What's more, Best Buy opted not to issue fiscal 2014 guidance, but the company warned that the first quarter will be under significant pressure, which may be related to a combination of the rollback of the payroll tax decrease and the delay in tax refunds.
Conversely, Target just posted 30% comp increase in January sales. The quarter is not over yet, but Target seems pleased about foot traffic. And it doesn't appear as if Target's customers are worried about refund checks.
For that matter, Wal-Mart guided first-quarter earnings to arrive at $1.11 to $1.16 per share on flat comps. This was slightly less than the Street's estimates. The company has made it known that it hated that the temporary reduction in payroll taxes was ending, which management has stated may adversely impact first-quarter and fiscal 2014 projections. Well, it's Wal-Mart. And I'm not really all that concerned about its concerns -- if that makes sense.
What I mean is that we've been here before. The company was still dominant at the height of the financial crisis, and it will be fine today. And the economy has been much improved since then. The fact is -- people aren't going to suddenly stop shopping for food and household goods. That flat-screen TV from Best Buy, however, might require more thought.