The holiday spending frenzy is well underway as some of the biggest shopping days of the year, including Black Friday…
Historically, the retail industry, a subset of the consumer discretionary sector, experiences an upswing during the winter months as holiday sales alone contribute 19% to yearly sales and Q4 earnings are generally released within the beginning of Q1. Highlighted in red is the November through February performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index; recession years aside, this upward trend usually holds.
In 2015, retail sales are expected to grow year over year by 3.7% and though this is a slight decrease from 2014’s 4.1% increase, it is still substantially above the 2.5% ten-year average. The U.S. employment rate is at a recent high of 94.8% however the participation rate has decreased to 62.4%, meaning that although the workforce appears to be buzzing along, some previous members of the workforce may be choosing to opt-out of their job searches and thus are less likely to take out their AMEX cards.
Though U.S. economic stats may be a mixed (gift) basket, currently the P/E ratio of the referenced retail index is at 22.37, down almost 30% year over year, making the retail industry seem attractive, especially for this time of year. Additionally, consumer confidence is currently at 97.6, modestly above the 93.8 level seen one year ago, leaving the U.S. consumer poised to shop ’til they drop.
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