by: Wayne Duggan, Benzinga Staff Writer
It’s been a record-breaking year for holiday shopping, but the holiday spirit is helping some retail stocks much more than others. The holiday season accounts for up to 40 percent of the annual sales of some retailers, and Mastercard estimates that Americans spent more than $800 billion this shopping season.
Mastercard has said online sales got a particularly large boost this year, up 181 percent from a year ago.
A Strong Finish
The big holiday shopping numbers are welcome news to retail investors, who have spent most of 2017 suffering in the face of competition from Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 0.27%. A late-year rally has pushed the SPDR S&P Retail (ETF) XRT 0.13% back into positive territory with a 2.8 percent gain on the year, but the sector has still severely lagged the S&P 500’s 19.8 percent year-to-date gain.
Many popular retailers experienced a bit of a relief rally in December as it became clear that Amazon can’t single-handedly take down the entire sector.
Here’s a look at several retailers finishing 2017 on a high note by making big gains since the beginning of Thanksgiving week:
- Barnes & Noble Education Inc BNED 0.6% is up 47.3 percent.
- Finish Line Inc FINL 3.17% is up 40.4 percent.
- Ingles Markets, Incorporated IMKTA 0.28% is up 43.8 percent.
- J. Jill Inc JILL 0.26% is up 39.1 percent.
- Blue Apron Holdings Inc APRN 2.02% is up 36.7 percent.
- Tailored Brands Inc TLRD 0.36% is up 38.7 percent.
- SUPERVALU INC. SVU 0.37% is up 32.2 percent.
- Express, Inc. EXPR 0.84% is up 36.1 percent.
In addition to the companies mentioned above, Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali said on CNBC this week that Amazon, Ulta Beauty Inc ULTA 0.66%, Five Below Inc FIVE 0.28%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT 0.14% and Starbucks Corporation SBUX 0.79% were all big winners this holiday season.
But not the entire retail sector participated in the holiday cheer. Here’s a look at a handful of some of the worst retail performances since Thanksgiving week:
- Zagg Inc ZAGG 0.75% is down 12.3 percent.
- Barnes & Noble, Inc. BKS is down 8.5 percent.
- RH RH 0.13% is down 8.6 percent.
Pier 1 Imports Inc PIR is down 5.9 percent.
Kodali said this holiday season was “make or break” for struggling department stores like Sears Holdings Corp SHLD 0.54% and J C Penney Company Inc JCP 0.31%. The future (or lack thereof) of these companies may depend on the numbers that they report for the fourth quarter.
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