"Try not to suck" are words of encouragement that Joe Maddon, manager of the Chicago Cubs, offers to his team (as told on 60 Minutes Sunday), especially when they are sucking (they lost to the New York Yankees Sunday in 18 innings, 5-4).
The Chicago team won the World Series last year against the Cleveland Indians, the first time in 108 years for the Second City team, so his advice may have helped big time.
Try not to suck may be good advice for companies leading into this week of earnings in the consumer sector.
On Tuesday before the market opens, Office Depot (ODP) - Get Report reports first earnings. "Sucking" is what Office Depot has been doing for some time. In May of last year, shares of the office-supplies company plunged after a federal judge blocked a merger with its rival Staples (SPLS) , and it hasn't been pretty since. Like most bricks-and-mortar companies, they are facing the behemoth Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report , as customers buy office supplies online.
Office Depot's stock is down 18% to $5.08 over the past year.
Another challenging set of earnings on Tuesday will be from Hertz (HTZ) - Get Report , the car rental company, which has been an unpredictable name due to the increasingly sluggish car market. According to Zacks, profit estimates for the first quarter and fiscal 2017 have been dropping in the last 30 days.
Then on hump day, there is Whole Foods (WFM) . It's hard to imagine that the high-end grocer will pull out a surprise, as its sales have been plummeting and the stock is down about 14% over the past two years. Meanwhile, Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey has been out hyping his new book.
Need we go on? For the remainder of the week is the retail apparel sector, which has been in the doldrums, except for discount sellers like TJX Companies (TJX) - Get Report , which owns T.J. Maxx and Marshall's.
On Thursday before the market opens, Macy's (M) - Get Report and Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report will report. It will be the first quarter for Macy's with newly appointed CEO Jeff Gennette at the helm. Wall Street is giving him a grace period to turn the company around.
So try as they may, "sucking" may be the order of the day for this week's consumer earnings. But if the Cubs could turn it around, could at least some of the companies reporting this week eventually improve? Time will tell, but unlike the Cubs' fans, investors won't wait 108 years for better results.
Hot News of the Morning
The U.S. retail sector is so bad that two handbag makers are joining forces to cut costs and grow abroad. Coach (COH) said Monday that it will spend $2.4 billion to buy rival handbag maker Kate Spade (KATE) . As TheStreetreports, this deal is not a surprise.
Bet you didn't know Coach sold some of the stuff seen below and has hired Selena Gomez as a spokeperson (she will launch a new handbag later this year).