The big Black Friday shopping weekend officially kicked off the holiday shopping season. The holidays are crucial to retailers since a strong or weak holiday season can literally make or break a company’s full year.
Black Friday has become a national sensation, with all the major retailers aggressively competing to attract the most customers into their stores or to their websites to gobble up as many sales items as possible.
The internet drastically altered the retail space, but there is a still a lot of retail happening in brick and mortar locations this time of the year. Strong consumer confidence has helped retailers over the last couple of years, but the real winners have been the retailers that have managed to maintain strength in their physical stores as well as growing their presence online.
Amazon continues to dominate online retail, but all retailers have invested heavily in their e-commerce business and have started to put a dent in Amazon stranglehold of the market.
As is always the case, this year saw some retailers flop while others flourished. Let’s look at five retailers that killed it this Black Friday.
As to be expected, Amazon.com (AMZN) crushed it again this Black Friday weekend. The company’s highly anticipated Cyber Monday once again broke the record for sales in day. Amazon had a whopping $7.9 billion in sales on Cyber Monday alone. Black Friday sales totaled $6.2 billion. The company continues to set the standard for online retail and puts a lot of pressure on all retailers to adapt.
Earlier in the month the company announced that was extending free holiday shipping to non-Prime members, which certainly helped the company boost its sales, and could ultimately convince a lot of non-Prime members to sign up for the service after seeing the value in the free shipping. The company announced it sold 18 million toys on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined as the company tries to overtake the toy market following the departure of Toys R Us. In total, Amazon shoppers bought 180 million items on the site over the duration of the holiday weekend. AMZN trades at $1,587.58 with an average price target of $2,165.63.
Mega-retailer Target (TGT) has done a great job during the last couple of years both improving its e-commerce business as well as improving its customer in-store experience through store upgrades and remodels. The changes have been working, and over the last two quarters the company has reported comparable sales growth in excess of 5%. Online initiatives are also paying off, with online sales rising 50% last quarter, but still represent a small fraction of the company’s overall revenues.
The company is viewed as the winner in the toy area, a void left by Toys R Us that all retailers desperately want to take over. Target’s investments in its e-commerce business has not only been successful in growing digital sales, but the company was also one of the few retailers that did not suffer website outages during the online shopping frenzy. TGT trades at $70.55 with an average price target of $88.18.
Kohl’s (KSS) is another retailer that is benefitting from the closures of Sears locations and Toys R Us. The company has invested a lot in growing its e-commerce business, with the efforts paying off and leading to a record day for online sales for the company on Thanksgiving. The company opted to start offering doorbuster sales in the early morning hours on Thanksgiving. Kohl’s is also doing a good job capturing mobile customers, reporting that 80% of its online sales came from mobile devices.
The company made the decision to offer Kohl’s Cash on Cyber Monday sales which delighted shoppers, and a partnership with Amazon (AMZN) helped drive traffic and sales to the company’s website. Kohl’s had a record day of online sales on Thanksgiving, with the company selling 60 Instant Pots a minute and 40 Fitbit devices a minute. KSS stock is trading at $67.54 with an average price target of $79.43.
Athletic footwear and apparel retailer Foot Locker (FL) has emerged as the winner of the footwear battle this Black Friday weekend. Foot Locker is benefitting from strong demand for Nike (NKE) products among youth shoppers. The stock gapped higher just prior to Black Friday following an upbeat Q3 report and has added to its post-earnings gains in the days since.
Strong Nike demand drove Foot Locker’s same store sales up 2.9% during the recent quarter and helped the company expand its gross margin in the quarter as well. Foot Locker has been teaming with Nike to offer a unique experience to its customers, and the collaboration is paying off with increased in-store and online sales. FL is trading at $54.22 and analysts have an average price target of $58.39 on the stock.
Ulta Beauty (ULTA) appears to have had a strong Black Friday. The company’s website temporarily went down because of the sheer volume of consumers trying to purchase cosmetics from the retailer. It is never good to see a retailer’s website crash, but the fact that the crash was a result of extremely high volume is a positive indicator as to how well the company did with its Black Friday specials.
The biggest news for Ulta this holiday season is its exclusive launch of Kylie Jenner cosmetics. Previously only sold online, Jenner’s cosmetics can now be purchased in Ulta’s stores and on its website. Jenner is a social phenomenon, with over 25 million Twitter followers and 120 million Instagram followers, so Ulta is sure to get A LOT of free marketing through Jenner’s social feeds, such as this Cyber Monday Instagram post that received 1.1 million likes with over 42,000 comments in just 24 hours. ULTA trades at $295.92 with an average price target of $310.94.