Stocks slipped last week as politics and world trade issues dominated headlines during a slow period for quarterly earnings reports. Both the S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.45%) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) shed roughly 1% to stay near all-time highs.
The next few days will bring some highly anticipated earnings releases, which could send some individual stocks moving. Below, we'll preview the reports due out from Stitch Fix (SFIX 8.26%), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY -2.54%) and Costco (COST -0.00%) in the coming week.
Stitch Fix's growth rate
Concerns about competition may have eaten away at Stitch Fix's stock momentum in recent months, but the e-commerce specialist has an opportunity to change that narrative with its fiscal third-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The apparel-seller's last outing contained plenty of good news for shareholders, including rising customer engagement and shopper satisfaction. These usage metrics translated into financial wins including a growing active client base and improving profitability.
Yet Stitch Fix shares still fell immediately after the report and have declined in the following weeks as investors chose to focus more on the company's premium valuation and the potential for larger players like Amazon to steal its market-share thunder.
We'll find out whether Stitch Fix is earning that valuation through continued robust client growth and rising gross profit margins as CEO Katrina Lake issues updates on management's expansion strategy into men's clothing and the new U.K. market.
Bed Bath & Beyond's traffic
Expectations couldn't be much lower heading into Bed Bath & Beyond's earnings report on Wednesday. While many national retailing chains -- notably Target and Walmart -- are seeing booming growth lately, the home-goods specialist isn't participating in that rebound. In fact, comparable-store sales dove 7% last quarter to mark an ominous start to the year following two consecutive years of roughly 1% declines.
Interim CEO Mary Winston and her team say the company is just in the early stages of a comprehensive rebound strategy that involves slashing costs, reducing inventory, and closing underperforming stores. Their main priority, though, is to end those sharp declines in customer traffic.
Signs of that impending stability might begin showing up in Wednesday's report. If it does, it would be a big relief to shareholders worried about accelerating market-share losses during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Costco's membership trends
Costco posts its results on Thursday, and investors are expecting good news from the warehouse retailing giant. Like Walmart, it has enjoyed a strong uptick in customer traffic lately. And its monthly sales report in early September suggested that this positive momentum continued into the fiscal fourth quarter as comps grew 6% in the core U.S. market and across its global selling base.
Given volatility around tariffs and customer traffic trends, investors will be watching for signs of any slowdown for the consumer staples stock heading into the key holiday shopping crush. But they'll also be listening for updates to Costco's all-important membership metrics.
Renewal rates have been climbing into record territory despite higher annual fees. If that trend continues, and if shoppers continue shifting toward the high-margin "executive" status subscription tier, then earnings growth could accelerate next year to put further distance between Costco and its traditional retailing peers.