Companies reported their September sales this morning, and many missed estimates. On the surface, there’s no big explanation for the misses. The back-to-school season was expected to be robust, gas prices were pretty stable and there was no big economic news that would give people pause before shopping.
Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions, presents an interesting theory for why companies like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Kohl’s missed estimates.
Even Costco, which benefitted from fuel sales this month, had weak apparel sales.
Apple’s iPhone 5 “may be a culprit” for the misses, Sozzi told us.
“Many on the Street were looking for sales to bounce back in the latter stages of the month but based on my reads, that didn’t happen,” Sozzi said. “What was released around then? The iPhone 5.”
The iPhone 5 costs at least $200. “Unlocked” versions purchased without a major carrier (like AT&T or Sprint) start at $649.
Apple sold 5 million phones in the first week. So if people are spending hundreds of dollars on a phone, they aren’t likely to shell out for shirts at Macy’s or Kohl’s in the same month.
It’s impossible to measure what exact effect the iPhone 5 had on same store sales, but the iPhone 5 is a likely explanation, Sozzi said.
Sozzi said that Apple fever could also hurt retailers around the holidays if the iPad mini were rolled out. Longer term, Apple sales could actually help retailers because consumers have more ways to buy stuff online.
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