Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of furniture stocks La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB), Ethan Allen Interiors (NYSE:ETH), and Haverty Furniture Companies (NYSE:HVT) all climbed about 2% on the latest weekly numbers from The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
So what: Same-store retail sales for the week ending Saturday slipped 1.6% from the previous week, but a 3.2% increase over the year-ago period suggests that demand in the sector is turning. In fact, the ICSC now expects sales for the month of September to grow by about 4% -- up slightly from the 3.6% increase in August -- giving analysts plenty of good vibes over the furniture subsector.
Now what: I'd expect year-over-year numbers to remain favorable for the rest of 2013. "The industry's sales performance during this past week essentially reversed last week's positive sales jump," said ICSC chief economist Michael Niemira."However, despite that volatility, business was stronger in a number of key segments -- drug, department, discount wholesale, electronics and specialty stores -- compared with the same week of the prior year." Of course, when you couple the furniture sector's recent pop with the still-very intense nature of the business, Fools need to be extra selective when figuring out how to play that strength.
Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.