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Takeaway: UK retail stalls. JCP battles M on Thanksgiving. UA makes big splash in China. AMZN gives apparel a big shot in the arm. DG selling gas.


COH - Earnings Call: Tuesday 10/22 8:30 am

RSH - Earnings Call: Tuesday 10/22 9:00 am

TJX - Investor Meeting: Tuesday 10/22 1:30 pm


Footfalls dip 2.4% at UK retail stores in Sept


  • "Footfall in September was 2.4% lower than a year ago, down on the 0.9% fall in August. This compares with particularly strong figures a year ago when footfall rose 0.5% in September 2012."
  • "Footfall in shopping centre locations fell 2.9% compared with a year earlier, the twelfth consecutive month to report a decline in footfall."
  • "Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said: Negative numbers across the UK are clearly a concern this close to Christmas, but there are a few factors at play. We’re comparing against a very strong September in 2012, when the post-Olympic period coupled with a cold snap unleashed pent-up demand for shopping trips to stock up on warmer clothing and back-to-school items.  In contrast, this year’s milder September has slowed the uptake of Autumn ranges, a trend reflected in our sales figures last week.'"

Takeaway: Traffic was down in every region and country -- that's arguably the most notable factoid.



JCP, M - JCPenney-Macy’s battle with Stewart coming to an end


  • "A New York judge is preparing to bring down his gavel on the epic battle between Martha Stewart, Macy’s and JCPenney — and the head that gets hammered could be Martha’s."
  • "State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing...is ready to rule this week, sources told The Post."

Takeaway: It makes sense that Martha Stewart will be the big loser. Let's face it, she hardly has a good reputation as being the most ethical person after her insider trading prison-term. Then she tops it off by entering into an exclusive agreement when she already had one with another retailer. We can't imagine that anybody would want to go into business with MSO again.

UA - Under Armour Opens Experience Store in Shanghai 


  • "On Oct. 18, Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank and Under Armour athlete Michael Phelps hosted a grand opening event for the new Under Armour Experience at the Jing An Kerry Centre in Shanghai, China. The first-of-its-kind retail environment places storytelling at the forefront through a multi-dimensional short film that immerses visitors in the brand's world of making athletes better through passion and innovation."
  • A link to the video can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9hj5bjj0u1rievm/130926_UA_Experience_30_v6.mp4

What's New Today in Retail (10/21) - chart1 10 21 chart1

Takeaway: Bold and smart move for UA. The company has outright failed in its initiative to grow outside the US over the past 5-years. Though this is a major step to boost its presence in the second biggest (soon to be biggest) market in the world.

SHLD - Embattled Sears Closes More Stores


  • "A grim indication of its financial struggles, Sears Holding Corp. is closing several stores in Mississippi, including seven Kmarts and five Sears stores."
  • "Howard Rieff, Sears Holdings director of corporate communications, said, 'The store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce on-going expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model. These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home.'”

Takeaway: Good move, but it needs to close about 3,988 more.

AMZN - Amazon Opens New York Photo Studio


  • "A new 40,000-square-foot photography facility that officially opened here Friday provides an idea of the e-commerce giant’s commitment to fashion. The entire space, which features 28 bays for styling, shooting and editing apparel, footwear and accessories, will hum with activity 24/7 when it’s fully up and running in the coming weeks, providing the online retailer with higher-quality product photos."
  • "While the company doesn’t break out sales figures for Amazon Fashion, the overall site’s gross trading volume last year was an estimated $95 billion."

Takeaway: This is a big strategic move for AMZN. It's apparel offering has been abysmal. Let's see if this studio can give the marketing and branding a shot in the arm.

JCP - J.C. Penney to kick off holiday shopping season on Thanksgiving


  • "J.C. Penney has joined the list of retail chains that plan to open their stores on Thanksgiving night to kick off the holiday shopping season."
  • "Penney will open most of its 1,100 stores at 8 p.m., the same as Macy's. Last year, Penney opened its stores at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, while rivals Macy’s and Kohl’s opened their doors at midnight."
  • "Penney had previously announced it is bringing back a holiday tradition that then-CEO Ron Johnson ditched last year: Stores will give away nearly two million holiday snow globes starting at 4 a.m. on Black Friday."

Takeaway: It didn’t take JCP long to match Macy's move to open up on Thanksgiving.  Even though the customer overlap is 30% at best, M can't be too pleased with the competition.

TGT - Target tests new Apple-like format in its electronics department


  • "The discount retailer recently remodeled the departments in several of its stores with waist-height, bright white tables and displays. The move fits a design trend seen in recent years at stores run by Apple Inc. and Best Buy Co. that gives shoppers more hands-on experience with the goods."
  • "And it comes at a time when electronics sellers are seeing a major shift in product mix as the space that used to be devoted to cameras — which are declining rapidly in sales — gives way to square footage for cellphones."
  • "Target is testing the format to give customers a more convenient way to interact with products and services, said spokeswoman Erica Julkowski. 'Guests are looking for more interactive ways to make purchasing decisions about the latest technology,' she wrote in a statement."

What's New Today in Retail (10/21) - chart2 10 21

Takeaway: Odd move at face value…but hey, f you can't beat 'em...

DG - Dollar General tests fuel stations


  • "Dollar General is opening its first fuel station, as part of a test pilot project. The new fuel pumps are located at the Dollar General Market in Hanceville, Ala."
  • "This pilot project is part of an agreement with Mansfield Oil, which provides fuel supply, distribution, delivery, and dispensing solutions to customers. Dollar General and Mansfield will evaluate the results of the pilot project during the next year and jointly assess expansion opportunities."

Takeaway: This actually makes a decent amount of sense in that the company has run out of new categories it can add to grow its same store sales. Too bad the price of a gallon of gas flies in the face of DG being a 'dollar store'.

TCS - The Container Store files amended S1


  • "This is The Container Store Group, Inc.'s initial public offering. We anticipate that the initial public offering price will be between $14.00 and $16.00 per share."
  • The Container Store will offer 12.5 million shares.

Takeaway: Good concept, and it should be a good deal. We'll watch this one with keen interest.

AMZN - The big grey box in Leipzig where Amazon staff have found their voice


  • "Leipzig...this summer it became the first of Amazon's sites to see repeated strike action over pay and working conditions."
  • "Earlier this month the service workers' union Verdi warned that there could be more strikes before Christmas after Amazon refused to enter negotiations about a collective wage agreement that would comply with standards in the German retail sector. Mail order businesses are supposed to pay workers between €11.47 and €11.94 an hour, at least €1 more than Amazon's German workers earn."

Hutchison Considers Retail IPO


  • "Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. is considering a plan for an initial public offering of its A.S. Watson & Co. unit, a retailer with 11,093 stores that sell things as diverse as aspirin, Bordeaux wine and Apple Inc. iPods in 33 countries. A.S. Watson—which operates Superdrug in the U.K., Kruidvat in the Netherlands and Belgium, and Watson’s and ParknShop in Asia—had first-half sales of 75.8 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$9.8 billion)."
  • "The offering could take place in coming months and could raise $8 billion to $10 billion, depending on how the company is structured, making it the biggest deal in the world this year. People familiar with the matter said the IPO could take place in Hong Kong, Europe or some combination."


ShopperTrak: Shutdown Drove Down Store Traffic


  • "Figures from retail traffic counter ShopperTrak revealed a 7.5 percent decline in foot traffic from prior-year levels during the seven days beginning Sept. 29…"
  • "The drop in shopping activity was somewhat less marked during the second week of the partial closure of the government, with foot traffic down 7.1 percent in the week ended Oct. 12. The year-over-year decline in the Washington market, home to many of the approximately 800,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown, stretched to double digits, with traffic off about 11.4 percent in the area during the second week of the month."

ILO Unveils Bangladesh Program


  • "The International labor Organization is slated to give the green light on Tuesday to the launch of a better work program for Bangladesh that is expected to cover 500 garment factories over a three-year period, senior ILO officials said."
  • "Retailers such as Wal-Mart, Gap Inc., H&M, and Inditex, which are already active in similar ILO schemes in other countries, are expected to be invited as stakeholders in the new voluntary scheme."