We go around the horn every day in our morning meeting as each Sector Head boils down any investment-significant happenings in his/her Sector over the preceding 24 hours. That's our process. Today we happened to hit quite a bit on Sandy, and whether demand was delayed, or lost forever, and what kind of costs we'd see along the way.
In retail, once we get past the obvious players like HD/LOW it definitely gets more dicey. The only retailers I could argue would see a lift with be the Supermarkets. People are not eating out as much, they stocked up on home inventories, and those who did not stock up are drawing down to what are likely unsustainable levels.
While that's not exactly a groundbreaking thought, I was interested to hear a thought from our new Consumer Packaged Goods Analyst (Rob Campagnano) who agreed with the prospect of a sales lift, but said it would almost certainly come at the expense of mix. "Emergency shopping is almost exclusively center of store (think of canned items that you would want if you were on a deserted island) which is substantially lower margin than the fresh and prepared categories. You will see incremental shrink due to spoilage in a number of fresh categories as demand declines as well."
Also, how can we ignore WAG October front-end comps, which came in -2.9% vs a +1.1% consensus expectation -- a pretty big (4%) miss for a drug store. This was BEFORE any impact from the hurricane. In other words, consumer spending wasn't exactly crushing it prior to this event.
Definitely some food for thought.