors in these companies have a shot at serious profits. For example, Zoom jumped 108.5% in less than 4 months while most other stocks were sinking.

Our research shows that 5 cutting-edge stocks could skyrocket from the exponential increase in demand for “stay at home” technologies. This could be one of the biggest buying opportunities of this decade, especially for those who get in early.

See the 5 high-tech stocks now>>

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.


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