Wall Street this Week: Surprises in Store for Retailers


Abercrombie & Fitch
It's going to be a busy week for retailers as more than a dozen publicly traded chains offer up their latest quarterly financials.

Shopping's a popular diversion in this country, but don't assume that crowded mall parking lots are translating into blowout results for major retailers.

Saks (SKS) on Tuesday, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) on Wednesday, and Bonton Stores (BONT) and Buckle (BKE) on Thursday are all expected to post lower quarterly profits than they did during the same period a year earlier.

It's not just fashionistas on strike. Video game buffs are expected to see diehard gamer hub GameStop (GME) post a slide in net sales and profitability on Thursday.

Where are the shoppers heading? Well, proving that we may not be entirely out of these recessionary woods, many of the chains that give buyers more bang for their bucks should do well. Marshalls and TJ Maxx parent TJX (TJX) on Tuesday, PetSmart (PETM) on Wednesday, and Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Wal-Mart (WMT) on Thursday are all projected to improve on last year's profitability this week.

Shoppers are flocking to where the bargains are, and that's where investors should be headed as well.

Other Stocks Worth Watching

  • Staples (SPLS) is pounding the "easy" button on Thursday, giving the market a great glimpse at the state of office supplies. It's a pretty important report. If small businesses are ordering more toner cartridges and file cabinets -- a good sign for the state of Corporate America -- we'll see it in the Staples report.
  • Home Depot (HD) is another company to keep an eye on. The home improvement superstore chain reports on Tuesday. Just as Staples offers a great look at how small companies are doing, Home Depot's performance will show whether homeowners are starting to spruce up their digs again. There's plenty to glean from orange aprons.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop, Staples, and The Buckle. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Staples, The Buckle, The Home Depot, and PetSmart. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on GameStop.

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You get what you pay for - better quality purchases cost more, but last longer, and are more thoughfully planned out as part of your budget. Bargain shoppers are bored shoppers - they shop for the thrill of the purchase - whether they need it or not. They are satisfied with lesser quality, as long as they can buy more, and more, and more with whatever disposable income - and free time - that they have. And this is not entirely a recession issue, because obsessive shoppers will always be in debt. This is unfortunately one of America's favorite pastimes. No wonder we continue to fall in world education ranking every year; we are currently average to below-average in basic skills compared to other countries. Great job parents. Let's go to the mall!

August 14 2012 at 4:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not Obama's fault, it's yours for voting him in. WALL STREET is the biggest legal crime lords in history and since the Government is in it with them covering their own " stuffing the pockets ", we're screwed... WE NEED HELP FROM CHINA, because China owns 60% of the US anyway..

August 13 2012 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If retail sales are good it will be great and capitalism at work but if retail sales are disappointing it will be all Obama's fault. wait and see.

August 13 2012 at 10:11 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

PURE FAILED OBAMA said everything was going great. His plan was working. What happen?

August 13 2012 at 6:26 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Golly, another surprise from Wall Street. The last one I recall just about sunk the U.S. economic ship. That surprise was that the folks who ran Wall Street got even richer than before, as everyone else slid beneath the waves clutching their useless pension plans and stock certificates. Suppose they can come up with something even more exciting this time?

August 13 2012 at 11:42 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Sorry to disappoint anyone, but I think Wall Street is blowing a lot of smoke. I received a mailer telling me about a special sale that was taking place last night. So my family all went, the store offered a drawing and passed out some nice gifts to the people who's tickets were called. The problem was that. the drawings, the sales prices, did not draw a lot of consumer's to the store, and the ones that did come, left within 20 minutes of arriving, without purchasing anything. Why, you ask? The possible consumers saw, made in Tiwan, China, Mexico, on the products and they refused to buy anything. Finally people are getting smart.

August 13 2012 at 9:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Going to be some real surpises if the job market doesn't improve for us older unemployed right you Wall St Bozos?

August 13 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply