The Piper Jaffray consumer research team was given some help from the technology research team and has laid out an initial holiday road map for investors in a new research report. They highlight what they believe will be the holiday macro trends (electronics and video games) versus the micro trends (boots, cold-weather apparel and soft casual innovation). While they only see a 1% to 3% increase in holiday shopping sales, the overall outlook is much brighter than it appeared just 60 to 90 days ago.
Santa's nice list includes easier weather comparisons and a major video game console cycle. The introduction of not one, but two, new video game consoles in the next two weeks will likely be a benefit for retailers selling the consoles, games and accessories.
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Santa's naughty list includes calendar contraction and lack of a major apparel trend. With one less week of holiday selling between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, retailers are seemingly already feeling the pressure to begin holiday selling earlier. So beware the early barrage at your favorite stores.
Here is the Piper Jaffray list of top stocks to buy that they think will benefit from a solid holiday shopping season.
Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) -- iPhones, iPods and iPad tablets. The tech company continues to battle back with new product ideas and marketing plans. Investors can expect an iPhone 6 to be released at some point next year. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $590. Apple closed Monday at $519.05.
ANN Inc. (ANN) -- clothing. In furthering its expansion strategy to drive top-line growth and enlarge its footprint in Canada, the upscale segment retailer declared the opening of its first LOFT store on the west coast of Canada. The store will be housed in The Village at Park Royal shopping mall in Vancouver. The consensus price target for the stock is $38. Shares closed Monday at $35.26.
Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) -- video games. Activision should be a huge benefactor of the new game consoles being released this month. Its top-selling Call of Duty: Ghosts game sold more than $1 billion worth in a single day. The consensus price target for the stock is $41, and Activision closed Monday at $16.99.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (BBY) -- electronics retailing. After almost falling in to bankruptcy less than two years ago, Best Buy has reemerged as a leading big-box retailer. The stock has gone from the outhouse to the penthouse on Wall Street, with most firms having a Buy rating and raising price targets recently. Investors are paid a 1.6% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $45. Best Buy closed Monday at $44.33.
Deckers Outdoor Corp. (DECK) -- footwear and accessories. This stock has proven to be the short sellers' nightmare over the past five years. Constant bear raids against the retailer have failed. The stock jumped Monday after several analysts said they expect the maker of Ugg boots will have a solid holiday season. The consensus price target for the stock is $75. Deckers closed Monday at $71.79.
Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc. (DFRG) -- high-end dining. The company operates restaurants under the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, Sullivan's Steakhouse and Del Frisco's Grille names. Solid expansion has driven solid profits for the company. The consensus price target for the stock is $23.50. Del Frisco’s closed Monday at $19.54.
GameStop Corp. (GME) -- video game retailing. The company, the world’s largest multichannel retailer of video games, is hosting midnight launch events for the North American release of the PlayStation 4 system on Thursday, November 14, leading into the console’s official launch day on Friday, November 15. Investors are paid a 2% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $61. GameStop closed Monday at $55.38.
Hasbro Inc. (HAS) -- toys and games. The company reported net income of $172.5 million, an increase of 5% from the same period a year ago. Hoisted by the popularity of the Furby toys and My Little Pony, revenue from girls' toys shot up 29%. Investors receive a solid 3.2% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $53.50, and Hasbro closed Monday at $51.25.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS) -- upscale women's clothing and accessories. The company will join the S&P 500 after the close of the market Tuesday. The consensus price target for the hot retailer is $89. The stock closed Monday at $81.10.
Leapfrog Enterprises Inc. (LF) -- children's learning games. LeapFrog's Learning Path is designed specifically to help support and guide a child's learning with personalized ideas and feedback, fun activities and expert advice. Developed in collaboration with LeapFrog's full-time in-house team of learning experts, the new Learning Path is available as a downloadable app, a weekly newsletter and a Web resource. The consensus price target is $10. The stock closed Monday at $7.95
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) -- coffee shops and retailer. The stock remains one of the top holdings for portfolio managers running mutual funds. The company also has announced a highly respected plan to hire military veterans. Teavana is still a new upside opportunity full of promise, and it has so far only just begun to ramp up this concept. Investors receive a 1.3% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $90. Starbucks closed Monday at $80.99.
Target Corp. (TGT) -- big-box retailer. The company has taken a huge initiative in improving its online advertising and sales. Investors are paid a 2.7% dividend. The consensus target for the top retailer is $70, and shares closed Monday at $65.69.
Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) -- video games. This was a top pick recently of CNBC's Jim Cramer. He thinks holiday sales will explode. The consensus price target for the stock is $21.50, and the stock closed Monday at $17.95.
Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) -- trendy teen clothing retailer. The stock suffered this past summer as sales slumped. Recent sales figures show a comeback and the holiday season is expected to shine. The consensus price target for the stock is $46. The stock closed Monday at $40.02.
The Piper Jaffray stocks to buy list is focused not only on the top retailers, which do a large portion of their business during the holiday sales season. They also have focused on the companies most likely to have the top product sales. Adding the shopping market leaders may bring a happy holiday season and solid stock performance all year round.