What’s New Today in Retail (9/24)

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


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

What’s New Today in Retail (9/24) - 333333333333333333





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



  • "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



  • "...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



  • "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



  • "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



  • "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



  • "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



  • "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 



  • "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



  • "…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



  • "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



  • " 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



  • "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



  • 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."




Bangladesh Garment Protests Enter Fourth Day



  • "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



  • 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%



  • Here's a release from NPD about apparel sales YTD through July. It's dated, but the relative change by category is interesting nonetheless.
  • What’s New Today in Retail (9/24) - 4444444444444

Buy the Dip! Not.

Client Talking Points


We've said it before here at Hedgeye, and we'll say it again: Respect is earned, not allocated. Over in Germany, Angela Merkel doesn’t have a bunch of Fed heads running around like chickens with their heads cut off making conflicting speeches to manic media people now does she? The DAX “correction” looked nothing like that in the S&P 500. Both DAX, the FTSE and Nikkei are all looking better now than S&P 500. Why not buy them instead?


With the two greatest threats to Americans at the pump (Syria and Ben Bernanke) finally out of the headline news this morning, Brent is snapping my long-term TAIL risk line of $108.57. That is new. It's also a very good thing on the margin. We need it.


Mr. Bernanke thinks that down rates is a good thing. Neither I nor the stock market agree. Falling rates is a leading indicator for #GrowthSlowing, and so is a Yield Spread (10-year minus 2-year) that just compressed to +236 basis points wide from 250 (bearish for the Financials yesterday – good for slow growth Utilities) #sad

Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

WWW is one of the best managed and most consistent companies in retail. We’re rarely fans of acquisitions, but the recent addition of Sperry, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite (known as PLG) gives WWW a multi-year platform from which to grow. We think that the prevailing bearish view is very backward looking and leaves out a big piece of the WWW story, which is that integration of these brands into the WWW portfolio will allow the former PLG group to achieve what it could not under its former owner (most notably – international growth, and leverage a more diverse selling infrastructure in the US). Furthermore it will grow without needing to add the capital we’d otherwise expect as a stand-alone company – especially given WWW’s consolidation from four divisions into three -- which improves asset turns and financial returns.


Health Care sector head Tom Tobin has identified a number of tailwinds in the near and longer term that act as tailwinds to the hospital industry, and HCA in particular. This includes: Utilization, Maternity Trends as well as Pent-Up Demand and Acuity. The demographic shift towards more health care – driven by a gradually improving economy, improving employment trends, and accelerating new household formation and births – is a meaningful Macro factor and likely to lead to improving revenue and volume trends moving forward.  Near-term market mayhem should not hamper this  trend, even if it means slightly higher borrowing costs for hospitals down the road.


Financials sector senior analyst Jonathan Casteleyn continues to carry T. Rowe Price as his highest-conviction long call, based on the long-range reallocation out of bonds with investors continuing to move into stocks.  T Rowe is one of the fastest growing equity asset managers and has consistently had the best performing stock funds over the past ten years.

Three for the Road


When God created earth, he was thinking Bill Dudley would set gravity's rules @federalreserve



“You should never wink at a girl in the dark. Our communications policy is a little off–we should work harder to refine it.”  - Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher


This week alone, 13 companies are set to begin trading on the Nasdaq and NYSE -- which would be the busiest week for initial public offerings since November 2007. If all those companies make it to the market, that will bring this year's IPO total to 153. At least 200 companies are now expected to debut this year, according to Renaissance Capital. That would be the most since 2007.

September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013 - dtr



September 24, 2013 - 10yr

September 24, 2013 - spx

September 24, 2013 - dax

September 24, 2013 - nik

September 24, 2013 - euro

September 24, 2013 - natgas 



September 24, 2013 - VIX

September 24, 2013 - dxy

September 24, 2013 - yen

September 24, 2013 - oil
September 24, 2013 - gold

September 24, 2013 - copper

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TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – September 24, 2013

As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 49 points or 1.22% downside to 1681 and 1.65% upside to 1730.           













  • YIELD CURVE: 2.36 from 2.37
  • VIX  closed at 14.31 1 day percent change of 9.07%

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 7:45am: ICSC weekly sales
  • 8:55am: Johnson/Redbook weekly sales
  • 9am: S&P/CS Home Price Ix 20 City M/m, July, est. 0.8%
  • 9am: S&P/CS Y/y, July, est. 12.4% (prior 12.07%)
  • 9am: S&P/CS Home Price Index, July, est. 162.69 (pr 159.54)
  • 9am: FHFA House Price Index M/m, July, est 0.8% (prior 0.7%)
  • 9:30am: Fed’s Pianalto speaks in Chicago
  • 10am: Richmond Fed Manuf Index, Sept., est. 11 (prior 14)
  • 10am: Conference Board Consumer Conf Index, Sept., est. 80
  • 11am: Fed to purchase $1.25b-$1.75b in 2036-2043 sector
  • 11:30am: U.S. to sell 4W bills
  • 1pm: U.S. to sell $33b 2Y notes
  • 1pm: Fed’s George speaks in Chicago
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories


    • Obama to speak at UN 9:30am, Clinton Global Initiative 4pm
    • Insurance industry executives discuss Medicare funding, expansion of Medicaid, Oct. 1 debut of insurance markets at conf. sponsored by AHIP, 9am
    • U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors begin 2-day closed meeting to discuss increasing prices
    • Obama enlists Bill Clinton in campaigning for health-care law


  • Chrysler files for IPO as Fiat seeks deal to merge cos.
  • Financing for Blackberry bid by Fairfax questioned
  • Dell said to work w/AlixPartners on post-LBO turnaround
  • KKR, Sycamore may bid on Jones Group as soon as this week: NYP
  • South Korea fails to choose winner in $7.7b fighter deal
  • JPMorgan Chase said to be sued over Libor w/12 other banks
  • Telefonica reaches deal to increase stake in Telecom Italia
  • NYSE said to plan rule change for voiding U.S. options orders
  • Riverstone seeks up to $1.5b in IPO for energy investment
  • Danone’s Dumex to release bribery probe results this month
  • Anadarko says it didn’t cause spill-related investor losses
  • Airlines face carbon-reduction verdict on $708b industry
  • Microsoft adopts plan to retain executives during CEO change
  • Wal-Mart gender-bias suit class claims dismissed by U.S. judge
  • Monte Paschi seen boosting cost-cut goals to meet EU demands
  • Sony film marketing chief Weinstock said to exit role
  • Spain’s Val said to hire Jefferies to find buyer for Ono stake
  • German Sept. business confidence missed ests.


    • AAR (AIR) 4pm, $0.45
    • Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) 4:02pm, $0.21
    • CarMax (KMX) 7:35am, $0.57
    • Carnival (CCL) 9:15am, $1.29
    • Copart (CPRT) Aft-mkt, $0.40 - Preview
    • KB Home (KBH) 8:30am, $0.21 - Preview
    • Lennar (LEN) 6am, $0.45 - Preview
    • Neogen (NEOG) 8:45am, $0.32


  • Indonesia Vows to Stick With Tin Trade Policy as Prices Jump
  • Palm-Oil Stockpiles Expanding Add to Record Supply: Commodities
  • Copper Drops for Third Day on Concern About U.S. Budget Clash
  • WTI Crude Drops to Six-Week Low as Global Supply Concern Eases
  • Soybeans Advance From One-Month Low as U.S. Shipments Increase
  • Gold Falls in London as Investors Weigh Fed, Physical Demand
  • China Grabs First-Ever Global Steel Majority: Chart of the Day
  • China to Double Gas Use in Five Years to 2015 in Pollution Drive
  • Beef Imports by China Seen Surging While U.S. Remains Locked Out
  • Rubber Drops Most in Two Months as Crude Oil Prices Fall
  • Crude Stockpiles Fall to 18-Month Low in Survey: Energy Markets
  • Shippers Poised to Return to Profit as Cargoes Grow 10%: Freight
  • Arabica Seen Declining 9% by End of October: Technical Analysis
  • Rebar Falls as Li Says China Has Chosen Steady Monetary Policy


























The Hedgeye Macro Team













Bernanke's Lure

“It has exerted its pull on the West for a thousand years.”                                                                                          

-Scott Anderson                                   


That’s what Scott Anderson called the “lure of the East” in a fascinating new book I just started studying about the history of the Middle East called Lawrence in Arabia (2013).


“That lure brought wave after wave of Christian Crusaders to the Near East over a three-hundred year span in the Middle Ages. More recently, it brought a conquering French general with pharaonic fantasies named Napoleon… Europe’s greatest archaeologists in the 1830s… hordes of Western oil barons… and con men to the shores of the Caspian Sea in the 1870s.” (pg 15)


While 1,000 years is a long time, the lure of central planners clipping coins and/or devaluing the currency of The People has been in motion for at least 2x that. “In 64 A.D., in a naïve attempt to deceive the populace, Nero decreased the silver content in the coins and made silver and gold coins slightly smaller” (The History of Money, pg 52). Bernanke hopes no one has read that history.


Back to the Global Macro Grind


What is it, precisely, that gave both the Roman and Ottoman Empires the audacity to plunder the purchasing power of their people? After 200 years of operating as an independent bank, what made the British Empire so soft that it felt it had to socialize (nationalize) the Bank of England in 1946? What was the US “Free-Market” Empire and why have we empowered the Fed to change it?


My apologies in advance for thinking this morning. If you disregard the vacuum of history in which Bernanke thinks (1930s) and  contextualize the moment that his Fed is in (within the construct of long-term history which will ultimately judge Bernanke when he is long gone), it’s getting scary again. But you already know that – and the sad thing is that some of his Fed heads do too.


Yesterday, Dallas Fed Head (Fisher) basically admitted two things:

  1. The current White House Administration has politicized the US Federal Reserve
  2. By not doing what they led the market to believe what they’d do (taper), the Fed is losing credibility

Check. check.


I think most people who aren’t paid not to “get” it understand this now. If you don’t understand the history of un-elected politicians devaluing currencies, you have some reading to do. Self-education is the best long-term path to not becoming a lemming.


I’m not that smart. I think most people who have seen my SAT scores get that too. But Mr. Market is a very smart cookie, and what I tend to get (on a lag) is what he (or she) is telling me to get. I don’t wake up every morning trying to bend economic gravity.


Bernanke thinks he can “smooth” gravity, cycles, etc. He’s telling the entire bond, currency, and stock markets they are wrong. #Wow, bro. So let’s rewind the tapes and go to the score – what have markets done since Bernanke didn’t taper?

  1. US Dollar went straight down (now bearish TREND after being bullish for the better part of the last 9-10 months)
  2. US Interest Rates went straight down (still bullish TREND, but lost the immediate-term TRADE momentum line of 2.80% 10yr)
  3. US Growth Stocks stopped going up; slow-growth Utilities stopped going down

Now isn’t that last part perfect. Great job Ben. Instead of US growth expectations accelerating, now they are slowing again.


This is the first 2013 US stock market “correction” that I will not buy because Bernanke has decided that the opposite of what I want is what he wants. To review, what I want is A) what was happening and B) what every American should want:


1.       #StrongDollar

2.       #RatesRising

3.       #GrowthAccelerating


To be fair, there are a lot of people who are in the business of slow-growth (Gold, Bond, MLP, etc.) investing who have a pre-determined path as to what they want (more money to manage). But that’s not what The People want.


You don’t have to go back 2,000 years to get this either:

  1. 1983-89 US Growth > 4% GDP with #StrongDollar (Reagan’s avg = $115.25 USD) and Down Oil ($16.53/barrel avg)
  2. 1993-99 US Growth > 4% GDP with #StrongDollar (Clinton’s avg = $97.89 USD) and Down Oil ($19.69/barrel avg)

And maybe Hillary is smart enough to get what Obama doesn’t – and maybe that’s the only way out of this mess:

  1. Obama’s average USD (US Dollar Index) is the lowest in Presidential history at $79.52
  2. Obama’s average Oil price (Brent Oil) is the highest in Presidential history at $102.01/barrel

But that’s more than a few years away and sadly, at some point, someone in this country is going to realize that empowering both Putin and Middle Eastern kings via a Down Dollar, Up Oil policy is no different than doing the same via an un-elected Federal Reserve.


There is no doubt in my mind that the Fed is exerting its misplaced fear-mongering pull on the President. The lure is also to get you, The People, to fear the alternative (“if rates rise, housing will collapse”) when in reality it’s the government policy itself that is luring us away from the free-market system that gave America its empire to begin with.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:


UST 10yr Yield 2.59-2.80%


VIX 12.93-14.98

USD 80.01-80.98

Euro 1.34-1.36

Brent 107.03-109.13


Best of luck out there today,



Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer


Bernanke's Lure - Chart of the Day


Bernanke's Lure - Virtual Portfolio

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