Sozzi: Do Your Homework Early
Written by: Brian Sozzi
Tickers in this article:
DG FL LOGI
Last year, back-to-school sales were worse than market expectations due to debt-ceiling concerns punching consumers in the head, 2012 should be better. Retailers have begun to bring in merchandise for "back to college" already, specifically promoting it on their websites. This year, instead of occurring at the last minute, sales may be a little bit more spread out and scared retailers may start by offering the lowest prices possible. However, investors should not let that fool them into thinking the season will be gangbusters. Consumer confidence is on a downtrend and, as the last employment report showed, hourly wage growth is weak. Moreover, I believe the May and June same-store sales reports from retailers showed consumers are saving their gas savings instead of hitting the malls hard as some economists had pontificated.
So, in a competitive environment laced with uncertainty, how do investors win? I am using the following three criteria to plan a winning portfolio, which includes three stocks and why I like them -- notice that none of them are not teen apparel retailers.
Technology: The company must have exposure to the Apple (AAPL) ecosystem with interesting products.
Fashion: The company must be doing anything but selling basic denim, which is always one step away from the markdown pile.
Low income: The company must be offering back-to-school items for low-income consumers - and be under Wall Street's radar (as this creates a surprise factor on back-to-school earnings).