Fundamental, Webinar

2023 Holiday Outlook and the U.S. Consumer

Arun Sundaram, CFA, CPA, Vice President of Equity Research
Zachary Warring , Equity Analyst
Thursday December 07, 2023
11:00 am EST | 8:00 am PST | 4:00 pm GMT

As the holiday shopping season kicks off seemingly earlier each year, the focus is on retailers and their strategies for adapting to the ever-evolving consumer landscape.

During this webinar CFRA’s Director of Equity Research, Ken Leon, Moderator, and Equity Analysts Arun Sundaram, CFA, CPA, and Zachary Warring did a comprehensive analysis of the current state of the U.S. consumer and CFRA’s outlook for the 2023 holiday season and beyond.

The webinar will also delved into key factors influencing consumer spending in a climate of economic uncertainty. Additionally, our retail experts offered an in-depth look at the current retail landscape, discussing how macroeconomic challenges like elevated inflation, high interest rates, dwindling savings, and weakened consumer confidence are shaping consumer behavior.

Our discussion examined a broad spectrum of retailers, from big-box stores like Walmart and Target to department stores like Macy’s, off-price retailers including TJX Companies, and apparel/footwear retailers like Nike and Lululemon.

The session detailed:

  • Current sector recommendations (Consumer Staples and Consumer Discretionary)
  • An analysis of the U.S. consumer using data on retail sales, inflation, wage and job growth, unemployment, consumer debt, and sentiment.
  • CFRA’s forecast for the 2023 holiday season and early insights for 2024.
  • In-depth insights and investment views on various retailers, including Walmart, Target, Macy’s, TJX Companies, Nike, Lululemon, and others.


Ken Leon, CPA, Moderator
Director of Equity Research
Ken Leon is Director of Equity Research at CFRA. He is responsible for analytical research as well as client servicing. Ken’s research industries as an equity analyst are the U.S. global banks and alternative asset managers in the financial sector, multifamily residential REITs, and movies & entertainment in the communications services sector. Ken is a thought leader that provides ongoing in-depth research and communications to key customer segments. He is active with most media networks and leading print media and is widely sought for his investment views on the large banks and capital market trends. Ken previously held the position of Global Director of Research and Industry Analyst for S&P Global Market Intelligence. Prior to joining CFRA in 2003, Ken spent over two decades in equity research with research leadership responsibilities at ABN Amro, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers. He was a three-time Institutional Investor All-Star for his coverage of wireless telecommunications services, as one of the pioneers in this industry. Ken holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA from New York University. He was also licensed in the State of New Jersey as a Certified Public Accountant.
Arun Sundaram, CPA, CFA
Vice President of Equity Research
Arun Sundaram is Vice President of Equity Research and primary covers big-box retailers (e.g., WMT, TGT, COST), food retailers (e.g., KR), discount retailers (e.g., DG, DLTR), internet retailers (e.g., AMZN, EBAY, ETSY, CHWY, W), and food manufacturers (e.g., KHC, GIS, MDLZ, HSY). Prior to CFRA, Arun worked in public accounting where he audited financial statements for public and private companies and performed due diligence services for companies pursuing M&A deals. Arun has a Master’s degree focused in Accounting and Information Systems from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor’s degree focused in Accounting from James Madison University. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Zachary Warring
Equity Analyst
Zachary is a Fundamental Equity Analyst covering roughly 40 companies across retail and gaming. His coverage falls under Apparel and Footwear retail, where he covers company names such as Nike, Inc., Lululemon Athletica, and The TJX Companies. He also publishes three industry surveys: Retail Apparel, Retail Non-Apparel, and Textiles, Apparel, and Luxury Goods. In his coverage, Zachary has also been featured in print media, such as Barron’s, Reuters, New York Times, and MarketWatch. Prior to joining CFRA, Zachary participated in the College of William and Mary’s program’s student-run Investment Fund, which helped him find his passion for equity research. He also holds an MBA in Finance from the College of William and Mary and has spent 4-years in the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist.


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