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May 22, 2021, 10:36 a.m. EDT

Swimsuits and luggage are hot items as U.S. shoppers prepare for summer events with relaxed COVID restrictions

Tonya Garcia

With vaccines rolling out and restrictions easing, consumers are preparing for summer with items like bathing suits high on the shopping list.

“In March, shoppers bought aspirational items that they look forward to showing off once the weather improved and restrictions started to lift,” said Manish Chandra, chief executive of Poshmark Inc. (NAS:POSH) , during that company’s recent first-quarter earnings call .

Top-performing secondhand categories in March included crop tops (up 101% year-over-year), bikinis (up 86%) and jean shorts (up 85%).

Poshmark sellers offer items that are both new and secondhand. A quick check shows many swimsuits sold on Poshmark are described as “new and with tags” or have been photographed with the tags showing. Poshmark asks that items be properly cleaned before shipping and sellers be as descriptive as possible.

An NPD report shows the sale of swimwear was up 32% versus pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Macy’s Inc. (NYS:M) , which reported its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday , said luggage was one of its “most improved categories in the quarter.”

“The stimulus encouraged more customers to use cash and debit cards instead of credit, and the increased level of vaccinations boosted store traffic, all encouraging signs as consumers move towards a post-pandemic lifestyle and start to spend more for in-person activities, travel and events,” said Chief Executive Jeff Gennette on the earnings call.

See: Walmart takes the unusual step of raising its outlook in first-quarter earnings report

“Clearly, our customer is ready to get on with life.”

Macy’s beat earnings expectations and raised its guidance.

“Macy’s first quarter results reflect the tailwinds of a positive macro environment fueled by stimulus and an accelerated vaccine rollout despite continued depressed tourism,” said Christina Boni, Moody’s senior vice president.

The aforementioned NPD report found luggage sales had returned to 80% of their 2019 levels.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand driving consumer travel aspirations, so travel accessories that are both functional and innovative will be the hot ticket items, as people prepare for upcoming trips,” said Beth Goldstein, accessories and footwear industry analyst for NPD.

Walmart Inc. (NYS:WMT) , which also reported its fiscal first-quarter earnings on Tuesday , said it saw strength across a wide variety of categories, including home, seasonal and apparel.

Walmart also noted the ongoing efforts in some parts of the world to get COVID-19 under control, particularly in India, Chile, South Africa and Canada.

Also: Red Cross calls on wealthier countries to end ‘glaring inequity’ in COVID-19 vaccine access as global case tally nears 164 million

MKM Partners analysts note that about a quarter of Poshmark’s employees are in India.

“Therefore, the COVID crisis in India has the potential to be disruptive to the business,” Roxanne Meyer, managing director at MKM, wrote in a note. “It could also result in delaying upcoming new country launches (with India expected later in 2021 and the U.K. planned for next year).”

MKM rates Poshmark stock a buy with a $50 price target, which it recently cut from $83.

“We continue to appreciate the meaningful opportunity for growth in the resale market, with Poshmark well positioned to take share, and expect meaningful newcustomer and GMV acceleration over the next several years,” MKM said.

“That said, we admittedly were too bullish out of the gate and had anticipated a more meaningful pace of growth, particularly in the next 12 months, that was well above Street estimates.”

Poshmark stock began trading in January .

Read: Poshmark will benefit from shift to secondhand, consumers cleaning their closets

“We believe pent-up demand for apparel and accessories should benefit Poshmark in 2Q21 barring any weather disruptions or unforeseen factors related to the pandemic,” wrote Cowen analysts in a note.

“Trends in mid-March improved with growth rates across states normalizing underpinned by consumer optimism and retention across cohorts also stabilized.”

Cowen rates Poshmark stock as outperform with a $55 price target, which it lowered from $70.

The Invesco Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment ETF (PSE:PEJ) is up 8.8% for the year to date. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (PSE:XRT) has rallied 42% for the period. And the benchmark S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX) has gained 9.6% for 2021 so far.

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