A Surprising Week in Retail Ahead of #BlackFriday

Walmart, Abercrombie & Fitch, Foot Locker & The Gap Surprise to Upside

Lots and LOTS of brain damage about how to salvage retail these days. And there should be: look at THIS graphic of empty retail storefronts in New York City. So, here, there are some interesting suggestions for the future of retail by a venture capitalist. And, here, a real stretch by Williams-Sonoma Inc. ($WSI) with the acquisition of augmented reality 3D imaging startupOutward for a nice sum of cash. Meanwhile, US e-commerce sales jumped 15.5% in Q3. In a CURIOUS week which calls into question the full power of the "Amazon Effect" (just kidding, no it doesn't) many down-and-out retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. ($ANF), Gap Inc. ($GPS) and Foot Locker Inc. ($FL) surprised to the upside. TJX Co. ($TJX), on the other hand, broke its 8-year sales growth streak while missing revenue estimates all while competitor, Ross Stores Inc.($ROST), blew it out of the water. Perhaps TJX' miss is a one-time thing that truly is attributable, as its CEO said, to poor merchandising and weather or, as we asked on Twitter, maybe the discounters are subject to a trickle-down effect...? Elsewhere, we should note that Poshmark, an app-based fashion marketplace that we have credited for contributing to millennials' distaste for malls, raised $87.5mm in Series D funding. Finally, Black Friday may put a dent in household debt levels as credit spending is on the rise. We're sure that'll play out just fine.