The retail and restaurant winners and losers from the holiday season in the United States have been revealed in analysis we have published on Eikon and Lipper Alpha Insight.
The all-important holiday period for U.S. retailers mimicked Goldilocks — not too hot, not too cold. This was confirmed by our Same Store Sales (SSS) Index, which is pointing to 1.8 percent growth for Q4 2017.
While that’s stronger than the previous year’s 0.8 percent result, it’s still below the 3 percent healthy mark, suggesting that spending was modest.
- Our consumer confidence index suggests consumers are feeling good about their economic situation — and spending their discretionary income.
- The average holiday discount wasn’t much different than the average discount offered in previous months.
- However, what did change was an increase of 42 percent in the number of emails sent out by retailers during the season, as we discovered in collaboration with StyleSage Co.
- Our Retail and Restaurant Index Q4 earnings are expected to rise 5.7 percent – below the 10.1 percent growth seen in Q4 2016.
- The internet sales sector continues to have the highest earnings growth rate (13.9 percent) of any sector.
- On the other hand, the leisure products sector has the lowest growth rate (-18.9 percent) of any sector.
- Our Restaurant Same Store Sales Index is looking at a 2.4 percent Q4 2017 growth, up from the 1.9 percent SSS estimate at the beginning of November.
- All restaurant sectors are doing better than last year. The quick-service sector is on top with a robust 3 percent SSS estimate – above last year’s 1 percent SSS result.
- For Q4 2017, there have been 58 retail negative EPS pre-announcements, compared to 23 positive.
Holiday season earnings
When looking at the earnings growth rates for the holiday season for the 219 retailers we tracked, the internet sector continues to have the highest earnings growth rate (14.1 percent) of any sector.
Five of the nine retailers in the sector are anticipated to see higher earnings than a year ago. Netflix has already reported a 173.3 percent jump in earnings per share (EPS), while Nutrisystem (44.3 percent) has the highest EPS growth estimate.
Amazon is also on track to see a 19.8 percent jump in earnings.
On the other hand, the leisure products sector has the lowest growth rate (-21.7 percent) of any sector. Four of the seven retailers in the sector are expected to see earnings declines compared to Q4 2016, led by Vista Outdoor, Inc. (-90.8 percent) and Mattel, Inc. (-67.2 percent).
In addition to the 58 Q4 negative pre-announcements and 23 positive for EPS, retailers posted 41 negative and 31 positive revenue forecasts.
The bulk of the negative guidance (40 percent) came from the apparel sector.
Retailers offered the traditional promotions, and shipping deals to lure shoppers.
Still, our consumer confidence index suggests consumers are feeling good about their economic situation, and better about extending themselves and spending their discretionary income.
Same Store Sales — Retail
Analysts we polled are becoming more bullish on consumer spending as retailers get ready to report their earnings results for the holiday season.
In fact, analysts have raised their Q4 same store sales outlook for several retailers.
As a result, our Same Store Sales Index is now looking at a 1.8 percent Q4 2017 growth, up from the 1.5 percent SSS estimate at the beginning of November.
The discounters are doing much better than last year, with a 2.9 percent SSS estimate vs. 1.4 percent last year.
Millennials respect Aerie’s no-Photoshop marketing policy, and as a result it has a strong cult following. The teen retailer has the strongest SSS estimate in our retail universe at 20.3 percent.
Similarly, teen retailer Zumiez was a favorite this past holiday season with a 6.4 percent SSS, followed by shoe retailer Journeys Group, and Urban Outfitter’s Free People division, with SSS estimates of 6.4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.
Still, Francesca’s Holdings has the weakest SSS estimate for the holiday season at -13.6 percent.
Like other mall stores, Build-A-Bear sales have been hurting from weak mall traffic, and it has a -7.8 percent SSS estimate.
Meanwhile, Chico’s and Guess fashion have been out of favor for some years now, and have a -7.3 percent and a -7 percent SSS respectively.
Restaurant Same Store Sales
The improvement in consumer sentiment has also led analysts to raise their Q4 same store sales outlook for several restaurants.
As a result, our Restaurant SSS Index is now looking at 2.4 percent Q4 2017 growth – up from the 1.9 percent SSS estimate at the beginning of November.
All sectors are doing better than last year. The quick sector is on top with a robust 3 percent SSS estimate – above last year’s 1 percent SSS result.
Yum China continues to outperform its U.S. business with estimates of 3.5 percent and 2.3 percent SSS.
Its China division was its strongest with a 6 percent SSS, above its 2.1 percent final estimate.
Potbelly has been hit by weak sales, and operating efficiency has been hurting.
E-commerce sales continue to grow, but its transactions still make up only a fraction of total retail sales; 9.1 percent as of the end of the third quarter of 2017, compared to 4.2 percent in early 2010.
As a result, the internet & catalog retail sector has the strongest estimated Q4 2017 earnings growth rate at 13.9 percent.
Although retailers dialed up the average discount after Black Friday, it wasn’t much more than the average discount offered from previous months.
What’s more, the average U.S. discount remained around 40 percent within the 33 percent – 45 percent global average discount.
However, what did change is the frequency with which retailers engaged in promotional messaging, as we discovered in a collaboration with StyleSage Co., which analyzes retailers, brands, online trends and products across the globe.
StyleSage Co. saw an increase of 42 percent in the number of emails being sent out, and a 12 percent increase in the number of active promotions during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday holidays.