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Retail stocks to watch after February’s larger-than-expected sales decline

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Retail sales in February slid more than expected.

The Commerce Department said they dropped 3% versus the 0.5% loss economists anticipated. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) closed down 2% on Tuesday, reflecting the decline.

Winter appeared to be a contributor, but with an approaching economic reopening, stimulus and spring weather, retail may bounce back, TradingAnalysis.com founder Todd Gordon told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Tuesday.

“It was set from a high-water mark from the prior reading,” he said of February’s larger-than-expected drop. “Everything that I’ve read from economists says it doesn’t seem to be long lasting. I think we’re still in a strong market.”

Gordon noted that consumers are putting their health first, driven by Covid-19 — which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found disproportionately affects Americans who are overweight and obese — and brought up Garmin as a potential contender for a fitness play.

“I think there’s this new norm of more health-conscious outdoor activities. They’re well positioned. They do boats, they do outdoor recreation, they do biking,” he said of the wearable technology maker.

Gordon also highlighted the success of other companies that use Garmin products.

“There’s several boating companies,” he said. “Malibu and Thor [reported] record earnings, and those Garmin products are located in the products.”

Gina Sanchez, founder and CEO of Chantico Global, said analysts always expected higher retail growth in the spring than the winter.

When it came to the reopening, Sanchez was focused on stocks of companies offering various consumer services.

“There’s still a lot of pent-up demand for services right now,” Sanchez, also chief market strategist at Lido Advisors, said in the same “Trading Nation” interview.

“[People] just haven’t been able to go out. Gyms, for example, are reopening for the first time here in Los Angeles and across the nation. As that reopening happens, we’ve actually been seeing the spending in the goods names. We should see some catch-up in the service names.”

Beyond the growth from reopening, TradingAnalysis.com’s Gordon saw more room to run for stocks.

“I think we’re in an environment that even transcends the reopening trade,” he said. “We’re in the next tech bull market. I think Covid accelerated the path. … I think people are understating the strength of the bull market that we’re in.”

Sanchez also expressed a positive outlook for the market, highlighting consumers’ saving rates.

“I’m more bullish than normal, let’s put it that way,” the CEO said. “The savings rate really went up during the pandemic because so many things were closed. And that pent-up demand … just to go out and interact and socialize, that is going to be pretty impressive, the level of spending that we’ll see in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Disclosure: Gordon owns shares of Garmin.

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