U.S. Retail Stocks are on the Up and Up With a Boost from eCommerce
U.S. retail stocks showed significant gains as reported Friday February 17th
The S&P Retail Index ended up 1.2 percent, or 6.79 points, to 571.55 and traded as high as 572.18 — a new peak for the index, which goes back to 2002. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent, or 46.02 points, to 12,950.10.
The day’s gainers included Dillard’s Inc., up 5.1 percent to $51.48; Rue21 Inc., 4.2 percent to $26.33; Urban Outfitters Inc., 3.7 percent to $28.48; Chico’s FAS Inc., 3.7 percent to $13.03, and Destination Maternity Corp. 3.4 percent to $16.74.
Retail, which last peaked in the summer, has been having a resurgence this year as investors look toward better times ahead despite a still-weak recovery.
However, the real growth in retail in online sales.The Commerce Department said fourth-quarter e-commerce sales shot up 16.1 percent from a year earlier to $61.79 billion, while total retail sales rose 6.5 percent to $1.12 trillion. E-commerce accounted for 5.5 percent of total sales, up from 5.1 percent a year earlier.
According to IHS Global Insight U.S. economist Chris Christopher, “Today’s report is record breaking at a quarterly level, annual level, and as a percentage of total retail.” Chistopher goes on to add, “Cyber sales are soaring since more people feel comfortable buying online, and the real game-changer this past holiday season has been the increased use of smartphones, tablets and iPads to shop online.”
IHS expects e-commerce sales will rise 17.1 percent this year to a new high of $227.5 billion.