The Macau Metro Monitor, July 27, 2012




There were more people looking for work during the Summer Holiday; consequently, the unemployment rate for April-June 2012 increased slightly to 2.1%, up by 0.1% point respectively from the previous period (March-May 2012).  Total labour force was 346,000 in April-June 2012 and the labour force participation rate stood at 71.9%.  Total employment was 339,000, an increase of 1,300 over the previous period.



We changed our fundamental stance on Starbucks on June 12th.  The reason for this change was a combination of the Hedgeye Macro Team’s call on Global Growth Slowing, the La Boulange acquisition, and our conviction that managing five concepts at once was likely to lead to inefficiency.


Starbucks reported worse-than-expected 3QFY12 earnings after the close.  There were not many positives to salvage from the call other than comps do not look too bad.  Given the unmistakable slowing in trends, however, this is scant consolation.  The macroeconomic environment is playing a role, certainly, but company specific issues are also a factor.   


We will advise our clients to remain on the sidelines until consensus expectations come closer in line with reality.  The Starbucks business model is sensitive to economic volatility.  Additionally, to become bullish on Starbucks again, we would need to see management focus on fewer concepts.  Within its core business, CPG, and its Verissimo home brewer, the company can easily satisfy investor appetite for growth.  Increasing the number of “four-wall” concepts under its umbrella is, in our view, not the correct move at this stage.  Below is a summary of the quarter with some of our takeaways.



  • 4QFY12 revenue growth of 10-12%
  • 4QFY12 EPS of $0.44-0.45, growth of 19-22% versus consensus of $0.48
  • FY13 targeted revenue growth of 10-13%
  • 1,200 net new stores – acceleration in U.S., China, possible acceleration of closures in Europe
  • FY13 EPS of $2.04-$2.14 versus consensus of $2.29, according to Consensus Metrix
  • FY12 impact of commodity costs remains $230mm
  • FY13 is locked for coffee costs through 11 months at favorable prices. ~100m tailwind to operating income
  • FY13 new unit growth of 1,000 stores
    • Americas +500
    • CAP +400
    • EMEA +100

3QFY12 Consolidated

  • 3QFY12 EPS of $0.43 versus $0.45 consensus represented 19% y/y growth
  • Sales increased 13% to $3.3 billion on 6% Global Consolidated comps

HEDGEYE: Consensus was disappointed by 3QFY12 and still needs to lower expectations for FY12 and FY13 to avoid further disappointment.  SBUX is one of the most loved names in the industry; sell-side sentiment has a long way to go.  Margins should pick up going forward as commodity cost pressure on the P&L eases.








  • Comps gained 7% during 3QFY12
  • Slowing trends in June was primary driver behind EPS miss
  • Evolution Fresh drinks in 800+ stores in Seattle, LA, San Diego. Plans to 2x in coming months
  • SBUX operates one of the largest mobile payment programs globally. ~1m U.S. payments/week

SBUX: STILL NOT BEARISH ENOUGH - sbux americas pod1



  • Mgmt “seeing tangible benefits” of ongoing initiatives in the region but “long road” back
  • Seeking to “optimize” portfolio, possibility of increased closures and possible charges

HEDGEYE:  The comps and margins in Europe, obviously, imply a dire situation in that geography for Starbucks.  Despite management’s apparent determination to turn things around there, we feel it is largely out of the company’s hands.  Obviously continuing to operate competitively is crucial, but we believe it could possibly be a sustained period of time before Europe is a meaningful profit-driver again.






  • On track for 1500 stores on mainland China by 2015
  • China representing 1/2 of 400 (up from 300) projected FY12 CAP openings
  • Management believe the brand has “turned the corner” in terms of growth in China
  • Contribution to company profitability 13% YTD versus 9% two years ago

HEDGEYE: This remains a high-margin, high-growth region for Starbucks that seems to be generating a lot of excitement.  Two-year average trends sequentially accelerated in 3QFY12.    





CPG & Other

  • CPG segment reached $1 billion for first time
  • Premium coffee now 50% of total U.S. grocery aisle coffee sales
  • Starbucks brands leading with 28.2% share
  • Advance commitments for Verissimo from retailers bode well for holiday season
  • 15% share of premium single-cup market with more than 230 million cups shipped in 5 months


SBUX: STILL NOT BEARISH ENOUGH - sbux earnings recap



Howard Penney

Managing Director


Rory Green



Facebook, Starbucks and Gold


Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough appeared on CNBC’s Fast Money tonight. Three huge topics dominated the show, and with good reason: Facebook (FB) and Starbucks (SBUX) reported earnings. Panelists also discussed gold.


We’ve owned Starbucks since 2009 – but there is no reason to own it here. Growth is slowing and it’s going to get more expensive for SBUX as a company as sales slow.  This coincides with our #GrowthSlowing macro theme.


The gold case is that Bernanke will retain his job, Draghi will continue what he wants to do. If the US dollar continues to strengthen and gold continues to make lower highs, gold will continue to drop. Pawn shops have felt the heat (CSH, EZPW) from this: lower prices and volumes and gold are putting a squeeze on their earnings.


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FNP: Better Than Expected

About a year ago, Fifth & Pacific (FNP), better known as the former Liz Claiborne, was around $5. Our case for the company was bullish was it looked to cut costs and shed non-performing brands and assets. The stock now trades over $11 a share and has moved from a cost cutting stock to a growth stock. FNP continues to focus on growing core bands and getting the most out of them.


After reporting very good earnings today, it’s clear that Kate Spade is the knockout brand within the company. They’ve experienced hyper growth and comp’d up about 70% last year and this quarter they’ve done +34%. That’s a really strong number. The brand, along with Lucky, has solid strength and continues to perform. Keep in mind that Kate Spade is 50% of the company’s EBIT.



FNP: Better Than Expected - LIZ comps



The one caveat is Juicy Couture, which underperformed a bit weaker, primarily in their accessories business. The issue at hand is that they launched new product in February and it’ll take time to flush out the old product and bring in the new. We expect a turn in Juicy come the back half of 2012.


We remain bullish on all durations: TRADE, TREND and TAIL. This stock should be $25 and we think it could double within a year from its current ($11) number, but not necessarily in a straight line.


In an effort to evaluate performance and as a follow up to our YouTube, we compare how the quarter measured up to previous management commentary and guidance




  • LITTLE WORSE:  Last quarter, HOT thought that 2012 was more likely to surprise to the upside than downside.  Given the larger FX headwinds and weakness in Europe, Argentina, Canada and greater deceleration in China, it now looks like things are trending at the mid-point of their expectation.   


HOT 2Q REPORT CARD - 7 26 2012 9 51 53 AM 



  • SAME: US RevPAR picked up to 7.9% in 2Q. Rate growth of 4.8% accounted for 60% of RevPAR growth.
    • "Primarily driven by rates, we expect RevPAR growth momentum to be sequentially stronger from Q1 to Q2." 
    • "Rate in the first quarter was roughly 50/50 and we're heading towards more like a 60%-plus rate to occupancy mix as we head into the latter part of the year."
    • "Occupancies are getting to the point where rates should begin to move more than it has to date.


  • LITTLE WORSE:  "Corporate momentum remains robust, group pace is tracking in the mid- single digits" There was a lot less discussion surrounding the strength of group bookings on this call.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "We're now booking on the group side is clearly at a much higher rate. Recent group bookings have been at rate increases that are in the range of 7%, 8%, 9%."


  • BETTER:  HOT expects an even better outcome from 2013 corporate rate negotiations compared to the rate increases realized this year.
  • PREVIOUSLY: "Corporate negotiated rates always take a little while to catch up, but they are beginning to catch up. We've had some rate increases in the negotiated rates. The corporate negotiated rate business that we're getting this year is 6%-plus more than last year."


  • SAME:  Low supply growth continues to offset the impact of the "new normal" 1-2% economic growth.  Corporate profits remain healthy and they have had no indication of plans to cut back on travel.
  • PREVIOUSLY: "Commercial real estate loans in general and especially construction loans continue to decline. So supply is tight and it looks set to stay that way for a while, but demand in North America, Europe and Japan has continued to build. Companies are profitable and in great financial shape and they're in search of growth."


  • WORSE:  Trends in Europe must have deteriorated since April.  European RevPAR grew 2.3% in constant currency and was down 8% in actual dollars.  Expect a slow and steady improvement in the business with 3Q getting a boost from the Olympics and the strong dollar driving leisure travel from the US.
  • PREVIOUSLY: "Despite continuing concerns around the outcome of the French election or Spain's refinancing needs, we are seeing improving business trends in our key European markets. These trends would suggest that RevPAR growth in Q2 should approach 4% in local currencies from under 2% in Q1. We are currently tracking at a 4% level in April."


  • SLIGHTLY WORSE: Asian RevPAR picked up from 6.7% in 1Q12 to 9.3% in 2Q 2012, but didn't quite get to those double-digit rates that HOT had hoped for. Expect the 2H to come in at the high end of their 6-8% WW range.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "We expect a sequential acceleration in Q2, with RevPAR growth returning to a double-digit pace."


  • BETTER:  2Q RevPAR in this region increased to 11.2% from 2.3% last quarter
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "In the Middle East and Africa, we saw big jumps in RevPAR in March, as North Africa started to lap the start of Arab Spring events of last year. However, in absolute terms, business is still weak in countries like Egypt, where the situation remains unsettled for travel. Saudi and the Gulf, on the other hand, are on a strong cyclical recovery track, and sub-Saharan Africa is delivering solid double-digit growth. As a result, we expect RevPAR growth to accelerate in this region in Q2."


  • WORSE:  Since 1Q, Latin America has lost its momentum.  It was HOT's second slowest region with RevPAR growth of 6.1%. The slowdown in Latin America was attributed to instability in Argentina, which is expected to get worse in 2H12 and continue to drag down RevPAR for that region. 
  • PREVIOUSLY: "All indications are that Latin America will remain our fastest growing region."


  • SAME:  HOT has not see any development delays in their 100 hotel pipeline. YTD signings have picked up to 30 new hotels vs. 27 last year.
  • PREVIOUSLY: "Although there have been concerns about the real estate sector in China, the pace of hotel signings and openings remains steady and strong, especially in tier two and tier three markets, where we have been focused for the past few years."


  • BETTER:  HOT closed on 60% of the condo units at Bal Harbour through 2Q
  • PREVIOSULY:  "To date, we have closed on 138 condo units, 102 this year and 36 last year. 32 units have been sold but not yet closed. As such, the project will be over 50% sold and closed by the end of this quarter."


  • BETTER:  They still have several assets where sale discussions are underway and they expect to close on a few by the end of the year.  However, management stated that they were more discussions underway with potential buyers than there were 3 months ago.
  • PREVIOUSLY: "In terms of assets sales, we are always exploring opportunities to sell our owned hotels at attractive prices to high quality, long-term owners. We have several conversations currently underway. We expect some or all of these transactions to close later this year."


  • BETTER:  HOT repurchased 2.84MM shares for $140MM during 2Q through July 25th
  • PREVIOUSLY: We have a share buyback authorization already; we've had it for a while. I think the timing of our share buyback is going to be linked more to assessment of intrinsic value than any kind of trigger around asset sales and so on."


  • BETTER:  HOT got BBB ratings from 2 rating agencies this quarter. Goal of keeping the rating through cycles remains.
  • PREVIOUSLY:  "Our goal is to stay investment grade through cycles. We're there with the next paydown. We pretty much brought our debt down to levels where we want it to be. We think, over time, the ratings will all line up at BBB."

Bearish On Pawns

In mid-July, we published notes detailing our bearish case for the pawn shops. Most notable, we were bearish on EZ Pawn (EZPW), First Cash Financial Services (FCFS) and Cash America (CSH).


EZPW recently reported its quarterly earnings and missed by 7 cents of the consensus 62 cents. More importantly, the main driver of the miss was falling gold volume and price tailwinds abating. We’ve been reiterating that pawn shops were going to have a hard time going forward with the way gold is performing.



Bearish On Pawns  - PAWNS yoychange



CSH has an even more disastrous quarter, missing revenue by 10%.  From Hedgeye Managing Director of Financials Josh Steiner:


If EZPW's quarter was bad, CSH's was a disaster.  The company's revenue missed expectations by 10%. While the earnings miss wasn't as severe, they more than made up for it in the magnitude of guidance downside. They guided to 3Q earnings of $0.95-1.05 vs. consensus of $1.26: a 20% guide-down based on the midpoint. Similarly, they guided to implied 4Q earnings of $1.06-1.41 (midpoint $1.23) vs. consensus of $1.45, a 15% guide-down. On balance, the back half of the year was just taken down by 17.5%, which is about what the stock is off by: 19%, as of the time of this writing.”


Steiner says it all. These shops relied too much on the “BUY GOLD!” boom that swept the nation and are now feeling the macro effects of a stronger dollar.

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