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Takeaway: Not a good start for Retail Sales data. Holiday hiring plans are both anemic and backward-looking. Also...JNY GIL ANF URBN LVMH PIR TGT

ECONOMIC DATA


Not a good week for Retail Sales data so far, as the ICSC yy % change clocked in at +1.6%, matching the lowest reading since May. We traditionally see a strong sequential uptick in week 38, but someone forgot to tell the consumer. Let’s see if the chilly start to Fall helps next week’s data.

What’s New Today in Retail (9/24) - 2222222222222222

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COMPANY NEWS

WMT, TGT, KSS - U.S. Retailers’ Holiday Hiring Seen Falling 6.9%

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-23/u-s-retailers-holiday-hiring-seen-falling-6-9-.html)

  • "Holiday hiring by U.S. retailers may fall about 6.9 percent this year as shaky consumer confidence and more efficient store practices reduce demand for seasonal workers, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc."
  • "Retailers will hire about 700,000 temporary staff this year, down from 751,800 last year, the Chicago-based employment consulting firm said today in a statement. Last year’s hiring was a 12-year high and up 14 percent from 2011, the firm said."
  • "Wal-Mart said today that it would boost holiday hiring to 55,000, a 10 percent increase from last year’s 50,000 seasonal hires. The company also will move 35,000 workers to full-time status from part-time and another 35,000 to part-time from temporary."
  • "[TGT] said in a post on its website last week last week it would take on about 70,000 workers, 20 percent fewer than a year earlier."
  • "[KSS] said last week that it plans to hire about 53,000 workers for the holiday season. That number will include 6,400 seasonal positions at distribution centers and about 40 workers per store…"

Takeaway: We find it interesting that employment will be down this holiday, despite the fact that the retailers will be going up against very easy sales compares from a poor 2012 holiday. Seems very backward-looking.

JNY - Kravis pushing to buy Jones Group

(http://nypost.com/2013/09/23/kravis-pushing-to-buy-jones-group/)

  • "...KKR  is pushing, along with a partner to cut a deal as soon as this week to buy Jones Group...The Post has learned."
  • "'The goal is to have it wrapped up before the deadline' for second-round bids, according to a source close to the process, noting that the deadline is this week….KKR covets Jones’s fast-growing footwear brands, including Kurt Geiger and Brian Atwood, according to insiders briefed on the auction. Sycamore is circling Jones’s aging women’s-apparel brands, including Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i., sources said."

GIL - Gildan Announces Planned Major Investment in Further New U.S. Vertical Yarn-Spinning Facilities

(https://www.streetaccount.com/pressrelease.aspx?ticker=GIL.CN&intraday_id=1363729)

  • "Gildan Activewear...announced today that it is evaluating potential sites in the Southern U.S. for the construction of two additional yarn-spinning facilities, to support its projected sales growth and further reinforce its position as a global low-cost manufacturer."
  • "The Company currently expects to invest in excess of U.S. $200 million during fiscal 2014 and 2015 for the construction and ramp up of these new facilities. This investment will be made in addition to the investments announced on November 29, 2012 for a new ring-spun yarn manufacturing facility in Salisbury, N.C., and the refurbishment and modernization of the Company's open-end facilities in Clarkton, N.C. and Cedartown, GA."

Takeaway: Surprising that GIL would look to build in the US. Perhaps it is tapped in Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

ANF - Abercrombie & Fitch pays out $71,000 to settle lawsuits over hijabs

(http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/23/abercrombie-fitch-lawsuits-hijabs-head-scarves)

  • "The clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has agreed to make religious accommodations and allow workers to wear head scarves as part of a settlement of discrimination lawsuits filed in California, lawyers announced Monday."
  • "In court papers filed on Friday, Abercrombie agreed to pay the women a combined $71,000 and unspecified attorney fees. Additionally, it has established an appeals process for workers who believe they were denied religious accommodations."

Takeaway: ANF continues its streak as being one of the worst equal opportunity employers on the planet.

KER - Puma Renews Contract with Usain Bolt

(http://www.sportsonesource.com/news/article_home.asp?Prod=1&section=8&id=48089)

 

  • "Puma has signed a renewed endorsement contract with the World's Fastest Man, Usain Bolt. Having partnered with the Jamaican World and Olympic Champion since he was sixteen years old, this new deal will see Puma work with Usain through and beyond the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio."

Takeaway: This is the biggest ‘no-brainer’ renewal in the sports marketing business. KER’s worst day will be if Nike wakes up and decides it wants Bolt in its stable of athletes. It looks like that won’t be an issue for another 3-years.

URBN - Urban Outfitters' New App Strategy: Be Cool

(http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-24/urban-outfitters-new-app-strategy-be-cool)

  • "The company’s latest effort to strike the right balance is its new rewards program and the social networking-style app that goes with it."
  • "The app asks users to upload a photo, customize the display background, and fill in a few personal details. Then it syncs with users’ social networks and distributes reward points when users mentioning the brand on Twitter or Instagram. It also gives credit to those who respond to in-app promotions such as a prompt to buy a vinyl record (a major part of Urban Outfitters’ inventory). The rewards give users a range of perks, including advance warning on sales and early access to popular merchandise and concert tickets."
  • "While only Web orders over $50 are shipped for free, every product purchased via the app will be delivered gratis."
  • "Urban Outfitters will also be able to recognize when shoppers are inside a store, though the company is still trying to decide how aggressively it will ping users with location-based offers and information."

TGT - Target launches 'baby experience program' in select Chicago stores

(http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/article/219783/Target-launches-baby-experience-program-in-select-Chicago-stores)

  • "Target announced this week the launch of an enhanced baby experience program in 10 existing Chicago-area stores."
  • "The test program aims to create a more compelling shopping experience — with an emphasis on in-store service — through a redesigned layout, the service of Baby Advisors and interactive digital content and expert advice in partnership with the parenting resource BabyCenter, the announcement said."

SPCHA - Sport Chalet Hires Bank to Scout Strategic Partners 

(http://www.sportsonesource.com/news/article_home.asp?Prod=1&section=9&id=48087)

  • "Sport Chalet, Inc. engaged Capello Capital Corp. to scout strategic partners who can help the California-based sporting goods retailer accelerate its strategic plan, which includes rolling out a new store format, growing online sales and beefing up its data analytics."

LVMH - City of Light Casts Shadow on Sephora's Late Hours

(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303983904579093212255489586.html?mod=ITP_marketplace_0)

  • "…LVMH...said Monday that it would fight for the right to continue keeping its flagship Sephora perfume and cosmetics store open late at night, after a Paris appeals court ruled that it must close at 9 p.m."
  • "The appeals court said the chain breached work-time regulations by hosting customers until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends at its store on the famous Paris avenue. Under the ruling, the store will be obliged to begin closing its doors earlier within 10 days, Sephora said."
  • "Advocates of more-limited hours argue that allowing employees to work late or on Sundays can hurt the country's social fabric, preventing families from spending time together…Recently unions have been filing complaints against retailers for staying open late on the avenue or elsewhere in the city. The union cited grocery store Monoprix as well as Apple…"

LVMH - Louis Vuitton Taps Accessories Designer Darren Spaziani

(http://www.wwd.com/accessories-news/leather-goods/louis-vuitton-taps-accessories-designer-darren-spaziani-7181023?module=hp-topstories)

  • "The luxury giant has tapped accessories designer Darren Spaziani to spearhead new lines of 'very high-end' leather goods to complement existing collections…"
  • Spaziani, who worked at Vuitton from 2004 to 2006, was most recently director of accessories design at Proenza Schouler...He has also been design director of accessories at Balenciaga in Paris and a design consultant for Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch in New York. He is to start on Oct. 1…"

Nicole Miller - Nicole Miller Eyed by Suitors

(http://www.wwd.com/business-news/mergers-acquisitions/nicole-miller-eyed-by-suitors-7181069?module=hp-topstories)

  • " Bud Konheim, chief executive officer of Nicole Miller , has...engaged Mary Ann Domuracki, managing director at investment bank Financo, and is directing would-be investors toward her."
  • "'We have been bombarded here with guys trying to buy the business...It’s escalated because it’s obviously very hot."
  • Nicole Miller runs an e-commerce site, its own doors and "has myriad wholesale accounts, including a 600-door engagement with J.C. Penney Co. Inc. — has $450 million to $500 million in retail sales…"

PIR - Pier I Imports names former J.C. Penney exec as executive VP of marketing

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/pier-i-imports-names-former-jc-penney-exec-executive-vp-marketing)

  • "Pier 1 Imports has named Eric Hunter as executive VP of marketing, responsible for the company’s brand image and integrated marketing efforts. He most recently served as senior VP of marketing and acting chief marketing officer for J.C. Penney Co…"

VRA - EVP Global Operations resigns from position

(http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1495320/000119312513374711/d602094d8k.htm)

  • Vera Bradley's EVP - Global Operations has resigned from his position at the company to become the CEO at Shindigz. He will be with the company until 10/21/2013.

 

GIII - Jeanette Nostra resigns as President of G-III Apparel Group

  • "Jeanette Nostra resigned her position as President of G-III Apparel Group...Ms. Nostra will remain employed by the Company, supporting the building of the Company’s international business and global product development for the Company’s Vilebrequin business. In addition, on September 19, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Company... appointed Morris Goldfarb, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, as the President of the Company, and elected Ms. Nostra to serve as a member of the Board effective as of September 19, 2013."

INDUSTRY NEWS

Bangladesh Garment Protests Enter Fourth Day

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-23/two-hundred-bangladesh-factories-shut-on-labor-unrest.html)

  • "Bangladesh labor protests entered a fourth day after overnight negotiations failed to end a dispute over low wages as garment factory owners reopened plants that supply companies including Wal-Mart…"
  • "Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan met last night with factory owners and labor leaders in an effort to end demonstrations that forced about 400 of the country’s 5,000 garment factories to close yesterday."
  • "[H&M]... joined the IndustriALL Global Union in backing the workers’ pursuit of increased compensation. 'We strongly support the workers demand for higher wages,' H&M spokeswoman Andrea Roos said by e-mail. 'Bangladesh is an important sourcing market for H&M and we have on various occasions and also together with other clothing companies, urged the government to raise minimum wages in the textile industry and to revise wages annually.'"
  • "IndustriALL supports the workers’ 'justified demands,' Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, said in an e-mail."

China Said to Lift "Great Firewall" in Shanghai

(http://www.wwd.com/media-news/fashion-memopad/chin-said-to-lift-great-firewall-in-shanghai-7181486?module=hp-topstories)

  • China is set to lift its "Great Firewall" and allow Internet users within Shanghai's new Free-trade Zone to access foreign websites and social media services such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a report in the South China Morning Times."
  • "Shanghai's proposed Free-Trade Zone – which is expected to launch on September 29 – will encompass almost 30-square-kilometers in the city's industrialized east. Strongly backed by new Premier Li Keqiang, the zone will create a Hong Kong-like area within Mainland China for more liberal trade, subject to less financial and business regulation than the rest of the country."

 NPD: Year-To-Date Apparel Sales Up 3.6%

(http://www.wwd.com/retail-news/trends-analysis/npd-year-to-date-apparel-sales-up-36-7181455?module=hp-topstories)

  • Here's a release from NPD about apparel sales YTD through July. It's dated, but the relative change by category is interesting nonetheless.
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