How Aging Millennials Could Put Sears Out of Business, but Also Cause Many Others to Prosper

Aging millennials could be big spenders. 

In a research note Monday, Credit Suisse predicted what consumer spending habits will look like over the next five to 10 years as millennials, those aged 18 to 34 in 2015 and "the largest population cohort," enter what the firm's analysts called the "sweet spot for spending."

And Credit Suisse estimated that "behavior may differ than in the past."

Meaning the golden days for mall-based retailers like Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) , unarguably already struggling to stay afloat, and cinemas such as AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC) are coming to an end.

"The middle-age cohort [aged 45 to 54] will be declining," Credit Suisse's analysts said. "They spend the most today and account for the highest percent of consumption. Growing older, the 65-plus years-old cohort is expected to show the largest growth over the next 10 years, yet that has been when spending has dropped off."

Here's who may win and who may lose from millennials gaining more purchasing ground.

Winner: Home improvement retailers
Winner: Home improvement retailers

As more millennials prepare to turn 35 and older over the next 10 years, they are starting to buy houses rather than rent, making them more focused on home improvement, Credit Suisse said, estimating that retailers like Lowe's Companies (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) will benefit from this shift.

Despite high student loan debt and the rising cost of home ownership, 62% of millennials surveyed by Fannie Mae in April said they felt confident buying a home, higher than the 60% tallied in March.

Loser: Apparel and footwear
Loser: Apparel and footwear
A shuttered Sears store.

It's no secret that millennials are not shopping at malls. There are 20 mall-based retailers, by TheStreet's count, including J.C. Penney (JCP) and Sears that have been forced to shutter massive amounts of stores due to the decline in foot traffic from increased online spending.

Credit Suisse highlighted traditional apparel and footwear retailers as some of the biggest losers from the consumer shift, calling out J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor parent Hudson's Bay (HBC) , Nordstrom (JWN) , Kohl's (KSS) , Macy's (M) , Calvin Klein parent PVH Corp. (PVH) and Ralph Lauren (RL) .

Winner: Select grocers
Winner: Select grocers

"Given millennials' increased focus on fresh foods, natural and organic," Credit Suisse said names like Whole Foods (WFM) and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) will see sales boosts over the next 10 years.

Loser: Casual dining
Loser: Casual dining

Credit Suisse said millennials focus on "food quality, convenience and digital accessibility," meaning casual dining, already seeing significant declines, will be pressured. Companies at risk include Darden Restaurants (DRI) , the operator of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, and Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) , which owns Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill.

Winner: Leisure products
Winner: Leisure products

Rugged gear, tech and apparel makers are coming out with some really cool stuff, making millennials even more drawn to outdoor sports and activities like camping and hiking. The outdoor industry contributes $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs to the U.S. economy on average every year, according to Outdoor Retailer.

Credit Suisse said this millennial shift to the great outdoors will contribute to more money spent at outdoor sporting goods retailers like Sportsman's Warehouse (SPWH) . Some other winners could be Columbia Sportswear (COLM) , Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) and VF Corp. (VFC) , which makes Timberland and The North Face.

Loser: Video games and traditional sporting goods
Loser: Video games and traditional sporting goods

With millennials having fewer children, Credit Suisse estimated that there will be "lower sports participation" and less purchases of video games. The firm's analysts said traditional sporting goods retailers like Hibbett Sports (HIBB) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) and video game retailer GameStop (GME) could be some of the biggest losers from the birth decline.

Likely, toy makers Hasbro (HAS) and Mattel (MAT) won't benefit either.

Editor's Pick: Originally published May 15.

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