Five retailers that won the Christmas war

By Retail FOXBusiness

Holiday season spending: A gift for retailers

Low unemployment and high consumer confidence helped deliver a gift to retailers this holiday; record high spending. Here's a look at the current climate and expectations for the rest of 2017.

While e-commerce behemoth Amazon’s dominance when it comes to attracting shoppers has caused major disruption in the retail industry, when it comes to the recent, record-setting holiday shopping season, conventional retailers were not left in the dust.

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Increased consumer confidence and spending is apparently, also positively impacting more conventional retailers, as evident from the latest increased forecasts.

While fourth quarter earnings season is just getting underway, and it will likely be a few weeks before there is an official reading into how retailers fared during the key holiday shopping season, on Monday there was a preview of what is likely to come.

A slew of retailers released updated fourth quarter guidance on Monday, as the ICR Conference kicked off. The conference will run through Jan. 10, and provides a forum for public and private company management teams, investors and analysts to exchange insights into current consumer and economic trends.

Kohl's (KSS) on Monday noted that holiday sales increased by 6.9% during the two-month holiday period and comparable sales were up 6.9%. Kohl's now expects fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) will come in at $3.98 to $4.08 versus the prior guidance of $3.60 to $3.80.

“All lines of business and all regions reported positive comp sales. As expected, growth in digital demand accelerated significantly in the holiday period from the year-to-date trend. In addition, we experienced positive sales in our stores driven by stronger traffic,” CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement.

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Lululemon (LULU) now expects fourth quarter revenue will fall in a range of $905 million to $915 million versus prior guidance of $870 million to $885 million, while the company sees fourth quarter EPS of $1.25 to $1.27 versus the prior estimate from $1.19 to $1.22. The company noted that the updated guidance does not reflect the impact of U.S. tax reform passed last month.

New York & Company (NWY) also updated its  guidance ahead of its presentation at the ICR Conference, noting that comparable store sales increased 3% for the two-month holiday period. The company continues to expect comparable store sales for the full quarter to be up in the low single-digit percentage range.

"We had a strong holiday performance that included positive comparable sales and expansion in gross margin demonstrating the success of our strategy," New York & Company CEO Gregory Scott said in a statement.

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The Children’s Place (PLCE) on Monday said it expects comparable retail sales to increase by 7.5% to 8.5% in the fourth quarter. This compares to the previous guidance for a low single digit increase in the fourth quarter. The company sees adjusted diluted EPS in the range of $2.45 and $2.50 for the quarter, compared to the previous estimate of $2.07 to $2.12.

Crocs, Inc. (CROX), on Monday, increased its fourth quarter revenue guidance to between $195 and $198 million from between $180 and $190 million. The company is also increasing its fourth quarter expected gross margin guidance by 200 basis points from approximately 43% to approximately 45%.