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R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING

February 28, 2010

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH ANECDOTES

  • JCP noted that the company’s collaboration with MANGO is off to good start in locations where the brand is well known by international visitors.  However, they also noted that they are working with MANGO to tweak some of the offerings to help those customers who are not familiar with the offering/price points in an effort to boost familiarity with the brand.  In other words, better performance on the coasts and not so great everywhere else.
  • Keep an eye on the Cosmos, the New York Cosmos that is.  Efforts are underway to revive the legendary NY soccer club that was once the team of Pele.  Interestingly, the brand revitalization (in a very retro way) is in full swing with a collaboration between the team and Umbro recently releasing a 1977 inspired “kit”.  However, the team itself, let alone a stadium to play in, has yet to be determined for the proposed 2013 inaugural season.   This may be one of the more interesting branding experiments we’ve seen in a long time, especially since there’s actually a uniform for a team that does not exist.
  • According to the US Census, total US e-commerce sales were $165.4 billion in 2010, representing a robust increase of 14.8% over 2009.  As a percentage of total retail sales, 2010 put e-commerce at 4.2% up 30 bps from the prior year.  Interestingly, this data suggests an even stronger growth rate than reported by “online” outlets including comScore which suggest total sales increased by 10% for last year.
  • With substantial focus on Under Armour’s endorsement activity of late, it appears the company may have secured another rising talent with the signing of wide receiver Julio Jones last week. Surprising many with his performance at the NFL combine this past weekend, Jones is quickly becoming the talk of the draft and will provide UA with a new face for its fall marketing campaigns.

OUR TAKE ON OVERNIGHT NEWS

TowerBrook set for Jimmy Choo sale - The £400m-£500m sale of Jimmy Choo is poised to kick off next week, with information memoranda circulated to more than 10 potential bidders for the luxury shoemaker.  TowerBrook Capital, the private equity group that bought it for £180m four years ago, is exploring strategic options for the business. TowerBrook has not ruled out other options for Jimmy Choo – known for selling stilettos to the stars under the guidance of Tamara Mellon – such as an initial public offering. But a sale is looking increasingly likely. <FinancialTimes>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   With much of the press over the past several months centered on a potential IPO (as well as growth initiatives including the company’s men’s launch), a private equity transaction would certainly be a surprise. 

 

Judith Leiber’s New Line - Judith Leiber is extending its reach beyond Ladies Who Lunch to encompass girls who party, with the launch of Overture by Judith Leiber. The 15-piece line, produced with licensee Accessory Network Group, will be sold in luxury department stores and Judith Leiber boutiques beginning in the fall, and will be priced between $200 and $700. Overture handbags come in jewel tones like violet and blue, as well as a heavy dose of metallics and leopard print. Though manufactured in a different part of the world than Judith Leiber bags (China, as opposed to Italy) the accessibly priced collection displays an unmistakable Leiber thumbprint. Geometric minaudieres are plentiful and encrusted with crystals, studs and agate geometric designs, and come with cross-body straps, while larger suede day bags are accented with delicate studs. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   In the luxury world of Judith Leiber, this launch represents a major move towards the “mainstream” with price points for the new line being positioned in the triple digits.  Leiber’s traditional price points hover in the thousands, not hundreds.

  

Chrome Hearts Acquires Eyewear Licensee - Chrome Hearts LLC has acquired Optical Shop International, its decade-long eyewear licensee.  Financial terms of the deal, which closes today, weren’t disclosed. During its 10 years as a licensee, OSI expanded Chrome Hearts’ distribution to nearly 60 countries. Chrome Hearts, which won a CFDA accessory designer of the year award in 1992, will “consolidate oversight in all of its key product categories,” allowing for “more cohesion from a design perspective,” said Chrome Hearts co-owner Laurie Stark.  <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Expect to see the gothic, rock luxury brand step up its efforts in eyewear now that the brand is complete control over its distribution.

 

How Will Retailers fare with Google’s New Search Algorithm -  A change this week to Google’s formula for determining search rankings serves as a reminder to online retailers about the importance of including original content on their e-commerce sites. Google doesn’t normally announce tweaks to its search ranking algorithm, and though this change merited a Google blog posting Thursday evening, the details are typically vague. But Google says the changes will affect nearly 12% of searches, and will push sites that the search engine considers higher quality closer to the top of search results. “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low value-add for users, copy content from other web sites or are just not very useful,” according to the blog posting from Amit Singhal, Google fellow, and Matt Cutts, a Google principal engineer.   <InternetRetailer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Sounds like the front page expose of JC Penney’s sketchy search engine optimization tactics have helped to push Google towards making it’s a search environment a more “fair” place.

Strong Demand at CurveNY - The mood was hopeful at the CurveNY trade show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York despite worries over skyrocketing costs for raw materials and labor. A demand for fashion merchandise underscored a growing sense of optimism at the three-day fair which closed Wednesday and was bustling with retailers — even the last day when traffic is traditionally sparse. Retailers left orders for immediate deliveries as well as gift-giving items for Mother’s Day. At the same time, volatile market prices for raw materials as well as production and labor costs accelerated commitments for fall-winter 2011-2012 goods.  <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Accelerated commitments is the call out here – a trend we expect to be confirmed with greater frequency over the coming weeks/months. The offset here is the likelihood that some branded manufacturers are likely to maintain an optimistic bent to full-year guidance through the 1H with the 2H setting up for greater volatility if enhanced order activity proves unsustainable.

Sichuan, China Sets the 12th Five-year Program for Footwear Companies - The footwear sector in Sichuan, China has been discussing the content of the forthcoming 12th five-year programme, with an aim to create CNY10 billion of output value and job opportunities of one million people by 2015, reported the China Leather Industry Association.  The programme has been drafted by the Western Shoe Capital Industrial Park and Economics Institute in Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences and comments are being collected.  Before publication, the document will be submitted to the Provincial Economic Commission for verification.  <FashionNetAsia>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: With the shift of footwear manufacturing towards other Southeast Asian countries underway, Chinese manufacturers will likely target increasing foreign brand interest in ramping sales in the country – particularly athletic brands with an eye on capturing share.

 

India Ducks the Retail Issue - In the run up to India’s budget, expectations were running high that New Delhi would finally bite the bullet on a crucial item of its unfinished reform agenda: opening the “multi-brand retail sector” – commonly known as grocery stores – to foreign participation. But New Delhi still lacks the spine to take such a decision, despite a growing consensus among policy-makers that strengthening organised retail could be an important tool in battling the persistent food price inflation now seen as one of India’s biggest economic challenges. <FinancialTimes>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Clearly not for lack of interest from domestic and other global retailers, it appears that New Delhi is simply delaying the inevitable. However, with food inflation taking hold on the country’s population, it may see increasing pressure from within to open up to multi-brand retailing.