Good morning, it's Paul here.

Please see the header above for the stocks I intend covering today.

There's a nice recovery underway in decent quality retailer shares at the moment. The emerging trend seems to be that the better retailers (e.g. Next (LON:NXT) ) recouped the sales dip in Nov 2018, in Dec 2018. Although it's once again eCommerce sales which proved key - growth online offsetting the drop in physical store sales, for Next.

Even shares in poor quality retailers seem to be seeing some buying interest, given that share prices have already factored in Armageddon. So anything not too bad, could be seen as positive. Maybe. Who knows, sentiment can turn on a dime at the moment. These are certainly difficult, but rather exciting markets.

To summarise my current thinking, the only retail shares that interest me, should ideally have some combination of the following characteristics;

  • Niche or differentiated & desirable products (not re-selling generic, or third party products)
  • High proportion (over 30%, preferably 50%+) of sales online
  • Sound finances
  • Short leases on physical stores
  • Low valuation

A lot of smaller, weaker, retailers are likely to go bust in 2019. Therefore there will be more market share available for the survivors. Plus rents are likely to continue falling considerably, on lease renewals. Hence why this sector, whilst a minefield, is very interesting to me. I focus on this sector because I understand it far better than any other sector, and it usually pays to stick to what you know - as the chance of success is greater.

I seem to have writer's block this morning, but will see if I can get into my stride now.

Joules (LON:JOUL)

Share price: 255p (up 4.3% today, at 11:18)
No. shares: 87.8m
Market cap: £223.9m

Christmas trading update

Joules, the premium British lifestyle brand, today updates on the Christmas trading performance of its retail business for the seven-week period to 6 January 2019 (the "Period").

Checking back, I wrote positively about JOUL here on 5 Dec 2018, thinking it looked good value at 207p. It's up 23% in the month since then - pity I didn't back my judgement with a purchase, but such is life.

Whoever writes the trading updates for Joules should probably be reassigned to other…

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