Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Soaring gas sinks Goldman’s view of retailers

May 16, 2008

highgas.jpgWhat does gas at $4.50 a gallon mean for some mall-based department stores?

A downgrade by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman sharply raised its forecast for oil prices in the second half of this year, saying it expects U.S. crude to average $141 a barrel, up from a previous projection of $107. Goldman also forecasts prices will rise further next year to average $148.

That is not good news for retailers.

“Higher energy spending in the second half is likely setting the stage for a more challenging backdrop for consumer discretionary sectors, particularly for the department store stocks,” Goldman noted.

Goldman downgraded JC Penney and Nordstrom to ”neutral” from “buy.” It swapped its conviction list “buy” designation on Kohl’s with Wal-Mart. It upgraded off-price retailer TJX to “buy” from “neutral.”

Goldman also cut its second half same-store sales estimates for JC Penney, Kohl’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s.

“We believe companies will face an uphill battle against escalating energy prices offset by easier top-line compares and the anniversary of 2007′s extremely warm Fall season,” Goldman said about the second half of the year. ”In the end, we believe energy and constrained cash flow will win this tug-o-war causing same store sales to re-decelerate as the second half progresses.”
(Photo: Reuters) 

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