Useful Websites for Retail Stock Investors

Niche trade publications can be a useful tool for investors

Investing in retail stocks is a smart move for individual investors. Retail stocks are familiar, we know the businesses behind them, and the financials of retail are relatively straight forward. Still, it's important to know where to turn to get the latest information on your retail stocks.

An investor relations page will provide you with company press releases, as well as quarterly and annual reports. Well, known investment websites such as Reuters, The Motley Fool, or Barron's will provide you with a wide range of updates and commentary on a stock's movement, or investment merits. But niche publications are sometimes the best resource for commentary on the inner-workings of the retail industry. They may be lesser known, but they can provide wonderful insight. Here are three niche retail websites every investor should check out. 

1
Retailing Today

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Retailing Today provides the latest news and commentary for the top 150 retailers in the U.S. On its website, Retailing Today, claims to have over 30,000 subscribers.

While Retailing Today covers the latest financial results of retailers, its commentary is more useful. This is a great place to get commentary about how the latest movement from large retailers is impacting the sector. Most of its coverage centers around large, traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers. This coverage includes hardware stores, big-box chains, and drug stores. 

Retailing Today's coverage of large chains like Wal-Mart, Target, and Staples is outstanding, and its editorial opinion on retail trends makes it a top niche site. 

2
Nations Restaurant News

While the Nation's Restaurant News covers a narrower group of retailers, just restaurants, its coverage is superb. Like Retailing Today, the Nation's Restaurant News has the latest on industry changing trends and terrific editorial opinion. It also has wonderful financial information as well.

I am partial to its same-store sales tracker; it lists the latest quarterly same-store sales results of many public restaurant chains, across different categories. While NRN does offer terrific free coverage, some commentary is only available with a paid subscription.  Every year, NRN publishes a list of the top 100 restaurants by system-wide sales, and it often publishes lists of the fastest growing restaurants. Both lists can be a source of great stock ideas. 

3
Internet Retailer

Internet Retailer covers e-commerce businesses, featuring the latest news in e-commerce, with over 46,000 subscribers and 425,000 unique monthly visitors.  As an authority in e-commerce, Internet Retailer also offers a magazine, research guides, and newsletters in addition to its website. 

Each year the site posts the top 500 U.S. E-Retailers or e-tailers. While it provides excellent coverage of companies like Amazon, which operate entirely online, it also covers e-commerce movement from traditional retailers, like Wal-Mart. The site provides both e-commerce news and useful commentary on sector trends and changes. 

Most retailers have adopted an e-commerce strategy, to cash in on the rapid growth of internet shopping. Online sales still only account for 6% of all retail sales, so there is plenty of room for e-commerce to continue growing, which makes Internet Retailer's coverage especially relevant. 

None of these publications offer stock analysis, but that's what investment sites are for. What they do offer is coverage of where the sector is headed and why. That's what niche publications are good for, providing focused commentary on a small portion of retail. These sites can sometimes offer superior coverage, given their singular focus, and can be as useful as large investment publications. With Retailing Today, Internet Retailer, and NRN, you intimate coverage of three large sectors within retail.