R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING
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.
OUR TAKE ON OVERNIGHT NEWS
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 Disputes - Dick'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.
Notable news items/price action from the past twenty-four hours.
- COSI traded strongly into the end of the session to close higher on accelerating volume along with KKD, WEN, JACK, PEET, and YUM.
- GMCR, SBUX, and CBOU all underperformed as coffee prices continue to make headlines.
- YUM’s KFC unit is embroiled in a lawsuit with franchisees over grilled versus fried chicken and a judge has decided that the franchisee council, “has the right to engage in a substantive planning, review and approval process”.
- DRI’s share price gained yesterday, albeit on slowing volume, on the first day of their Investor Conference in Orlando. Red Lobster and Olive Garden comps were strong.
- TXRH was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. The stock declined on accelerating volume.
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The Macau Metro Monitor, February 1, 2011
MONTHLY GROSS REVENUE OF GAMES OF FORTUNE DICJ
Jan GGR hit 18.571BN MOP ($2.3BN USD), up 33.2% YoY.
BOMBARDIER FILES INJUNCTION, GOV'T HALTS LRT CONTRACT Macau Daily Times, macaubusiness.com
Macau Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) said that it ‘must now suspend’ the Light Rail Transit process, following the injunction filed by Canadian manufacturer, Bombardier--one of the LRT bidders. “While reviewing the tender documents of the other bidders we have found several issues that require further investigation,” Bombardier spokesman Marc Laforge said.
The Macau Government has not filed an appeal. GIT said it will announce its next step “in due time,” but doesn't believe the injunction will have a great impact on the project, which was awarded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
NEW VIDEO ADDS DRAMA TO STANLEY HO'S CASE macaubusiness.com
Stanley Ho's lawyer, Gordon Oldham, has released a recorded video that shows Dr. Ho saying he only suspended legal proceedings against several members of his family to give them a chance to reach a settlement that would return all the assets that he considered stolen, in order to resolve the brawl. “I give everyone a chance. We call it a misunderstanding so we can start afresh. I want a fair division among my family. I still maintain equality," said Dr. Ho.
This note was originally published at 8am on January 27, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.
“Someone has to stay on the line and say, no, we can do this by cutting spending and reducing the size of government.”
Last night, Larry Kudlow had an outstanding interview with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. For those of you who still care about this country’s currency and long term fiscal health, I think this is the most positive message we can find from a professional politician in America.
I’ll go through the abominations that are the US Federal Budget Deficit and Global Food Inflation in a minute, but first I want to recap what this American patriot is doing about it at the state level. Christie isn’t hiding behind “the depression” or “the deflation.” He doesn’t waste his time fear-mongering and storytelling like Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke either – he’s bellying up to the battle field, Staying On The Line, and fighting Big Government Spending:
- Cutting Spending – he’s cut 9% of NJ government spending (that’s year-over-year in US Dollars)
- Cutting Corporate Taxes – unlike Illinois, which loves commodity inflation and raising taxes
- Doing More With Less – his spending is smarter and he’s focused on doing a better job with less
Now we can surely have a debate about how screwed up NJ was relative to the rest of America (dropping the corporate tax rate in NJ takes Christie from the 50th highest state in the Union to #48), but the point here is that we have an American leader who isn’t giving political lip-service to being the change we all want to see in this country.
Delivering on political promises isn’t easy. That goes for operating in the asset management industry too. We’ve institutionalized and bureaucratized America’s corporate and government organizations in this country to a point where Staying On The Line and fighting the Fiat Fool headwind is actually quite hard to do. The self interest associated with personal job security in this environment often trumps long term planning and risk management.
So let’s consider the Captain of this country’s possum plan to cut the deficit by $400B over the next 10 years in the context of this massive entitlement of cheap US Dollars and Big Government Spending:
- Analytical Incompetence: The President of the United States’ spending cut plan was based on the wrong base of spending numbers. Immediately after the State of the Union address (where Obama loosely mentioned his $400B plan), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) raised its 3-year budget deficit forecast by over $1 TRILLION dollars. Yes, $400B in cuts were planned using the wrong denominator of spending.
- Deficit Context: Understanding that competent forecasters like Hedgeye Risk Management were already predicting that the CBO’s estimates were 34% too low, this upward revision by the CBO made our estimates look light! Versus the CBO’s August, 2010 estimates (no, that wasn’t too long ago), yesterday’s $3.28 TRILLION 3-year US Budget Deficit forecast was +46% higher! Now you know why Peter Orszag left.
- Being off by a TRILLION matters to Global Markets: Yesterday, post the CBO revision and Bernanke’s FOMC statement pandering to the political wind, we saw the currency market press the Burning Bone to fresh 5-week lows and saw one heck of an inflation trade emerge across equity, commodity, and bond markets intraday.
Now some people think this is “all good” – if you’re short bonds like I am, I agree, inflation is good. If you’re long inflation oriented commodities and equities (Energy stocks (XLE) were up +2.4% and Basic Material stocks (XLB) were up +2.1% yesterday), that’s good too.
If you are the other HALF of Americans (155M people) who don’t have positions in any of this stuff (or HALF of the world’s population that depends on rice as their #1 food staple), well – you can just suck it up. By the way, the inverse correlation between the USD and Rice is currently -0.89%.
Some facts on Global Food Inflation trends from this morning’s headlines:
- The United Nations “strongly advises” not delaying food supplies to Egypt (whose stock market is down -10.3% this morning), Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, etc…
- Bangladesh (that’s another 150M people = the world’s 8th largest population), is DOUBLING rice imports this morning on “panic buying.”
- Turkey (72M people) is seeing short-term Turkish debt get hammered this morning on inflation concerns (2-year yields at 7.97%!).
Now why, in all the parameters of American self-interest, would it serve a long-only US-centric equity or commodity portfolio manager to agree with Ben Bernanke and the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statisitics) that there is no inflation?
That answer, and why the only reading in the free world that doesn’t see inflation (Bernanke’s), are pretty obvious…
But do we think that suspending inflation disbelief by using a conflicted and compromised US government person’s inflation calculation will have the unintended consequences associated with Global Inflation Accelerating cease to exist?
Maybe in the very short run…
And in the long run, Big Government Spending Keynesians will tell you we’ll “all be dead”…
“But we should arrange our earthly affairs, for the short run in which we have to live…” (Ludwig von Mises)
Finally, this morning in Davos, ECB Chief Jean-Claude Trichet admitted he’s not going to continue to be as willfully blind to the inflation as The Ber-nank. He told Bloomberg’s Francine Laqua that “we will do what is necessary… our credibility is based on that doctrine.”
Indeed, Mr. Trichet, indeed. The credibility of a nation’s currency depends on it.
And maybe that’s why the Euro continues to strengthen relative to the Debauched Dollar this morning. God knows their sovereign risks are at least as bad as Illinois’… but God also has real-time quotes and sees that the ECB doesn’t have ZERO percent interest rates. Nor does the ECB have the entrenched broken promise of an “independent” US Federal Reserve in lagging all of Asia and Europe from here in raising interest rates to fight inflation.
Whether it’s fighting this US Budget Deficit or the charlatan storytelling that blue-collar and unemployed Americans see no inflation, I salute those American patriots like Governor Chris Christie who are Staying On The Line.
My immediate-term support and resistance lines for the SP500 are now 1288 and 1300, respectively. For the 1st day since January 18th, I tilted the Hedgeye Portfolio back to the short side yesterday. We now have 9 LONGS and 10 SHORTS.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
In preparation for the BYI FQ2 earnings release tomorrow, we’ve put together the pertinent forward looking commentary from BYI’s FQ1 earnings release/call and subsequent conferences.
Outlook / Guidance/ Forward looking commentary
- “We continue to expect annual systems revenue in the range of 220 million to 235 million, with systems revenue weighted towards the back half of fiscal 2011.”
- “We continue to expect the effective income tax rate for fiscal 2011 will be between 35% and 36.5%. This range does not anticipate extension of the R&D credit nor conclusion of the IRS audit of our 2003 to 2005 income tax returns. In fact, I’m happy to report we have concluded the IRS audit, and we would expect to report a credit later this year.”
- “We will continue to use our working capital prudently to selectively finance customer transactions, pursue acquisitions and expansion opportunities, and repurchase stock.”
- “We are beginning to sense some slight renewed optimism from our customers. This, together with positive feedback from our customers and from players in our focus groups about our new games, the ALPHA 2 technology and our new Pro Series cabinets, leads me to expect that this will translate into customer purchases and increases in our ship shares starting in calendar 2011.”
- “We don’t expect any revenues in Illinois this …fiscal year.”
- “As of September 30, we had placed over 1,200 Cash Spin units, our fastest launch ever, and we haven’t even released this in international markets as yet.”
- “Our games there are earning 150% of floor average, clear evidence of an increased demand by players for our games.”
- “We have received approval for the iDeck and have recently started shipping the Pro Series V22/22 cabinets with the iDeck installed.”
- “Our games are currently in tests with the Italian regulators, and we expect to be able to begin placing games there in the first half of calendar year 2011.”
- [Australia and New South Wales] "We expect to begin selling product in that market early in calendar 2011 as well.”
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