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Why Thanksgiving won’t save retailers this year: Strategist

Lawrence Lewitinn
Talking Numbers
Why Thanksgiving won’t save retailers this year: Strategist

Some major retailers are opening Thanksgiving Day to get a jump start on the holiday shopping season. But, will it do any good for the stores?

It seems retailers are eager to skip Thanksgiving entirely and go straight to the Christmas shopping season. But, will the extra day really give retail a boost in the last quarter of the year?

The latest chain to announce an early start to the holidays is Best Buy. The electronics chain is planning on opening 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, Best Buy isn't alone; Target, Macy's, J.C. Penny, Kohl's, and Toys R Us will also welcome customers that day, too.

(Read: Target joins list of retailers opening earlier on Thanksgiving)

As a whole, retail stocks are beating the benchmark S&P 500 index, which is up 24% in 2013. So far this year, the Market Vectors Retail ETF (the RTH) has gained 36% while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (the XRT) is up 37%.

"I don't have any idea how this is going to impact the bottom line, that one day," says Steve Cortes, founder of Veracruz TJM. "I'm generally positive on retail. MasterCard is hitting a new, all-time high so that tells me the consumer still is in pretty good shape."

Yet the gains haven't been equally meted out across the board in the sector, according to Cortes. He sees luxury retailers not performing as well as price-competitive stores.

"One of the main reasons that the lower-priced segment like Wal-Mart is doing very well: Oil prices and gasoline prices have really come in, particularly two months," says Cortes. "That's very good for the Wal-Mart shopper. In general, I like retail. But I much prefer the affordable segment rather than the luxury."

Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson, believes stores need the extra day this year to make up for one particular deficit.

(Watch: Is Black Friday dead?)

"The period from Thanksgiving until Christmas this year is actually six days shorter than it was last year," says Ross. "That could be part of the motivation here to get shoppers in those stores one day earlier."

But, there's an added bonus to the extra day of shopping, according to Ross.

"Not everyone likes hanging out with their family," says Ross. "Some people actually like to make that overtime pay and do a little shopping."

Analyzing the charts for the RTH, Ross sees a generally bullish trend channel. However, it may not be a buying opportunity at these levels just yet.

To see Cortes' fundamental analysis and Ross's charts on the Market Vectors Retail ETF (the RTH), watch the video above.

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