By Jeremy C. Owens
Earnings Watch: Walmart, Target, Home Depot and more will divulge their results and forecasts this week after e-commerce names suggested that the boom in online shopping is slowing down, while Robinhood and Nvidia jump in as well
With back-to-school shopping in full swing, large retail chains are about to take their turn on Wall Street's earnings stage and outline their COVID-19 recovery.
Walmart Inc. (WMT), Target Inc. (TGT), Home Depot Inc. (HD) and many other legacy bricks-and-mortar retailers are scheduled to reveal quarterly results this week. A wave of e-commerce reports last week from the likes of eBay Inc ( ), Wish ( ), Etsy Inc ( ) and others suggested that "reopenings are driving more shopping offline," according to Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Shyam Patil. Now, we will see if more dollars landed in actual cash registers.
Walmart, Target and some other traditional retailers were able to keep up with the massive move to online shopping during COVID-19 restrictions, showing big gains in online sales while shutting down stores. Online growth rates have slowed down while in-store shopping rebounds -- analysts largely believe that online sales should fall from growth rates greater than 50% to more like 10% to 20% as Walmart and Target lap the beginning of last year's restrictions -- and that could put Walmart in position to top Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) U.S. sales growth while ramping up its Walmart+ offering to challenge Amazon Prime.
Full earnings preview: U.S. sales growth at Walmart could outdo Amazon ()
"Overall, the growth in store traffic around key sales periods (back to school/ college phase and Q4 holidays) should benefit both retailers, driving strong attachment rates across the store," Credit Suisse analysts wrote of Walmart and Target last week, later adding, "Online growth should remain relatively healthy vs. last year. Both retailers are adding capacity to deal with larger pick-up/delivery volumes."
The story is not universal. Home Depot and Lowe's Cos. (LOW), for instance, actually had a hugely successful 2020, as shelter-in-place restrictions sent homeowners desperate to upgrade their shelter to home-improvement places. Department stores such as Macy's Inc.(M) and Kohl's Corp. (KSS) struggled to find an online audience, but now have easier comparisons with last year, while home-improvement stores will struggle to match their 2020 performance.
One universal theme will be the importance of the retailers' forecasts. Executives should have a good handle on what the back-to-school season has looked like so far, and investors and analysts will be listening closely for any hints about performance. Plans for the holiday shopping season will also come up, as retailers look to bounce back with a big second half despite the looming Delta variant of COVID-19.
Last week's reports "leads us to believe that increased caution by consumers amidst a rise of the Delta variant is leading to a modest slowdown in pace of recovery,with mixed results for various subgroups," Truist Securities internet analysts wrote last week.
Reports from the big retailers this week should bring that picture into fuller relief.
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This week in earnings
Three Dow Jones Industrial Average components are expected to report this week, which will just about wrap up the Dow components -- There are only two left to report out of 30. The S&P 500 index is similarly nearing the end, with a bit more than 40 still expected to report, and nearly half of those scheduled for this week.
Outside of the major indexes, new additions to Wall Street including Robinhood, Roblox Inc. (RBLX) and Krispy Kreme Inc. (DNUT) are on the week's schedule.
Dow Jones reports: Walmart and Home Depot (Tuesday); Cisco (Wednesday)
S&P 500 reports
Tuesday: Agilent Technologies Inc. (A), Amcor PLC (AMC.AU), Home Depot, Walmart
Wednesday: Analog Devices Inc. (ADI), Cisco, Jack Henry & Associates Inc. (JKHY), Keysight Technologies Inc. (KEYS), Lowe's, Nvidia, Synopsys Inc.(SNPS), Target, TJX Cos. Inc. (TJX)
Thursday: Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), Bath & Body Works Inc. (BBWI), Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. (EL), Ross Stores Inc.(ROST), Tapestry Inc. (TPR)
Friday: Deere & Co. (DE)
-Jeremy C. Owens
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 16, 2021 15:52 ET (19:52 GMT)
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