Monday, October 01, 2012

Retail stocks: the middle vs. high end

Took a glance at some names in my retail watch list and noticed (again) that Sotheby's (BID) and Tiffany (TIF) both topped out back in spring-summer of 2011. 

Are these two stocks sending a message on the state of the "merely affluent" buyer (or even the very rich, as some of Sotheby's customers may be categorized)?

Meanwhile, "everyman luxury" jeweler Zales (ZLC) has rebounded strongly off its spring 2012 lows and is currently near a 2-year high. 

Is this recent strength specific to ZLC or is there more here to suggest a pickup in buying power for middle-income customers?