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December 9, 2010





  • According to SiteJabber, the following are this year’s most counterfeited brands:  
  1. UGGS
  2. Coach handbags + leather items
  3. Tiffany's
  4. Athletic jerseys
  5. Perfume
  6. Nike sneakers (Air Yeezy and Air Jordans)
  7. Ed Hardy and Juicy brands
  8. Watches (Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer)
  9. North Face
  10. DVDs (especially box sets of TV series)
  • Merry Christmas IKEA employees!  In an effort to reward its employees for their hard work, the company handed out 12,400 bicycles for an early holiday gift.  Perhaps there is subliminal effort underway to lower healthcare costs by having employees bike to work?
  • With e-commerce up +200% yy at LULU – albeit on a small base, the company’s investment in e-commerce is certainly beginning to pay off with no sign of slowing. Not only has management targeted e-commerce sales in excess of 10% of total sales in the near-to-intermediate term, the company is also looking for a Head of e-commerce to take the business to the next level. It’s not easy maintaining 50%+ top-line growth, but with the company still underpenetrated at retail, expect LULU to continue to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of accelerating online shopping this holiday. 


European Retailers See Strong Holiday - Neither bitter cold nor worries about a debt and currency crisis in the Eurozone seem to have put a chill on consumer spending. Retailers and brand executives on the Continent cite a good kickoff to the crucial holiday sales period, particularly in premium categories. Executives throughout Europe cited strong demand for: Cold weather gear, given Europe has seen bitter temperatures and lots of snow; Accessories, including footwear, luxury jewelry and gloves and scarves; Men’s wear, especially knitwear, and Premium foodstuffs.“We feel the consumer is bizarrely serene,” said Jean-Claude Biver, chief executive officer of luxury watch brand Hublot. “This makes me think we are only partially in crisis. We are now in an economic environment where some people continue to suffer and others have emerged from the crisis, and I think the latter are starting to buy again. So I am not completely serene regarding Europe, but halfway serene, nonetheless.”Describing business as “excellent,” Biver is projecting growth of almost 20 percent next year. “We are extremely positive,” he said. “But 2011 could prove more difficult than expected due to the debt situation of European states.”<WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Not to different from what we’re seeing here stateside, minus the positive boost from abnormally cold weather.  Good news for boots and outerwear brands with a European distribution focus. But like what we’re facing in the US, we’re going to need to see the Consumer show up en masse in 2011.


Vuitton Files ITC Complaint - Louis Vuitton Malletier SA and Louis Vuitton U.S. Manufacturing Inc. have filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission asking for an investigation of several companies for allegedly importing and selling counterfeit and knockoff handbags, luggage, accessories and packaging. Louis Vuitton alleged that five of the companies named were owned or managed by the same two individuals, Jianyong Zheng and Alice Bei Wang, both of Arcadia, Calif. Three of the companies named in the complaint were separate entities that purchased goods from the firms operated by Zheng and Wang, according to the complaint. The list of eight firms named in the complaint included companies in Guangzhou, China; El Monte, Calif.; Los Angeles, and Dallas. The complaint alleged the counterfeits and knockoffs are manufactured abroad and imported into the U.S. for sale.  <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: The never-ending effort to curb counterfeiting continues.  The good news for LVMH is that US authorities are gung-ho on prosecuting.  China, not so diligent but getting there. 

PVH Enhances Dress Shirt Offerings - Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. is out to capture a larger portion of the high-end dress shirt business. The New York-based manufacturer has formed a new unit, the Insignia Dress Furnishings Division, to build its relationship with the better department and specialty store market and the first deliveries will hit stores on Jan. 25. “We were dabbling in the better business in shirts,” said Mitch Lechner, president of the PVH dress shirt division, “but we saw a tremendous opportunity to build stronger strategic partnerships with stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom.” The company has also formed an independent road force to service better specialty stores around the country with product from this division, Lechner said. Insignia was the high-end division of Superba Inc., a neckwear manufacturer that PVH purchased for $110 million in 2006. Since the acquisition, PVH has continued producing hand-tailored neckwear within that division, but had not ventured into dress shirts. Now Insignia will produce shirts under the Ike Behar, Elie Tahari, John Varvatos and Star USA, and Michael Kors names, Lechner said. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: While not a huge growth opportunity it’s still noteworthy as the world’s largest dress shirt maker looks to expand towards the higher end.  Quality of stitching and fabric will be key if Insignia is going to succeed. 

Converse's New Game: Retailer - Converse wants to be a team player in the vertical retail game. The Nike Inc. subsidiary on Nov. 15 opened its first unit on Newbury Street in Boston. A 7,000-square-foot flagship was unveiled in SoHo on Black Friday, featuring its widest selection of merchandise in the world, including artist collaborations, a customization bar with five iPads holding over 250 designs and new apparel collections for men and women. Converse, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, has been honing its store concept for the last five years. “We could have opened stores a lot sooner,” said Dave Powers, vice president of global retail. “The goal was to make the stores a [great] brand experience and a positive financial experience. We’re building a model that will allow us to do that from a merchandising perspective.” Powers said Converse will open five or six stores in 2011 in downtown street locations and malls. “We’re in the process of mapping out our U.S. rollout plan,” he said. “We could have a pretty sizable number of stores. We plan to invest in retail and go forward with it. ” Powers declined to give specific sales projections, but said the store will be on par with other SoHo retailers that do more than $1,000 a square foot. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: With a target market of kids aged 18-22 years-old, Converse’s new stores are actually quite industrial looking, but have some technological flair that will pique consumer interest in the form of a customization center. With a little help from staff, customers can customize just about anything in the store from shoes to tees – a touch of individuality that is likely to resonate with the brands youthful consumer.

Online Holiday Sales Maintain Elevated Levels - The holidays are proving to be the most wonderful time of the year for online retailers, with e-commerce sales having passed $17.5 billion, a 12% jump from the corresponding days a year ago, comScore Inc. reported today. Consumers have spent more than $800 million on four different days since late November. Leading the way was the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 29, also known as Cyber Monday, which was the heaviest online spending day on record at $1.03 billion. The following day, Nov. 30, was the second heaviest day of spending when consumers spent $911 million. "We anticipated that the post-Cyber Monday period would experience a slight hangover after many of the retailers' most aggressive deals and promotions expired, but we can expect to see activity begin to pick up again next week as we get into the middle part of December," says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman. The web measurement firm says free shipping is helping shift consumer spending online. Since Nov. 1, more than 50% of all online orders have included a free shipping incentive, with the offer peaking at 55.1% of all orders for the week ending Nov. 28. That’s a 20.8% increase from the same week a year ago, when 45.6% of online orders included free shipping. For the week ended this past Sunday, Dec. 5, 51.4% of orders shipped for free, compared with 43.8% in the comparable week in 2009. <Internetretailer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: While sales at retail have pulled in on a sequential basis as expected according to our weekly athletic data, it appears that online sales have managed to maintain strong demand following Cyber Monday with free shipping a key driver. If you’re looking for attractive promotions, may we suggest targeting retailers with an inadequate or lack of e-commerce presence altogether.

China: Li-Ning launches new basketball footwear collection - Li-Ning, one of China’s leading sportswear brand, has extended its reach into the basketball footwear segment by launching a new product line F2. Since the brand first came out in America they have gained the favor of vast basketball fans. The new collection will features a variety of colors as an integral design element as well as the foam frame technology. The upper will be in all one piece and features an injection molded EVA material that assures perfect fit for each individual wearer.<FashionNetAsia>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: At $65, Li-Ning is introducing its new F2 shoe at the low end of the range for a basketball shoe, but with a considerable amount of style and 5 colorways (see below at left). Perhaps the most notable feature is that due to its EVA construction, the shoe is considerably lighter weight than most of its competition. Unfortunately, my personal experience is that comfort is not among the high points unlike most EVA constructed shoes (i.e. Crocs, Native, etc.) as evidenced by my trial with a pair of the brand's similarly constructed running shoes (at right). 

R3: LULU, LVMH, PVH, Converse - R3 12 9 10