Chop Those Holiday Estimates

 | Dec 26, 2012 | 1:00 PM EST  | Comments
  • Comment
  • Print Print
  • Print
Stock quotes in this article:










MasterCard (MA) just released holiday sales figures and it's not pretty. Sales increased 0.7%, the worst since the depths of the 2008 recession. ShopperTrak chipped away at estimates before Christmas (reduced to 2.5% from 3.3%), but clearly not enough.

Warning to investors: Never assign much weight to the statistic gatherers' estimates; they typically tell you what time it is hours after you've asked.

The bad news is in line with our Super Saturday "Facial Distortion Indicator" (we ask sales associates about business and see if their faces distort or if they fail to convince us of retail cheer), which was off the charts this past weekend.

Saks (SKS) was the most obvious retailer in pain. Sales associates suggested this was worst holiday in 15 years -- and we spoke with veterans. Most seemed desperate to find a reason why the trend will pick up. Was Sandy, Newtown and the fiscal cliff enough to keep consumers sitting this one out?

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) was far from super during this year's Super Saturday. Sales associates were actually available on the silver floor. Typically, it's five people deep just to flag someone to take your money.

And it wasn't just the high-end, fiscal-cliff-sensitive crowd making faces, it was Zara, Gap (GPS) and H&M, too. As for the teen retailers, let's just say the club wasn't busy behind Abercrombie & Fitch's (ANF) velvet ropes -- and I'm talking about the New York and London flagship stores.

This year was supposed to be a slam-dunk -- lower input costs, easy comparisons -- and margins were impossible to look worse right? The Grinch says wrong.

Happy bargain hunting.

Columnist Conversations

If AAPL is going to continue to rally....this cluster zone and prior swing high need to be cleared! This is t...
Yesterday and today was the classic case of watching realized vol. in the SPX and other indexes jump. The mark...
I had the chance to talk at length with Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb yesterday for a piece on
When the market gives your a chance to take profits, you TAKE IT! Today is that day, and we will cash in on S...



Columnist Tweets


Except as otherwise indicated, quotes are delayed. Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes for all exchanges. Market Data provided by Interactive Data. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings and ratings provided by Zacks. Mutual fund data provided by Valueline. ETF data provided by Lipper. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions.

TheStreet Ratings updates stock ratings daily. However, if no rating change occurs, the data on this page does not update. The data does update after 90 days if no rating change occurs within that time period.

IDC calculates the Market Cap for the basic symbol to include common shares only. Year-to-date mutual fund returns are calculated on a monthly basis by Value Line and posted mid-month.