Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013: The End of the Holiday Season

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Coal came for some companies, while others were able to receive the gifts they wanted.  As we begin the New Year, here is a look back at the winners and losers of the 2012 holiday season.

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)

In the Coldplay song “Fix You,” the line “When you try your best, but you don’t succeed,” represents the holiday season for this company. Since the store does not release monthly data, we have no same-store sales or comps for them. J.C Penney’s December share price hovered around $19 without much improvement. The company’s share price is down almost $23 from their peak in the early months of 2012. CEO Ron Johnson is taking heavy criticism for the way J.C. Penney has been performing. He wants to move the store from sales dependent to providing the right product. J.C. Penney has teetered between the two and has loss their identity. Johnson must maintain confidence in his plan, but also decide and standby who J.C. Penney’s customer is. They should learn from their mistakes and start anew this year.

Target (NYSE: TGT)

This company similarly seems to be having a cold New Year. In December, Target took a sharp decline in their share price from the $63 range to the $58 range. Let’s add that to the fact they released their comps and increased by 1.6%. That is a low number considering Target partnered with Neiman Marcus for a holiday season collection. The collection was much buzzed about, but provided dismal results. A factor could be that the well-known designers involved, offered gifts that were lackluster in comparison to their usual designs. Target is moving forward from this, now focusing on consumable items. The new campaign maybe could be their niche for some growth. Target should maintain their cool appeal and not turn into another Wal-Mart, just for the sake of making a buck.

The Gap (NYSE: GPS)

The company’s share price for the month of December lingered around $30. The Gap ended their holiday season on a nicely with a 5% increase in comps; their net sales were up $2.8 billion from last year.  Old Navy, a subsidiary of The Gap, gained thirteen percent and The Gap acquired Intermix. Intermix is a luxury store that wants The Gap to help them expand overseas and on the internet and to offer more designers. Additionally, Brazil will finally have its first Gap store. The company announced that they were opening one there. This is part of their plan to expand the company internationally. With these key factors, The Gap has rung in the New Year happy.

Macy’s (NYSE: N)

The company started the month so-so. Macy’s share price was in the $37 price area, with a peak at $39.35. However, the store was able to pull off a great holiday season. Macy’s comps were up 4.1% from December 2011. In addition, the store had a 51.7% growth in online sales. Their holiday season ends with some not so good news though. The company announced that they would be closing six stores. After Macy’s online surge and the increase in online shoppers, the impact of closing the stores might not affect the company that much. Macy’s is right on track to capitalize on their growth.

Nordstrom’s (NYSE: JWN)

This company also began the month so-so and moved around the $52-$54 share price range. Still, Nordstrom’s loyal customers showed the store love. The company’s December comps were 8.2%; for Nordstrom’s Rack they were 8.1%. Moreover, Nordstrom’s is opening 15 new stores this year, with 6 of the stores being in the Midwest and Southern regions. Those regions were where the company had their strongest sales this holiday season. Nordstrom’s customer loyalty program may have also played a factor. For every 2,000 points you reach as a customer with them, the company will give you a $20 note that can be used at their stores. Possibly as the last minute a Nordstrom customer realized they had a note or two that could be used. Whatever the case, the company has been successful because they know who their customer is; furthermore, they do not waver, in the midst of competition, on providing for their customer. With that in mind, the New Year should be kind to Nordstrom’s enshrine.

Wrapping up the series, Prelude to a Holiday Season and Halfway Towards the Holiday Season, the winner of the holiday season is Nordstrom’s with Macy’s and The Gap, falling closely behind. Target was a disappointment and J.C. Penney’s continues to prove the naysayers right. Until this time again later this year, well wishes to each of the companies.

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