Those interested in out-of-favor stocks can’t look much further than retail. In a market routinely hitting all-time highs, the consumer discretionary sector’s 1.42% one-year return makes it the worst performing, second only to health care. But the statistics for apparel and department stores are much worse, and the upcoming crucial holiday season may not help.
Belying the worsening picture for traditional retailers were a 0.8% rise in retail and food services sales in October and 2.9% increase for the 10 months ended in October, compared to the comparable periods. At the same August-October period, clothing and accessories eked out a 0.5% gain, and sales at in general merchandise including department stores were dropping 5.2%, according to data from the Census Bureau. Continue Reading »