BofA’s confidence in off-price retailers increases after the holiday season. From

BofA’s confidence in off-price retailers increases after the holiday season. From

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©Reuters. BofA’s confidence in off-price retailers soars after the holiday season

By Sam Boughedda

BofA analysts told customers in a research note on Friday that the company had increased confidence in off-price retailers.

BofA hosted an off-price retail conference call after the holiday with Darrell Gold, senior vice president of planning and allocation for Bealls Outlet Stores, an off-price retailer with over 500 stores.

Gold told BofA that the holiday season overall was ahead of expectations and “stock availability remains good.” Additionally, analysts revealed that gold is more bullish on off-price territory in 2023 today than it was 30 days ago based on a strong holiday season and resilient inventory availability.

“Off-Price is accessing more and better brands (including some brands that are long gone) along with more products from brands already in stores. Better deals contribute to healthy markups. While offerings are trending towards casual and active, other categories like dressy, kids and outdoor are still available in sizes,” the analysts wrote.

Meanwhile, supply chain costs are “cheap” compared to last year, and Gold believes there will be “steady improvement into 2023, but believes the cost base is likely to settle at a new normal above 2019 levels.”

“Apparel strength continued throughout the holiday season, particularly in workwear, occasion wear and gifts was exceptionally strong. However, Gold is seeing a larger increase in comps in the higher-income cohort (income >$65,000) compared to the lower-income cohort. He noted that all income demonstrations are beating expectations. He believes those customers are likely to come from department stores and other regional retailers, and believes these trends will continue as better brands attract higher-income shoppers,” the analysts concluded.

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