Tickers in this Article: HWD, TIF, LINTA, FLWS
Spring time not only brings the end of winter and the blooming of a new season of flowers, but also many special occasions that require gift giving. From Mother's and Father's Day to graduations and religious celebrations, finding the right gift may seem like an insurmountable task. Flowers, chocolates and jewelry often end up high on the list of appropriate gifts. Companies that depend on these special occasions to meet profit goals are subject to the whims of consumers' tastes as well as spending power. Are these buy and hold-long term investments or should investors trade around the typical holiday seasonality?



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Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend
Tiffany & Co
(NYSE:TIF) and Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (NYSE:HWD) are high-end jewelry retailers. These companies typically have seasonal sales cycles that peak during the Christmas and Valentine's Day season. Despite this seasonality, there is little seasonal pattern exhibited with stock prices.



HWD's stock chart displays very little variability between the high seasonal sales period (November through March) and the rest of the year. TIF's historical price chart also shows very little distinction between the peaks sales season and the rest of the year. Therefore the conclusion can be reached that variables other than seasonality impact the stock price movements of jewelry retailers. (For more, see Capitalizing On Seasonal Effects.)



Flowers and Other Gifts
Flower and gift companies also display seasonal patterns, although these differ slightly from jewelry retailers. Flower retailers tend to have a peak sales season from Valentine's Day through Mother's Day. 1-800-Flowers (Nasdaq:FLWS) is a gift retailer offering a range of products, including flowers and plants, cookies and other baked goods and wines.



FLWS operates both on the web and through company-owned or franchised stores. A look at the stock performance over the period from 2000-2009 revealed that in six out of 10 years, the stock performed better in the first half of the year.



Provide Commerce, another gift retailer with brands such as Pro Flowers, Red Envelope is a wholly owned subsidy of Liberty Media Company (Nasdaq:LINTA). Liberty claims that the seasonal pattern of business for Provide Commerce peaks in the months between February through May due to Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. These seasonal patterns agree with the patterns experienced by FLWS, but since there was only a slight difference in upside (six out of 10 periods); it suggests that factors other than seasonality impact stock performance.



Conclusion
"Special occasion" companies may depend on the specific times of the year when gift-giving peaks to ensure that profit forecasts are met. However, the stock performance for these companies seems indifferent to these seasonal patterns. Based on historical price charts, it appears that other factors influence stock prices, therefore company and industry fundamentals along with an economic outlook analyses, not seasonal patterns, should be the deciding factors when choosing to invest in these stocks. (For related reading, see Father's Day Gifts For Wall Street Dads.)



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