The Top Ways to Invest as U.S. Consumers Struggle

The consumer is struggling.

In fact, at the moment, 63% of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.  That’s up from 60% in October.  “Americans are cash-strapped and their everyday spending continues to outpace their income, which is impacting their ability to save and plan,” said Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer, as quoted by CNBC.

On top of that, November retail sales fell sharply, even as inflation cooled.

Sales at retail stores, online stores, and restaurants dropped 0.6% for November.  That was a big drop from a gain of 1.3% in October.  And, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Shoppers spent less on holiday categories including electronics, clothing, sporting goods—both online and at department stores. They spent more on everyday staples such as food and at health-care stores, but also on restaurant meals.”

However, don’t let negativity chase you from the markets.

Remember, even in times of absolute chaos, there’s an opportunity.  

As noted by Barron’s, “The big-box stores cautioned that shoppers had rapidly shifted away from pandemic-popular categories—think clothing, home goods, and electronics—in favor of essentials, prompting hefty, margin-crunching discounts to move overstocked merchandise. That warning triggered selloffs across the industry, including dollar stores, which cater to lower-income consumers who are hurting the most from inflation.”

That’s great news for dollar stores, like Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree (DLTR).

Look at DLTR, for example.

“We are aggressively expanding our offerings of protein, pizza, breakfast items and family sizes at price points [to] meet their budgets,” Michael Witynski, the CEO and president of Dollar Tree said on the company’s most recent earnings call.

Plus, in early November, Deutsche Bank analyst Krisztina Katai reiterated a Buy rating on the DLTR stock, raising the price target to $194 from $163. The analyst added she’s “encouraged” by the company’s sales progress in the third quarter. For Q3 2022, the company saw GAAP EPS of $1.20 compared to the $1.17 year over year 

With strong signals the consumer is not okay, keep DLTR on your radar screen.