How bad were the Christmas sales? The world’s biggest retailers are about to tell us
The nation’s retailers hobbled into last year’s holiday season with too many things people didn’t want. We’ll find out in a moment how much of it they were able to get rid of and how much an avalanche of discounts cut into profits.
Results from companies like Walmart Inc. WMT,
Home Depot Inc. HD,
and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA,
will follow last year’s massive retail inventory scramble, which left retail chains sitting on clothing, electronics and toys they were struggling to sell after inflation drained demand for food and other staples. Retailers rolled out big price cuts on many non-food items to lure shoppers.
Analysts generally say that the larger the chain, the greater the benefit in this environment. This is especially true if that retailer happens to be selling groceries.
But third-quarter results for the largest big-box retailers — Walmart and Target Corp. TGT,
who both sell a lot of groceries – were mixed. Target said in November it expects same-store sales to fall in the fourth quarter. However, Walmart managed to do better at the time. And analysts still like Walmart’s ratings comparatively ahead of the results.
For more: Walmart, Target and Costco’s profits on deck as retail giants face a tough holiday season comparison
“We expect continued momentum in the grocery business to offset challenges in the general merchandise category,” analysts at Oppenheimer said in a research note about Walmart this month.
However, as MarketWatch recently reported, holiday season data from retail consumer traffic analytics firm Placer.ai was not exactly encouraging.
“The strength of 2021 made for difficult year-on-year comparisons as pent-up demand, accumulated savings and an early start prompted an unusually robust 2021 season, making assessing the success of the 2022 holiday season challenging,” Placer.ai said in a blog post.
“Visits to Target, Walmart, Costco, BJ’s Wholesale and Sam’s Club were down in October and November 2022 compared to 2021, likely reflecting comparisons to last year’s extended season,” the post continued.
Trends improved somewhat in December. But the company suggested a weaker January as pressure from higher prices continued.
“Nevertheless, traffic data seems to indicate that the economic difficulties of 2022 have started to weigh on consumers – visits in January were down for almost all supermarket chains analyzed, with the exception of Target, which appears to be continuing its winning streak in the New Year,” that’s the post.
Mark Your Calendars: Check out MarketWatch’s earnings calendar
Findings elsewhere will flesh out the story for the broader e-commerce slump and a faltering housing economy. Home Depot’s results are likely to affect consumers’ appetites for home improvement as investors retreat from the housing market amid rising interest rates. online retailer eBay Inc. EBAY,
Etsy Inc. ETSY,
Overstock.com Inc. OSTK,
and Wayfair Inc. W,
which recently announced it is shedding 10% of its workforce, reports Amazon.com Inc. AMZN,
This month saw the least profitable holiday quarter since 2014.
The consumer discretionary sector is among those leading the S&P 500 in earnings declines, according to a FactSet report released on Friday. However, Amazon is largely to blame for this sector’s declines.
This week in the result
Sixty-one S&P 500 SPX,
Companies report results during this holiday-shortened week, including two components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
according to FactSet.
Outside the major indices, struggling faux meat maker Beyond Meat Inc. BYND is struggling,
also reports how it is shedding staff and dealing with an onslaught of competition – from rivals who produce their own imitation meat and those who make the real stuff. Crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. COIN,
will post results after FTX’s demise scorched the crypto landscape, but the stock has recently moved higher amid a rally in Bitcoin BTCUSD price,
Meme-stock-era record falls: Retailers invested $1.5 billion a day in US stocks in January
Elsewhere, Moderna Inc. MRNA,
reports after mixed results from its flu shot and as the company is changing course to continue providing free COVID-19 vaccines. And results from Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. WBD,
— which oversees content from HBO, TNT and other channels — could provide more insight into the digital advertising market and streaming markets, the media giant is weighing how much to mix operations.
The calls that you can enter in your calendar
Peak Concert Demand, Peak Ticketmaster Rage: Even as smaller artists struggled with higher prices and equipment shortages last year, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. LYV,
— the concert industry gatekeeper who owns Ticketmaster and is reporting earnings Thursday — had a 2022 banner despite decades of inflation. But higher ticket demand, higher ticket prices, and Live Nation LYV’s record sales and earnings,
reaped from the concert industry’s post-lockdown comeback hasn’t come without fan frustration and scrutiny from lawmakers.
The company is reportedly facing an antitrust investigation after last year’s botched sale of Taylor Swift concert tickets and the company was questioned by lawmakers last month. Live Nation’s chief financial officer, Joe Berchtold, blamed the Swift debacle on a flood of online traffic from bots, which he said overwhelmed Ticketmaster’s technological infrastructure.
See Also: Ticketmaster Blames Bots For Blundered Sale Of Taylor Swift. Senator says it’s “incredible” and the company needs to “figure that out.”
In any case, many analysts have downplayed the prospect of the company breaking up. But analysts at Benchmark said last month that “regulatory clouds will remain” following the hearing and investigation. Executives’ sense of competition, regulation and shared demand — which has held up so far when demand for other commodities waned — could be topics of the call.
The numbers to watch
Nvidia, Crypto, Games and AI: Graphics chip manufacturer Nvidia Corp. NVDA,
— whose processors power PC games, data centers, crypto mining and AI — reports results on Wednesday. But it will report after its tech-equipment peers collapsed last year after demand for PCs, video games and other digital goods peaked during the pandemic. Christopher Rolland, analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, said in a note on Thursday he expects weaker gaming and PC demand to weigh on Nvidia’s results. But while other tech companies rush to launch the next ChatGPT, BofA analysts recently said Nvidia will be riding a wave of investments in AI.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/just-how-bad-were-holiday-sales-the-worlds-biggest-retailers-are-about-to-tell-us-fa1acf8c?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo How bad were the Christmas sales? The world’s biggest retailers are about to tell us