As the Christmas season approaches, traditionally marked by increased discretionary spending, retailers anticipate a much-needed boost. The consumer discretionary sector has faced considerable challenges in recent years, with many retailers depending on the festive season for over half of their annual sales.
Although post-Thanksgiving sales have evolved beyond their traditional one-day events, the closing weeks of the fourth quarter remain crucial for retailers seeking to improve their financial health. The National Retail Federation anticipates holiday spending this November and December to achieve record levels, projecting growth between 3% and 4% over 2022 to reach between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.
Deloitte’s annual Holiday Retail Survey projects that 2023 consumer spending will exceed pre-pandemic levels for the first time, with the average consumer predicted to spend $1,652 on gifts, up 14% year-over-year.
Interestingly, there is a commonly observed “Santa Claus Rally” phenomenon in the financial market during this period – a seasonal surge in volume and trading that tends to last until Christmas. LPL Financial found that since 1950, a Santa Claus rally has occurred around 79% of the time.
Year-end holiday shopping, driving sales for retailers and related businesses, can increase stock prices. Investors are generally keen on a year-end rally that boosts their portfolios, while professional traders often consider it an influential factor in determining their year-end bonuses. The occurrence of a Santa Claus rally this year could be welcomed, given the sluggish behavior of stocks since August.
Investment focus is shifting toward stocks presenting the most significant opportunities now, with some manifesting more profitability potential than others if acquired before price surges. Many investors are identifying holiday stocks to capitalize on with the holiday shopping season looming.
Given this backdrop, let us delve into an in-depth analysis of consumer discretionary stocks Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Walmart Inc. (WMT), Target Corporation (TGT), and Etsy, Inc. (ETSY) now.
As the winter holiday season draws near, e-commerce behemoth AMZN, with a market cap of over $1 trillion, is ramping into full festive gear. The Seattle-based firm hosted its recent Prime Day event on October 10 and 11, further revealing plans to enfold 250,000 additional personnel across its global operations in anticipation of the busy year-end shopping frenzy.
AMZN’s biannual Prime Days are effective levers for amplifying revenue. The July event yielded over $12 billion worth of sales – a record-breaking feat that crowned it the most successful Prime Day ever. Striving to expand the holiday shopping duration, the company has been progressively ushering its secondary Prime Day event into the fourth quarter.
The impact extends beyond just the Prime Days. The company also greatly benefits from the surge in sales during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions tied to the Thanksgiving holiday, offering substantial financial reinforcements. The company forecasted revenue between $160 billion and $167 billion for the current holiday quarter. However, analysts polled by LSEG were expecting revenue of $166.62 billion, at the higher end of AMZN’s guidance.
AMZN has restructured its delivery network in its retail operations to strategically position goods closer to customers, allowing for faster, more cost-effective order fulfillment. The enhancement of its same-day delivery services has positively influenced its profit margins by encouraging shoppers to place orders more frequently and in larger quantities.
For the fiscal fourth quarter ending December 2023, its revenue is expected to increase 11.2% year-over-year to $165.86 billion, while EPS could reach $0.76, up significantly year-over-year.
On the stock market front, shares of AMZN have appreciated over…
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