Christmas is not proving to be the epected salvation for Australian retailers, as shares in the big stores picked up on Wednesday where they left off before the holidays. Surfwear retailer Billabong was down 0.5¢ to $1.80.
Last week, Billabong, Kathmandu and JB Hi-Fi issued earnings or sales downgrades for the first half of this financial year.
In London, the fall in financial stocks offset a rise in retail shares on hopes of rocketing High Street sales. As reported by The Guardian, retail stocks gained after a survey by market researcher Experian showed the numbers of shoppers visiting sales on Boxing Day and Tuesday was up around 21pc on last year.
Next, which provides the sector's first scheduled trading update next Tuesday, lost early gains to close down slightly. Marks & Spencer rose, as well as JD Sports and Mulberry Group. In comparisson, the FashionUnited Top 100 Index got contagied by the festive mood and closed up to 1276.34, rising by 0.83.
Mulberry was another top performer, with shares rising 65 per cent this year. In June the firm reported that pre-tax profit had risen by 358 per cent for the 2010/11 financial year, to £23.3million. According to analysts the British fashion brand is now likely to be a takeover target for larger industry players.
In Wall Street, The Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS) will trade ex-dividend, for its quarterly dividend of $0.1125, payable on 1/25/12. As a percentage of GPS's recent stock price of $19.01, this dividend works out to approximately 0.59%.
Meanwhile, Bebe Stores (NASDAQ:BEBE) was one of the day's biggest movers, up 2.3% to $8.49. The Dow is trading fractionally higher to 12,315 and the S&P is currently trading fractionally higher to 1,268. "There is potential upside of 7.0% for shares of Bebe Stores based on a current price of $8.49 and an average consensus analyst price target of $9.09. Bebe Stores shares have support at the 50-day moving average (MA) of $7.50 and additional support at the 200-day MA of $6.83," analysts at FNNO said.
Finally, shares in Sears Canada Inc. fell more than five per cent Wednesday, a day after its American parent announced plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores in the United States after poor holiday sales. The store closures do not apply to Sears Canada Inc., the U.S. retailer’s Toronto-based subsidiary but shares in Sears Canada still fell 59 cents, or 5.1 per cent, to $10.97 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.