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Retail expert Dana Telsey breaks down the holiday season’s potential winners and losers

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This holiday season, Telsey Advisory Group CEO Dana Telsey expects more in-store shoppers and a movement away from spending on home improvement to clothing and beauty as consumers exit the pandemic mindset. But not all retail companies are on equal footing. “I think this holiday season’s gonna be about in-person shopping,” Telsey said on “Squawk Box” Friday morning. “They’re opening later, they’re opening at 6 a.m., we have more promotions this year than we had last year. It’s a world of difference, and I’m looking to see what the promotional triggers are as we go forward.” Retailers were considered pandemic winners as consumers shifted stimulus-boosted spending away from services towards goods. But those trends have boomeranged back this year, as consumers look once again to spend on experiences like travel if they’re not pulling back all together amid inflationary pressures. Given that outlook, Telsey broke down the retail stocks she sees as both winning and losing within the shifting landscape. The winners Bath & Body Works is one company that typically does well but surprised during its third quarter while other retailers struggled, she said. The retailer known for its fragrances, lotions and candles posted earlier this month double the earnings per share expected by analysts, according to a StreetAccount forecast. For the fourth quarter, Bath & Body Works expects per-share earnings between $1.45 and $1.65 compared with a StreetAccount forecast of $1.54. Bath & Body Works stock has shed 42.1% in 2022, more than the S & P 500’s 14.3% drop. “When you walk the shopping center during Black Friday, that’s where you’re gonna see some of the longest lines,” Telsey said, referring to Bath & Body Works. Among department stores, Telsey said Macy’s has “done a better job” as it improved assortment and intensity of promotions. Sales and other promotional activities have become increasingly popular among retailers trying to move gluts of inventory. Macy’s posted Nov. 17 quarterly earnings per share and revenue that beat analyst expectations . The company also upped its full-year estimate earnings outlook. Macy’s stock has fallen 10.5% since the start of the year. Ulta is a winner within cosmetics, Telsey said, with more people going to events that require make-up and better skin care. The cosmetics store chain, which has gained 8.5% in share value this year, reports third-quarter earnings next week. In the second quarter, Ulta beat expectations for earnings per share, revenue and comparable store sales. It also completed a share repurchasing, which investors typically view as a sign company management believes in its ability to raise share value going forward. The losers There are some names Telsey expects to struggle this holiday season, such as Kohl’s and Gap . “There’s work to do,” she said of these companies. Kohl’s saw revenue drop 7% in its third quarter and withdrew its guidance for the year , citing the floundering retail environment and broader economic challenges facing the department store chain. Shares have dropped 34.2% since the start of the year as the company has struggled with shifting consumer spending and its “unexpected CEO transition.” Gap beat revenue expectations in the third quarter, but executives said they were staying cautious and prudent on outlook for the holiday season due to an “uncertain” consumer and “increasingly promotional environment.” The retailer saw comparable store sales increase 1% despite analysts expecting a decrease of 3.2%. Shares have slid 16.5% compared with the start of 2022.

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