Ahead of the Bell: Upbeat on retailers

Jefferies analyst says many retailers could get boost in fall, winter after a tough 2Q

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jefferies analyst said Wednesday that he expects sales at retailers to pick up in the second half of this year, making now the time to buy shares of their stock.

Investors have cooled on retail companies after several, including Macy's Inc. and Kohl's Corp., had a tough second quarter and cut their outlooks for the year.

"We continue to like the group and believe sales trends should reaccelerate, led by an improving consumer backdrop, pent-up demand and cooler fall weather," Randal Konik wrote in a note to investors.

The analyst said Deckers Outdoor Corp., which makes Uggs boots and other shoes, along with Gap Inc., remain his top picks. But he added that the stock prices of teen retailers Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Aeropostale Inc. also make their shares attractive.

Abercrombie stock is off 10.5 percent in the past three months, while Aeropostale has dropped 27 percent. Aeopostale earlier this month warned that it had needed to discount heavily to attract buyers as it revamps its merchandise lineup.

Meanwhile, the analyst said he doesn't expect shares of some companies, including Ross Stores Inc., to move much one way or another after they report their quarterly results. He said investors have already bid up stocks of discounters such as Ross and T.J. Maxx parent TJX Cos. because of their solid sales trends.

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