There have been a lot of dramatic predictions and opinions about the retail sector in 2017 – including a retail “apocalypse” or the “death of retail” with analysts blaming the “Amazon effect” with shoppers turning to ecommerce sellers at the expense of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.
At the start of 2017, many believed that the sector was heading that way, given many retailers overall had disappointing fourth quarter and full-year 2016 results. However, some companies lucked out and adjusted their strategy to deal with shoppers’ online shifts, and it ended up paying off in 2017.
Here are three retail stocks that have seen some pretty aggressive share advances in 2017.
Gap’s (NYSE:GPS) shares have appreciated by over 50% so far in 2017, with the company posting positive comparable sales growth in each quarter this year. In its latest, third quarter, results, the company increased its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) guidance.
One of the company’s strategies this year was international expansion, and the company built its largest flagship store in Greater China and launched a digital storefront on YAHOO! Taiwan.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), shares were up about 50% year-to-date, through Dec. 28. It was an active year for the company, which included a terminated sale discussion. On May 10 the company confirmed it had received expressions of interest, and had commenced preliminary discussions with “several parties.”
Arthur Martinez, Executive Chairman of the Board of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said: "After a comprehensive review of all relevant factors, with the assistance of our financial advisor, the A&F Board of Directors determined that the best path to enhance value for stockholders is the rigorous execution of our business plan.
As the other retailers discussed here, improving financial results were also behind Guess’s (NYSE:GES) improved performance. The latest, third quarter, results showed adjusted diluted earnings increased 9.1% versus the comparable period, while revenue increased 3.3%.
While an impending “retail apocalypse” was a theme earlier in the year, these concerns abated, at least for some companies as the year progressed with a strong U.S. economy, a record-setting holiday shop season, and the realization (from corporate results) that many retailers turn around strategies were working.