As hard as it is to believe, 2014 is coming to an end, which means that investors will shift attention to the upcoming holiday shopping season. Consumer confidence hit pre-recession levels during the summer months, which has set the stage for a decent holiday shopping season.
Looking ahead, the National Retail Federation has forecast holiday sales to increase 4.1% versus last year, with big gains expected online. If the forecast proves true, it would mark the first time since 2011 that the retail industry enjoyed greater than 4% sales growth during its most important time of year.
A good holiday season can literally make or break a company's full year results, with the holiday season expected to account for 19.2% of total retail sales for the year.
With the recent dip in the markets, it would be easy to take a bearish stance on the upcoming holiday season, but I suggest that we instead focus on how quickly the market was able to find a bottom and bounce back. This shows that investors remain confident that the U.S. remains on solid footing, which bodes well for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
As with every year, 2014's holiday season will have its fair share of both winners and losers, but if you can determine which companies have the best chance of posting strong holiday numbers, you can end the year on a very positive note.
Let's take a look at five stocks that I believe will enjoy a very strong holiday season.