Market Overview

Retailers Hoping for a Black Friday Miracle (BBY, JCP, RSH, SHLD)

Retailers Hoping for a Black Friday Miracle BBY, JCP, RSH, SHLD

A number of retailers have struggled in 2012, most notably Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), JCPenney (NYSE: JCP), RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) and Sears Holdings (NYSE: SHLD). All have seen their stocks fall notably.

However, given their vulnerable states, modest successes this holiday season might result in sizable gains. On the other hand, more disappointment could push these companies closer to the edge.

Best Buy

Shares of this consumer electronics retailer are down about 48 percent year-to-date, and hit a new a multiyear low today after it posted a quarterly loss. The Richfield, Minnesota-based company hopes to take advantage of so-called "showroomers"; that is, people who come into stores to browse, but go home and order items online. Best Buy's hope is that low prices will encourage the additional showroomers that come in during the holiday shopping season to buy before they leave the store.

Best Buy's forward earnings multiple is much less than the industry average price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. But both the long-term earnings per share (EPS) growth forecast and the return on equity are in negative territory. The dividend yield is about 4.9 percent, but shares sold short are nearly 11 percent of the float. Still, one of the 22 analysts surveyed by Thomson/First Call who follow the stock rates it at Strong Buy, though nearly all the rest recommend holding shares. However, their mean price target, or where they expect the stock to go, is now more than 28 percent higher than the current share price. The stock has underperformed major competitors (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) over the past six months.

J.C. Penney

This Plano, Texas- based department store operator's shares are about 50 percent lower year-to-date. The share price reached a multiyear low late last week, about a week after the company reported a net loss for the third quarter. Stores within stores is one focus of J.C. Penney's holiday efforts, with areas set aside to feature certain well-known brands, such as Levi's, Liz Claiborne and Izod.

The forward earnings multiple is greater than the industry average P/E ratio. The return on equity is in negative territory, but the long-term EPS growth forecast is nearly 20 percent. Still, short interest is more than 30 percent of the float, requiring 12 days to cover. Five analysts surveyed recommend buying shares, but another 16 do not. Though the mean price target represents about 20 percent potential upside, the share price was higher than that earlier this month. Over the past six months, the stock has underperformed the likes of Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) and Macy's (NYSE: M).

Radio Shack

This consumer electronics company saw its share price dwindle by about 80 percent since the beginning of the year. RadioShack too hit a 52-week low today, despite a newly aggressive pricing strategies for the holidays. It is offering $10 in store coupons with every $50 in purchases, and free ground shipping is part of the program. The company also is offering deals on inexpensive prepaid cellular phones.

The company is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and here again the return on equity is in negative territory. But the PEG ratio is less than the industry average. RadioShack suspended its quarterly dividend in July. Short interest is more than 37 percent of the float, though that is the lowest it has been since May. Most of the 21 analysts polled recommend holding shares. The mean price target is about 21 percent higher than the current share price, but shares were trading for more than that in October. The stock has underperformed Best Buy and hhgregg (NYSE: HGG) over the past six months.

Sears Holding

Shares of the parent company of both the Kmart and Sears chains are up more than 56 percent year to date, despite tumbling more than 18 percent late last week after the company posted a wider-than-expected net loss. The new strategy has the company redefining regular customers as "members" and the introduction of "Shop Your Way" pricing. It is reminiscent of the model used by retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST).

Sears has a long-term EPS growth forecast of about 10 percent and a negative return on equity. The operating margin is also in the red. Short interest generally has been falling since the beginning of the year and now is less than 10 percent of the float. But four of the five analysts surveyed rate the stock at Underperform. The share price is far above the mean price target, even after the recent pull back. Over the past six months, the stock has underperformed Costco, Target (NYSE: TGT) and Walmart.

Posted-In: best buy Costco HHGregg jcpenneyLong Ideas Short Ideas Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga


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