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February 1, 2010



  • Just a few days after Vera Wang’s collaboration with David’s Bridal was unveiled, the designer known for all things “wedding” is set to announce a partnership with Zale’s for wedding rings.  Now if only Kohl’s, David’s Bridal, Serta, and Zale’s would all collaborate to the put the head to home merchandise selection under one roof.
  • Another bullish forecast from the NRF, this time with a focus on Valentine’s Day.  Spending is forecast to increase 11% y/y, for an average spend per consumer of $116,21.  Overall, spending on Valentine’s should not be taken likely as the holiday is expected to generate $15.7 billion in sales.
  • Add Macy’s to the list of brands strategically using the pop-up store to promote a new fashion inititiave. In conjunction with the rollout of the company’s Impulse contemporary departments, the department store is opening a temporary boutique in Manhattan’s Flatiron district.  In addition, there is a major subway campaign underway promoting the youthful merchandising effort.


J. Crew Settlement With Investors -  J. Crew Group Inc.’s $10 million settlement of a an investor lawsuit over the proposed takeover by private-equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP has fallen apart, a lawyer for the shareholders said.  J. Crew officials undermined a deal in which the clothier agreed to extend the period to solicit competing offers to the $3 billion buyout bid, Stuart Grant, a lawyer for J. Crew shareholders objecting to the buyout, said in a court filing. The accord also included a $10 million payment to plaintiffs.  <Bloomberg>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Perhaps a little more drama to come although it still remains unlikely that an additional bidder will step-up given the ample time that has already passed since the deal was originally announced.


Dick's SG to pay $15M to Settle Wage DisputesDick's Sporting Goods Inc agreed to pay up to $15 million to settle a number of class action lawsuits that had alleged a failure to pay overtime and other promised wages, according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing said that on Jan. 28, 2011, the company and attorneys for a group of plaintiffs filed a settlement agreement in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York to settle Tamara Barrus, et al. v. Dick's Sporting Goods, et al., and 22 related wage and hour class action lawsuits that have been pending against the Company and five individual defendants. <SportsOneSource>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Add DKS to list of companies finally making whole on their overtime disputes.  This issue has been common across most of retail, with settlements occurring over the past several years.

Inflation in China Not Slowing Down Spending -  Wang Jung is a far more frugal shopper than the other female twentysomethings in her Beijing social circle of office workers. She balks at spending more than 150 yuan (about $23 at current exchange) on a single item of clothing, unless it’s a winter coat or shoes. Even then, she’ll spend hours combing the city’s hidden retail markets looking for the best deals. “I don’t see the point in spending 500 yuan [$76] on something I won’t be able to wear in a year because it’s not good quality,” she said, referring to big-name international retailers like Zara that have become go-to shopping destinations these days for Beijing’s young and fashionable. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   The key difference in China being that wages are on the rise, which in turn is driving purchasing power increases.  Not so here in the US where inflation will likely put a damper on demand.


Upheaval in Egypt Hits Vendors -  The political crisis in Egypt is bringing commerce to a standstill, threatening to dampen consumer sentiment across the region, and forcing textile and apparel manufacturers to create contingency plans. Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said rioters pillaged one of its five hypermarkets in Egypt, but it did not detail the scale of the damage. “The other stores are closed but did not suffer any damages,” a spokeswoman for the retailer said Monday. Carrefour is present in Egypt through its Middle East franchise partner Majid Al Futtaim, which also operates Carrefour stores in Jordan, Syria and United Arab Emirates, among other countries. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  As far as publicly traded US companies go, Egypt related risk is pretty much a non-event. 


Japan Turns to Cheap Chic -  In Japan, the Baby Boomers have given way to the Bargain Bunch. Take Mayu Kawasaki, a 27-year-old retail manager from the southern Japanese city of Fukuoka, who is one careful shopper. “For me, number one is quality and design,” Kawasaki said. “I always want to find something that can be worn or used long term. And second is price, because fashion changes all the time. So if I can get cheap stuff, I don’t feel it’s a waste to use it only for the season.” <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   Given UNIQLO’s roots in Japan, fast fashion or cheap chic is hardly a new concept.  However, a stagnant economy could certainly be one reason why cheap fashion is picking up.


Where Are Social Media Marketers Seeing the Most Success? -  More companies in the Inc. 500 are using social media as part of their business and marketing strategies, and they are seeing success and viewing social media overall as more valuable. These firms, which include the fastest-growing private companies, have been using a mix of tactics, with Facebook as the most popular. According to a study released in January 2011 from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 71% of companies used Facebook in 2010, up from 61% in 2009. Twitter, at 59% in 2010, and blogging, at 50%, are also still high on the list.


Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Despite the progress, the question still lies with the “effectiveness” of such campaigns.

R3: JCG, DKS, Social Media, and Egypt - R3