Investor Alert: Are These 11 Back-to-School Stocks Making Big Moves?

The end of summer and the onset of fall usually mean one thing in the United States — it’s time to replenish supplies and head back to school. This also translates to wardrobe refreshes and gadget upgrades. The average planned back-to-school spending per household in the United States has gradually increased year-over-year to $848.9 in 2021, with electronics or computer-related equipment emerging as the biggest category.

While stressed American consumers have been forced to go bargain hunting to squeeze out the maximum possible value from money for bare essentials so that more of it can be set aside in favor of outdoor experiences instead of manufactured goods, the trend is unlikely to be significantly impacted even by the seismic shifts in the consumption ecosystem.

In fact, since the supply chain disruptions in the aftermath of the pandemic, concern for stockouts has only pulled back-to-school sales have increasingly been pulled forward to the end of July, compared to the conventional peak during the beginning of August. Prime Week by, Inc. (AMZN) has also done its fair bit to catalyze that shift.

Given the above, we have shortlisted a few relevant apparel/fashion/luxury, grocery, and technology stocks below that are expected to benefit from back-to-school sales to determine if they are worth buying in the aftermath of the sales event and ahead of the holiday season.

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

The technology and consumer electronics giant, which has a history of revolutionizing products like the personal computer, smartphone, and tablet, has begun scripting the next key chapter in its success story with the announcement of its first product in the AR/VR market, the Apple Vision headset, which will sell for $3,499 when it is released early next year.

Despite its 7.9% dip during the past month, AAPL’s stock has gained 22.2% over the past six months. While the business boasts excellent profitability, in view of its stretched valuation in the face of frigid trade relations between the U.S. and China, AAPL’s manufacturing hub and key market, investors should wait for a better entry point.

Walmart Inc. (WMT)

Sam Walton, founder of the largest grocer in the world, built the company on a no-frills approach aimed at making groceries and other products more affordable. With 60% of its revenue in the U.S. coming from the grocery segment, the retail giant’s focus on value through “everyday low prices” has helped it become relatively immune to the seismic shifts in the consumption ecosystem.

WMT’s stock has dipped slightly over the past month but has gained 11.7% over the past six months. With core PCE at 4.3%, indicating stretched budgets and high borrowing costs in the foreseeable future, WMT is best positioned to capture the upside from “modest improvement” in sales of big-ticket and discretionary items like electronics during the Back-to-School season.

Target Corporation (TGT)

TGT sells an assortment of general merchandise and food items to its guests through its stores and digital channels. With product categories such as apparel and accessories, beauty and household essentials, food and beverage, and home furnishing and décor, the budget retailer has converted its 1900+ stores into mini-malls offering a range of “cheap chic” items.

Due to the recent miss in revenue and a not-so-optimistic outlook for the holiday season, TGT’s stock has lost 9.5% over the past month. However, the slump has also brought the stock to a more attractive valuation, which could protect investors from downside risks and a potential upside from a mid-term recovery in consumer confidence and market sentiment.

Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST)

ROST operates two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores, Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS, with the latter offering in-season, name-brand apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions for the entire family at savings of 20% to 70% off department and discount store regular prices every day.

ROST’s shares have gained about 5% over the past month and 8.5% over the past six months. Given its healthy profitability, investors could consider buying the stock to capitalize on a rally during Back to School and the holiday season.

Dollar General Corporation (DG)

As a discount retailer, DG offers merchandise, including consumable items, seasonal items, home products, and apparel.

DG’s stock has plummeted 7.4% over the past month and 27.6% over the past six months. In view of its bleak prospects, investors are advised to stand by until sentiments improve before investing in the stock.

Logitech International S.A. (LOGI)

Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, LOGI designs, manufactures, and markets products that connect people to working, creating, gaming, and streaming worldwide. The company offers accessories, such as mice, keyboards, webcams, and other accessories for mobile devices. The company sells its products under the Logitech, Logitech G, ASTRO Gaming, Streamlabs, Blue Microphones, and Ultimate Ears brands.

Despite a 4.3% dip in the past month, LOGI’s shares have gained 24.2% over the past six months. While the business boasts excellent profitability, investors could wait for the pendulum of personal consumption to swing from services back in favor of high-ticket discretionary goods before buying into it.

Crocs, Inc. (CROX)

CROX designs, develops, and markets casual lifestyle footwear and accessories for women, men, and children, containing Croslite material, a proprietary, molded footwear technology. The company’s segments include North America; Asia Pacific; Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America (EMEALA); and the HEYDUDE Brand.

CROX’s stock has lost 7.8% over the past month. While the decently profitable business is well-positioned to benefit from increased expenditure on outdoor expenses, investors could wait for further valuation comfort before taking a long position in the stock.

Dillard's, Inc. (DDS)

DDS is a fashion apparel, home furnishings, and cosmetics retailer. The company’s operating segments include its retail department stores and a general contracting construction company.

DDS’ stock has gained 5.6% over the past month. Despite the recent price gains, its excellent profitability at a decent valuation means that investors could benefit from further upside in the stock.

Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI)

The well-known apparel company designs and markets jeans, casual wear, and related accessories for men, women, and children under the Levi's, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., Denizen, Dockers, and Beyond Yoga brands.

LEVI’s stock has lost 5.9% over the past month and 22.4% over the past six months. While the sentiment has been improving lately, investors would be wise to wait for its valuation to improve before deciding to add the stock to their portfolio.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF)

As an omnichannel specialty retailer of apparel, personal care products, and accessories for men, women, and kids, ANF sells its offerings primarily through its digital channels, company-owned stores, and various third-party arrangements.

ANF’s stock has surged 26.3% over the past month and 68.3% over the past six months. Given its excellent track record and profitability, investors could consider investing in the stock.

Shoe Carnival, Inc. (SCVL)

SCVL is an omnichannel family footwear retailer that offers customers an assortment of dress, casual, and athletic footwear for men, women, and children.
SCVL’s stock has plummeted 15.9% over the past month. While valuations have become more attractive, investors are advised to wait for the outlook to improve before acquiring a stake in the business.