Bloomberg

Credit Suisse analysts downgraded a handful of retailers on Friday, citing weak trends they expect will continue through the holiday season. 

The firm downgraded Macy's (M - Get Report) , Gap (GPS - Get Report) and L Brands (LB - Get Report) , the parent of Victoria's Secret, to underperform from neutral.

"As we look across our coverage, we see the most risk of negative revisions to 2020 Street [estimates] for Macy's, GPS and LB — and we think low valuation alone won't be sufficient to protect further stock downside," the analysts wrote in an Oct. 18 note.

They also lowered their price targets: Macy's to $12 from $19, Gap to $14 from $20, and L Brands to $14 from $22.

Macy's shares were trading down 4.8% to $15.03, while Gap was down 5.2% to $16.65 and L Brands dropped nearly 8% to $16.67.

"Our expectation is that pressured trends are likely to continue into fall/holiday -- with macro pressures weighing on already weak recent trends," the analysts said.

Those trends include a shorter holiday shopping calendar, ongoing tariff/tourism uncertainty, and tough weather comparables lapping cold weather that extended through much of fourth-quarter 2018, the analysts said.

"Importantly, looking to 2020, we think Street estimates are still too high," they said.

The analysts say a tough holiday season could also drive more store closures in 2020. The Credit Suisse US Store Closure Index shows 2019 "is on track to be the biggest store closure year in the 24-year history of the index."

Credit Suisse also updated its top picks in the sector, including VF Corp (VFC - Get Report) , behind such brands as North Face and Smartwool; off-price retailer Ross Stores  (ROST - Get Report) , branded apparel retailer Burlington Stores (BURL - Get Report)  and Nike (NKE - Get Report) .

CS analysts said those are the stocks they see as best positioned to outperform.

They increased the target price of VF to $116 from $104, Ross Stores to $130 from $120, Burlington Stores to $245 from $235 and Nike to $112 from $105.

VF, Burlington Stores and Nike were each trading flat on Friday, up less than 0.5%, while shares of Ross Stores rose 1.1% to $114.24.

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