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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Target, Dave & Buster's, Children's Place, Burlington Stores and Ross Stores

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –October 12, 2018 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Target Corp. (TGT - Free Report) , Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. (PLAY - Free Report) , The Children's Place, Inc. (PLCE - Free Report) , Burlington Stores, Inc. (BURL - Free Report) and Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST - Free Report) .

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

Halloween Spending Projected to Touch $9B in 2018: 5 Picks

Americans are evidently gearing up to make 2018’s Halloween more special than the ones witnessed over the past few years. This year’s Halloween spending is now projected to touch as much as $9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This would be the second-biggest spend since the Great Recession.

After the NRF expected holiday retail sales to increase significantly this year after last year’s record gains, strong projections for this Halloween season also added to the positive sentiment. In this context, choosing stocks from this space seems to be a wise investment choice ahead of Halloween.

Halloween Spending: Fewer Spooks, More Fun

The NRF currently expects Americans to spend $9 billion or $86.79 per person on Halloween this year, higher than the year-ago level of $86.13 a person. Shoppers are expected to spend about $3.2 billion on costumes, $2.6 billion on candy, $2.7 billion on decorations and $400 million on greeting cards.

Per the NRF survey, shoppers are targeting discount, specialty and department stores for their Halloween purchases. Of the total Halloween purchases, 44.6% is done in discount stores, 34.9% in specialty stores and 24.7% in department stores. In fact this time, men are participating more in spending, according to NRF.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said: “The economy is good and consumer confidence is high, so families are ready to spend on Halloween this year.” Shay added that this Halloween season retailers are piling up new supplies for children and adults “with their favorite decorations, candy and costumes.”

Holiday Season to Boost Retail Sales

Retail sales during the last two months of 2017 climbed 5.5% to reach $691.9 billion, per the NRF. Unlike last year, when retail sales witnessed its best growth since the Great Recession, holiday sales are projected to advance between 4.3% and 4.8% in 2018, settling at about $720.9 billion.

Although this year’s retail growth forecast is not as high as the 2017 performance, an increase between 4.3% and 4.8% is considerably higher than the five-year average of 3.9%. Holiday sales are important for retailers with some even making around 40% of its annual sales in the November-December period. NRF President Matthew Shay said that “healthy economy and strong consumer confidence” will facilitate growth even this year like 2017.

On the earnings front, in the Zacks Retail And Wholesale sector, eight companies have already reported in the third-quarter reporting cycle. Of these eight, five posted an earnings beat, while two met their consensus estimate.

5 Stocks to Buy

As mentioned earlier, retailers are clearly the primary gainers from this impressive Halloween and upcoming holiday sales outlook. Hence, investing in specific stocks from this domain looks to be profitable right now.

Here, we have selected five stocks that are that are expected to gain significantly from robust Halloween sales. However, picking winning stocks may prove difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows one to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM score. Moreover, these stocks also carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Target Corp. is a general merchandise retailer in the United States. For Halloween 2018, discount stores have started a “Happy Halloween” segment and are offering Halloween costumes and accessories at a considerable discount.

The company is based in Minneapolis, MN, and has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of A. It has expected earnings growth of 14.28% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.9% over the last 60 days.

Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. is an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues for adults and families. Dave & Buster's will host the “House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn” arcade game in all of its locations in the United States this month.

The company is based in Dallas, TX, and has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of A. It has expected earnings growth of 5.64% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 0.7% over the last 60 days.

The Children's Place, Inc. is a children's specialty apparel retailer and sells apparel, accessories, footwear, and other items for children. The company’s “Halloween Shop” section is offering more than 30 different items at discounted prices. 

The company is based in Secaucus, NJ, and has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of A. It has expected earnings growth of 3.29% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.9% over the last 60 days.

Burlington Stores, Inc. is a retailer of branded apparel products in the United States and offers fashion-focused merchandise. For Halloween costumes, the company offers more than 50 different products with discounts of up to 50%.

The company is based in Burlington, NJ, and has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of B. It has expected earnings growth of 42.31% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 3.8% over the last 60 days.

Ross Stores, Inc. is an operator of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores under the Ross Dress for Less and dd's DISCOUNTS brands in the United States. Moreover, Ross’s “#yesforless” movement is grabbing eyeballs this Halloween month.

The company is based in Dublin, CA, and has a Zacks Rank #2 and VGM Score of B. It has expected earnings growth of 23.28% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.7% over the last 60 days.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.



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