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COVID-19 Delta variant fears aren't stopping retailers from giving away money, again

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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There may be a budding consumer spending slowdown underway at the hands of COVID-19 Delta variant fears, but that isn't stopping some household name retailers from reinstating the dividends and buyback plans they scrapped at the height of the pandemic. 

For some analysts on the Street, the moves make total sense. 

"I wouldn't say that anyone [retailer] returning cash is all of a sudden better off than they were before, but I think they are realizing that they did a good job. They put as much cash as they possibly could under the mattress. At some point that becomes an uncomfortable sleeping position," said BMO Capital Markets retail analyst Simeon Siegel on Yahoo Finance Live. "You can take some cash out and see what you want to be."

Here are several retailers opening their checkbooks once more for their shareholders. Whether they continue to be generous if sales cool down this fall due to variant concerns, only time will tell.

Dick's Sporting Goods

After a blowout second quarter as consumers continued to play outdoors during the pandemic (notably golf), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) is opening its checkbook real wide for shareholders.

The company announced this week a special $5.50 a share dividend. Moreover, it lifted its planned stock buybacks for the year to $400 million from $200 million.

Williams-Sonona

A year of people redoing their home's interior has Williams-Sonoma (WSM) flush with cash and open to giving more money away to shareholders.

The company said on Thursday it will increase its dividend by 20%. It also revealed a new $1.25 billion stock buyback plan.

Macy's

After a quarter where same-store sales grew and margins increased as consumers rebuilt their closets post vaccination, Macy's (M) is becoming more generous with its cash again. 

The company announced this month a 15 cents a share dividend, equaling to a $200 million annual payout. Macy's suspended its dividend at the height of the pandemic in March 2020. The company also revealed a new $500 million stock buyback plan.

Macy's cited a healthy cash position for its decision to return capital to shareholders. 

Kohl's

Similar to Macy's, Kohl's (KSS) is feeling better about its financial position after a comeback second quarter. 

The company said this month it plans to repurchase $500 million to $700 million in stock this year. So far in 2021, Kohl's has repurchased $301 million in stock.

Kohl's reinstated its dividend earlier this year. It currently is set at 25 cents a share.

Tapestry

The owner of the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands is sitting idly by as other retailers hand back cash to shareholders. With Tapestry announcing a solid quarter Thursday — led by the Coach brand — the company reinstated its dividend and stock buyback plan. 

Tapestry (TPR) will pay a dividend of 25 cents a share — the company suspended its dividend in March 2020. Further, Tapestry intends to buy back $500 million in stock over the next 12 months. 

Target

The discounter has crushed it during the pandemic, and is in a far better position fundamentally than a Macy's or Kohl's. But that earnings momentum is stopping Target (TGT) from opening up its digital wallet for shareholders. 

Target announced a new $15 billion stock buyback plan last week. The company credited a strong financial position for the announcement

Editor's note: This article has been updated. It was originally published on Aug. 19, 2021.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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