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Retail: Mess in the Middle

 

September sales came in ahead of expectations, but the fact that top-line strength doesn’t simply translate to commensurate bottom-line growth is becoming increasingly evident this morning. As suggested in yesterday’s note, ‘Retail: Pre-announcement Time,’ we are beginning to see an increasing rate of downward revisions in the space from the likes of JCP, WSTLA, and CBK. Yeh, we know…not exactly the crème de la crème. But we’re seeing pressure elsewhere as well – particularly in the mid-consumer zone. The higher end consumer continues to defy gravity and logic, with healthy comps at SKS, JWN and M (good for RL). Other signs of mounting margin pressure include COST posting better than expected comps yet missing earnings and KSS reducing its earnings outlook in a similar fashion yet citing a change in lease accounting for the entire difference. We still think that there will be an increased bifurcation between upward and downward revisions in retail over the next quarter, and throughout 2012.

 

Keep in mind, product today is sourced from the period when cotton costs were at the peak. But also when order levels where off by 10% with pricing up commensurately. These results show that -- at least in the mid-tier -- prices are not sticking, but at the higher end (JWN, SKS, and to a lesser extent M) they are. This trend will hold at a minimum through Spring when costs improve on the margin.

 

But that's when 2 things happen...

  1. More units will flow through the pipe based on the increased order trends we’re seeing today. What do we mean? This industry is extremely fragmented, and the buyers rarely employ a Macro process in their buying/ordering behavior. So over the summer their thought process sounded something like “If I could sell though above plan at a 10% price hike, I’ll take up orders by 5-10% in the Spring/Summer of 12 at the same price or better and make even more money.” (kind of like a farmer's 'chase the market' planting strategy). Translation = this really doesn’t work.
  2. At that time we’ll have to deal with JCP rolling the dice with EDLP strategy without yet having the product (sans Liz) to back it up).  We’ll also have KSS’ competitive response. JCP accounts for around 8% of the industry’s sales – KSS is another 9%. KSS is also licking its chops over what should be the mother of all sloppy transitions from Ullman to Johnson. 

A few additional callouts in September:

  • High/Low-end performance bifurcation persists. Within department stores, JWN +10.7%, SKS +9.3%, M +4.9% outperformed while BONT -3.6%, SSI -0.7%, and JCP -0.6% all underperformed. KSS +4.1% and TJX +4% came out somewhere in the middle.
  • Online performance continues to be another important callout for department store retailers heading into the holidays. Macy’s DTC channels (macys.com and bloomingdales.com) accelerated up +43% while JCP’s online business continued to decline down -3.8%. This channel continues to be a key pillar of strength for retailers not named JCP and remains a critical structural disadvantage for the retailer near-term.
  • TGT was a notable positive callout with comps coming in better than expected (+5.3% vs. +3.8%) driven largely by its PFresh initiative as well as turn in its home category for the first time in 12 months leaving hardlines as the only negative category. Retailers with exposure to grocery continue to post strong sales (TGT up mid-teen and COST up double-digits), however, we need to be mindful not to simply extrapolate stronger top-line sales given a lower margin profile for consumables.
  • Lastly, while GPS was able to fend off posting its third straight sales day disappointment (barely), its International business came in down -13% compared to -9% in August. Isn’t a growth engine supposed to go the other way?

The bottom line is that you upretty much want to avoid anything that remotely touches the mid-tier of the US market.

 

Shorts: JCP, SHLD, UA, HBI

Longs: TGT, NKE, LIZ, RL

 

Retail: Mess in the Middle - Total SSS Oct 11

 

Retail: Mess in the Middle - 1 year comps Oct 2011

 

Retail: Mess in the Middle - 2 yr comps oct 2011

 

Retail: Mess in the Middle - TGT Sales Grid Oct 2011

 

 


BYI: WE’VE GOT THAT GOOD FEELING

 

BYI shines at G2E and dare we say, there is actually earnings visibility.

 


Our BYI thesis (formulated post FQ4 punt) was that improved systems visibility and growth would be the delta versus the industry beginning in Q3 FY2012 while significantly lower guidance set the bar low enough for meet and beats (see our note, "BYI 4Q POSTVIEW" 08/04/11).  Well, systems visibility remains fairly high and now it looks like BYI may actually beat the September quarter.  The Street is at $0.42 and we think $0.45 is the better number.

 

 

Meanwhile, our G2E takeaways were quite positive for BYI.  Management seemed more bullish on the outlook than we have seen in some time.  Their new games seem to be doing well in the field.  They may finally getting some traction with iVIEW DM which could meaningfully enhance their already strong recurring revenues.

 

 

 

Here are our notes from G2E:

 

Emerging technologies:

  • iDeck: gives you much more functionality on the games like Pirate Quest. iDeck is like iPad for new game mechanics
  • Alpha 2: 3D hardware tracks your head movements to give you a perfect visual perspective.  Biometrics will let you personalize the games to each player.
  • Total Blast: an example of a game that links the land base casino to social networking sites like Facebook. It has a skill-based bonus game that awards prizes.  The game aims to attract a younger demographic. 
  • BYI interactive:  BYI will integrate information from from online and land based play so casinos can have a complete view of their players activity. BYI is in the process of building online casino portal sites for their clients that will promote free play when casino patrons are not at the facility (similar to WMS) in the US and possibly for pay play internationally where internet gambing is legal.  In the next 12 months, BYI's plans to go live with an international site first.  When players make any changes online those changes will appear when they play at at the casino.  The online sites will also allow players to post stats on Facebook starting at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Generally they are much more methodical about player testing than they were in the past.

Systems

  • TableView:
    • Can recognize and count how much is being played. It  allows casinos to track players, average bets sizes, dealer productivity and allows pit managers to yield manage.  BYI's Tableview is not an RFID technology so casinos need not replace chips and tables. The new technology add on's are scheduled to be commercialized over the next 12 months.
  • Business Intelligence (all approved):  New product which helps create and measure the performance of various marketing campaigns by allowing casinos to create which segment players, offers, offer costs, and effective dates of the campaigns.  This will allow casinos to estimate the profitability and review actual vs estimated productivity of each marketing program.  Product will allow casinos to see which machines are played by the people that got offers and track back where the people came from as well. 
  • Quintile analysis: Will track popularity and profitability of slot machines. By changing the denomination, slot managers will be able to predict the profitability of machines and therefore better yield manage the floor.
  • Key Kiosk:  Replaces player cards without having to go to a live casino representative and allows the casino to market to customers on the spot.
  • STM (service tracking manager): messages tech support with any issues and service requests and directs them to the appropriate client/location. It also prioritizes customer service.
  • Elite Bonusing Suite:
    • Virtual Racing promotional event: goal is to drive more rated play and coin in.  Coin-in increased by 15-17% when the tournaments were run at the test site.  Any game can be converted into a tournament game regardless of manufacturer.
  • Cost of an iVIEW DM:
    • List price of $2K
    • 1x Standard license fee of $

    • Maintenance fee: 18-20% of the license fee

    • Elite bonusing suite software: $

  • iVIEW DM content available today:

    • Virtual racing
    • Tournaments
    • Uspin (cash, prizes, etc) different types of spinning wheels.
    • Information banner on screen bottom.
    • Almost ready: Watching fights/games/etc - little harder since it requires high speed streaming video which many casinos lack
  • iVIEW DM Units deployed ~1,600 currently but they are rolling out at several sites
    • Mohegan (has 6k slots in total)
    • BCLC (12,000 VLTs in total)
    • Caesars: Initially just at Horseshoe but potentially at many more properties
  • Other Canada contracts are 6 months behind

For sale Games

  • All for sale games: Alpha 2 Pro Series V32 and Pro Curve
    • Pro Curve: curved LCD with a touch screen over it.  This year, they have 10 new game mechanics on the Curve and 17 titles which will ready in 6 months
    • Some new game features include Stacked Wilds and Ratcheting Wilds
    • They can do more things video wise.   They also have a 3 reel Curve similar to BYI's 3 Reel mechanicals
  • New interactive games: Fishing for Loot and Total Blast
    • Fishing for Loot has a male and female version. Total Blast  has a video game like feature in the bonus round with a the appearance of skill based element.

Game operations

  • Wheel products are doing great.  In general, BYI is starting to stagger the content for game operations WAPs to minimize cannibalisation
  • BYI acquired 2 new brands: Michael Jackson and Grease
    • Michael Jackson is the first surround chair for BYI.  It also has a U-Spin feature.  Michael Jackson release targeted for calendar Q2 2012.  Grease is designed by Cash Wizard designer ( which already has an install base of 700-800).  Grease has 7 bonus rounds and will be customized at each casino.  Target release date for Grease is Calendar Q1 2012.
  • Over 2K cash spins out there (U-Spin/Cash Spin)
  • The concept is you can have skill in appearance but it still has to be random, at least where cash prizes are at stake.  Atari Pong was approved but didn't get traction since the machines were not ergonomically popular. iDeck helps solve some of the issues Pong had.
  • Their new boxes, even the top boxes, are 100% digital - making the replacement of titles much more seamless

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED

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Initial Claims Give Back Some of the Gains

Initial claims rose 10k last week to 401k (+6k net of the upward revision to the prior week).  This is a partial retracement of the prior week's 32k decline.  Quarter-end generally involves significant seasonality, and the Department of Labor noted last week that technical factors related to seasonal adjustment fueled the decline.  

 

Challenger announced job cuts, out earlier this week, paint a very negative picture for initial claims going forward.  Job cuts rose to 115,730, up 211% YoY.  These job cuts will flow through initial claims over the coming months.  

 

Bigger picture, monetary stimulus has had a tight correlation to improving initial claims. The lack of further easing from the Fed means that this tailwind is now gone.  With further fiscal stimulus also off the table, we expect that initial claims will reflect growing weakness.  

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - rolling

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - raw

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - nsa

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - announced job cuts

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - sp

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - fed

 

2-10 Spread Remains a Headwind

The current rate environment remains very difficult for bank margins. The 2-10 spread tightened 11 bps in the last week to 162 bps.  

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - 2 10 Yield Spread

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - 2 10 Sequential Change

 

Subsector Performance

The table below shows the performance of financial subsectors over various durations.

 

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE, THOUGH BY LESS THAN EXPECTED - Subsector Performance

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Allison Kaptur

 

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Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.

THE HBM: CMG, RT, PFCB

THE HEDGEYE BREAKFAST MONITOR

 

MACRO

 

Employment

 

Initial jobless claims came in at 401k vs expectations of 410k and last week’s revised 395k.

 

THE HBM: CMG, RT, PFCB - initial claims

 

 

SUBSECTOR PERFORMANCE

 

The continuing decline in corn prices is fueling the outperformance of the food processor stocks.

 

THE HBM: CMG, RT, PFCB - subsector fbr

 

 

QUICK SERVICE

 

CMG: Chipotle Mexican Grill was downgraded to Market Perform by William Blair and also to Sell by Miller Tabek. 

 

 

CASUAL DINING

 

RT: Ruby Tuesday is down 12% premarket after announcing poor 1QFY12 earnings last night.  EPS was in line with expectations at $0.05 but company-operated same-store sales decline -4.1% versus expectations of -2.1%.  The company said it now expects EPS for FY12 earnings to be 60 to 75 cents versus the street at 75 cents.  Management highlighted the “aggressive competitive promotional environment with heavy advertising levels”.   We believe EAT is causing RT some problems.

 

THE HBM: CMG, RT, PFCB - RT POD1

 

 

PFCB: P.F. Chang’s was downgraded to Market Perform by William Blair. 

 

THE HBM: CMG, RT, PFCB - stocks 106

 

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

Rory Green

Analyst


THE M3: ANGELA LEONG COMMENTS; GOLDEN WEEK; NON-GAMING

The Macau Metro Monitor, October 6, 2011

 

 

SJM CALLS FOR RELAXATION ON IMPORTED LABORS Jornal do Cidadao

Angela Leong, Managing Director of SJM Holdings suggested that the Macau government should relax labor controls for service, hotel and retail industries to facilitate the gaming sector to employ more local talents, and to introduce sound labor policies and organize training for locals to support Macau’s future development.  She added that the lift of casino entry age to 21 will forbid some young people from working in casinos, which might be unfair to them.

 

In response to reports that Stanley Ho has sold all his stakes in SJM Holdings, Angela Leong said she often increased stakes in SJM, reflecting her confidence in the gaming operator and the industry. She revealed that SJM is waiting for the government's approval of its Cotai project and she expects the construction of the project to start next year.

 

GOLDEN WEEK HOLIDAY ATTRACTS FEWER TOUR GROUPS Macau Daily News

Tourist industry insider says fewer tour groups visited Macau during National Day holiday as compared with last year due to expensive hotel rooms and higher costs of tour groups.  The cost of traveling to Macau has increased.

 

NUMBER OF MAINLAND TOURIST ARRIVALS IN GOLDEN WEEK Macau Daily News

Over 130,000 mainland tourists border crossing were recorded by the Zhuhai authority at three ports at the Zhuhai‐Macau border on the third day of the National Day holidays.  Over 420,000 mainland tourists were on vacation in Macau in the first three days of the Golden Week holiday. 

 

ALLOCATION OF GAMING TABLES BASED ON NON-GAMING ELEMENTS Macau Daily News

Secretary Tam says that the government will use gaming table quota as an incentive to encourage casino operators to add non‐gaming elements. The proportion of non‐gaming elements will be taken into account when deciding the future distribution of gaming tables.


THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - October 4, 2011

 

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 73 points or -3.94% downside to 1099 and 2.44% upside to 1172

 

SECTOR AND GLOBAL PERFORMANCE

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - levels 106

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - daily sector view

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - global performance

 

 

EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • ADVANCE/DECLINE LINE: 1427 (633)
  • VOLUME: NYSE 1194.51 (-28%)
  • VIX:  37.81 -7.4% YTD PERFORMANCE: +113.01%
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.76 from 2.00 (-12%)

 

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • TED SPREAD: 38.36
  • 3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: 0.00%
  • 10-Year: 1.90 from 1.89     
  • YIELD CURVE: 1.64 from 1.63

 

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 8 a.m.: RBC Consumer Outlook Index,
  • 8:30 a.m.: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 410k
  • 9:45 a.m.: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, est. -52.0
  • 10:30 a.m.: EIA natural gas
  • 11 a.m.: Fed’s Fisher speaks in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 11:30 a.m.: U.S. to sell $10b 5-day cash mgmt bills
  • U.S. announces 3-yr, 10-yr, 30-yr auction sizes

 

 WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away; Apple lower in European trading
  • Retailers report monthly sales; Retail Metrics sees 4.9% gain on delayed back-to-school shopping
  • BOE and ECB are both expected to leave their key interest rates unchanged; Jean Trichet presides over his final meeting
  • EC President Jose Barroso said the commission is proposing coordinated action to recapitalize banks
  • Microsoft said to be nowhere close to making a bid for Yahoo!
  • Geithner to tell House Financial Services Committee Europe debt crisis poses risk to global growth
  • HTC reports record profit on emerging markets demand
  • No IPOs expected to price today

 

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION                                                                    

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - daily commodity view

 

 

MOST POPULAR COMMODITY HEADLINES FROM BLOOMBERG:

  • World Food Prices Fell for Third Month on Slumping Grains
  • Hermes Fund Sees Biggest Rebound in Gold, Grains: Commodities
  • Copper Advances as European Officials May Contain Debt Crisis
  • Farmland Seen Returning Up to 12% by U.S. Pensions Manager
  • Oil Rises a Second Day After U.S. Stockpile Drop, Jobs Increase
  • Corn Gains for Second Day as Informa Cuts Forecast for U.S. Crop
  • Gold Gains a Second Day as Europe Debt Woes Spur Investor Demand
  • Sugar Climbs as Lower Price May Spur Demand; Coffee Advances
  • Coffee Crop in Vietnam Region to Jump 10% as Quality Gains
  • Thailand’s Rice-Buying Plan Will Spur Economy, Yingluck Says
  • Oil’s Best See No Reversing Worst Run Since 2008: Energy Markets
  • New Hope Proves Exception to Coal Deals Returning Dust: Real M&A
  • Coal Price Signals Opportunity in Stock Plunge: Chart of the Day

 

CURRENCIES                                                                             

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - daily currency view

 

 

EUROPEAN MARKETS

 

DAX – this move higher in German stocks is much more consequential than anything being squeezed in Asia or the US; the immediate-term TRADE line for the DAX that KM has been flagging = 5439; watch that line closely because it gives you plenty of information on what rumor is coming down the pike next. KM would not short Germany if that line holds.

 

EURO – interestingly, but not surprisingly, the Euro is up this morning on Barosso’s Bazooka comments (read them); problem there is timing (there is no timing!) and it will be very interesting to see if the Euro can get above a short-term line of 1.34 resistance if the Dutch vote down an expansion of the bazooka later on today.

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - euro performance

 

 

ASIAN MARKETS

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - asia performance

 

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - MIDEAST PERFORMANCE

 

 

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

 


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