Nike is one of the retail stocks that has had a very good year, and it may be about to get even better. Goldman Sachs has just jumped on the Nike bandwagon, saying that the stock is going to keep on rising. GS upgraded Nike to a Buy from Neutral and joined 25 other analysts who say the stock is a Buy. According the GS, their change in view is due to “Evidence of building pricing power, signs of operating leverage, accelerating shift to differentiated retail, sharply scaling app ecosystem, and a constructive global athletic growth backdrop”.
FINSUM: Brands are in a better position than retailers, and Nike is on the very good side of that better group.
Retail is a hard sector to invest in right now. Generally speaking it seems better to buy into broad retailers like Walmart or Target than into clothing specialists like Gap, and discount retailers seem better than traditional, but the whole industry is a battlefield. With that in mind, here is a good stock to look at: Tanger Outlets (SKT). The REIT owns 39 discount malls across the US and has a cheap valuation that seems to have suffered simply from being in the sector. The company is not financially distressed and sports a 96% occupancy rate at its malls. It is trading at about half the valuation of some other popular REITs and sports a hefty 9%+ yield. Because it is in the outlet mall space, it faces considerably less turmoil than traditional malls.
FINSUM: You probably saw a Tanger last time you were on the interstate. The fundamentals of this stock make it look like a good investment.
This time of year it would be easy for investors to start feeling rosier about retail stocks. After all, holiday sales are the best time of year for the stocks and it would be dangerously easy to think these shares might have turned the corner because of better holiday sales. However, the key to choosing these names is to understand “bifurcation”, according to Cowen research. That bifurcation is that broadline retailers like Target and Walmart are doing well, while apparel-driven retailers like Kohl’s, Gap, and Macy’s are not. For example, Target and Walmart are up 88% and 27% respectively this year while Macy’s and Gap are down 49% and 33% respectively.
FINSUM: Momentum seems like a friend in the the retail space. We expect this bifurcation to keep going, especially as consumer purse strings are likely to be tighter this holiday season.
Many media outlets love to publish stories about bargain stocks (us included). However, there is a group of shares being pushed as a “great value” that are definitely not such, at least according to UBS. The bank says that the wide group of retail shares that have been mauled lately, including Macy’s, JC Penney, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross are not a good value. These stocks have been hurt badly because of weak earnings and the general decline in brick and mortar, which falsely lead some to think they are a “buy”. “We think ongoing e-commerce disruption, plus tariffs, could cause not only these, but also many other public and private retailers to close stores in 2020 and beyond” says UBS, clearly showing that they don’t think the industry is out of the woods yet.
FINSUM: Retail has some juicy yields, but you really have to understand each stocks’ specific characteristics to know which ones to choose. This is an expert’s game. The cheat sheet is to lean towards discount retailers.
Retail is dying, right? Brick and mortar is doomed, supposedly, but that assumption creates some opportunity. The reality is that despite the broader headwinds the industry is facing, some malls and some REITs are doing well. Macerich, for instance, is a large REIT that owns several “trophy” malls amidst its 47 properties. The stock is trading at just 7x earnings, which incredibly cheap for a REIT. Apartment REITs, for instance, are trading at 20x. Its dividend cover ratio is fairly tight, but its overall model looks solid and it is yielding 10.9%.
FINSUM: There is a lot of opportunity in retail stocks, but you need to know where to look, and it takes quite an understanding of the space to sift through the options. Macerich looks solid.