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Why Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Other Retail Stocks Closed Higher on Friday

By John Rosevear – May 8, 2020 at 4:37PM

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Stores are reopening, and investors are pleased.

What happened

Shares of several apparel and home-goods retailers were moving up on Friday, as stores continued to reopen in parts of the United States and restrictions on retail activity eased.

Here's where these four companies' stocks ended when the market closed on Friday.

  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY -8.58%) closed up about 11.8%.
  • Designer Brands (DBI 1.05%) closed up 10.3%.
  • Gap (GPS 5.20%) closed up 9.2%.
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN 1.20%) closed up 6.4%.

So what

There wasn't any specific news report that drove these stocks higher on Friday. Rather, they seem to have risen along with investors' optimism that the U.S. economy might return to something like normal before long.

A Gap sign outside of a store.

Gap will begin reopening its stores this weekend. Image source: Gap.

Retail-focused investors have been waiting for signs of recovery since these four companies (and many others) closed their brick-and-mortar stores in March. While all of these companies have managed to make up some of the lost sales via their online storefronts, all are losing a lot of money right now. 

Where do things stand with their stores?

  • Bed Bath & Beyond said on April 24 that it will keep most of its stores closed until at least May 16. In the meanwhile, it has converted about a quarter of its shuttered stores into regional fulfillment centers to support a big jump in its online sales.
  • Designer Brands' CEO Roger Rawlins said that nearly 200 of the company's big-box shoe stores reopened in the U.S. and Canada last week. More will follow in phases as state, provincial, and local governments allow, he said. Stores will be deep-cleaned before reopening, and employees will follow elaborate procedures to keep themselves and customers safe.
  • Gap outlined its plan to reopen stores on May 6. It expects to have "up to 800" stores open by the end of May, starting with some locations in Texas this weekend. Like Designer Brands, Gap's stores will follow elaborate procedures around cleaning and distancing to keep employees and customers safe.
  • Urban Outfitters hasn't yet announced its plans to reopen stores. 

Now what

I expect that Urban Outfitters will outline its reopening plans during the conference call following its fiscal first-quarter earnings release on May 19. Bed Bath & Beyond reported earnings on April 15. Gap and Designer Brands haven't yet announced dates for their next earnings reports, but both have reported in late May in past years. 

John Rosevear has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Designer Brands Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Gap Stock Quote
$9.72 (5.20%) $0.48
Urban Outfitters Stock Quote
Urban Outfitters
$21.89 (1.20%) $0.26
Bed Bath & Beyond Stock Quote
Bed Bath & Beyond
$5.97 (-8.58%) $0.56
Designer Brands Inc. Stock Quote
Designer Brands Inc.
$16.40 (1.05%) $0.17

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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