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Holiday Shopping Preview & Top Retail Stocks to Buy Now

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On today’s episode of the Zacks Friday Finish Line, Associate Stock Strategist Ryan McQueeney and Editor Maddy Johnson preview the holiday shopping season by looking at the latest consumer spending projections, discussing new in-store and online customer experiences, and selecting retail stocks to buy now.

Make sure to subscribe and leave the show a rating on Apple Podcasts!

The National Retail Federation predicts that total holiday retail sales in November and December—excluding autos, has, and restaurants—will reach $717.5 billion to $720.9 billion. This would represent growth of 4.3% to 4.8% from last year’s total, outpacing the five-year average growth 3.9%.

Consumer confidence is high, unemployment is low, and wages are finally ticking higher. This is the perfect cocktail of factors needed to deliver a historic holiday shopping season.

Plus, shoppers hitting stores over the next two months will discover a variety of new consumer experiences. For instance, Facebook (FB - Free Report) just launched a series of pop-up kiosks in Macy’s (M - Free Report) stores that feature popular online brands like Bespoke Post and Love Your Melon. Other retailers have pledged to use new things such as mobile PoS systems and in-store app features.

But it is not all about innovation this year, as even Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) is taking a page out of the traditional retail playbook and sending out its first ever printed holiday toy catalog. The e-commerce behemoth will battle familiar foes to snag some of the old Toys “R” Us business, including the likes of Best Buy (BBY - Free Report) and Walmart (WMT - Free Report) .

On the first half of today’s episode, Maddy and Ryan discuss these stories and consider a number of retail trends and concepts ahead of the holiday shopping season. Later, the hosts pick two retail stocks that warrant consideration with these ideas in mind: Target (TGT - Free Report) and Kohl’s (KSS - Free Report) .

Both of these retailers hold Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) designations right now, and their earnings trends and valuations look attractive. Moreover, Target and Kohl’s have invested in fresh concepts and positioned themselves expertly to stick out from the rest this holiday season.

Maddy and Ryan explain to investors not only what makes these stocks fundamentally sound, but also what makes both retailers subjectively impressive in terms of shopping experiences and deals. Make sure to check out the show to hear more!

If you feel that we missed something, or if you want us to cover a different story, shoot us an email at Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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