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William Blair says buy Wayfair as furniture company can weather a housing market slowdown


Wayfair is well positioned to weather any hits to the housing market, according to William Blair. Analyst Phillip Blee resumed coverage of Wayfair with an outperform rating ahead of the furniture company’s second-quarter earnings this week, saying the retailer will do better than its competitors. “Given the increasingly uncertain macro environment and broader slowdown in the housing market, we believe there is risk to our sales and earnings expectations in the back half of 2022. However, we remain encouraged by a recent inflection in demand trends and believe Wayfair is better positioned in this environment than its peers,” Blee wrote in a Monday note. “As such, we are maintaining our current estimates until we have incremental data points coming out of the second-quarter print. We estimate sales to decline in the low-single-digit range for full year 2022, which assumes the company returns to positive sales growth in the second half as comparisons ease,” he added. Blee pointed to an online business model and more affluent customer base that will insulate Wayfair from macro challenges. According to the note, the average Wayfair customer is a 45-year-old woman with a household income of $85,000. Meanwhile, demand for Wayfair’s luxury brand Perigold has remained robust. To be sure, the company is dealing with inflation, supply chain issues and challenging comparisons after an early surge in furniture sales during the onset of the pandemic. Still, Blee believes repeat spending, improvements in the supply chain and lower advertising spending “all support the longer-term earnings potential of the model.” “While the consumer environment remains uncertain, we continue to believe that Wayfair maintains a fundamentally strong model and is well positioned to continue to absorb market share and leverage its existing operations over the long term with minimal additional investment in infrastructure required,” Blee wrote. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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