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UA: The Duration Bifurcation

The BIG call is that sales/EPS will double over 3 yrs. No one owns it for blow-out EPS today, and nothing will come out of 2Q to either rattle the long-term call, or to make the 28% of float that is already short press its bet. My sense is that a beat will boost the stock more than a miss would hurt, and 2H call options are under appreciated. I remain positive.

 

Negative sentiment is building again on UA in advance of earnings. Duration is a major factor here - perhaps more so than with any story I can find. Why?

 

Core apparel sales are flattish, footwear is performing 'fine' (i.e. not stellar), management has been selling stock, key internal positions have turned over, prior guidance is vague, 2Q just closed after it rained for 80% of the most important month of the quarter, and at 26x earnings it is one of the most expensive stocks in retail.  I never ignore the facts, and they're particularly important when the stock is resting right on top of $21 TREND support in Keith's model.  I can't say that I blame the bears...

 

So how in the world could anyone justify being bullish? Well first off, the simple fact that this question is being asked is notable.

 

But there is a massively more important consideration... NO ONE who owns UA does so because they think that the company will smoke the upcoming quarter or year. It's generally accepted - and probably correct - that UA will print somewhere in the ballpark of $175mm in footwear sales this year, and that apparel revenue will be flat-to-down organically.

 

Is that worth 26x earnings and 11 EBITDA? Probably not -- unless you're banking on meaningful growth in the business in the next 3 years. Here's the key... The question as to whether this will happen will absolutely not be proved or disproved by 2Q results or guidance.

 

  • Regardless as to whether footwear sales/guidance are +/- $25mm for the year, this says little as to whether UA will succeed or fail in getting footwear market share from >1% to 5% (around $500mm in added sales) over 3 years. Bulls are unlikely to throw in the towel unless the company does. UA will definitely not back off this strategy, and in fact is likely to highlight organizational changes to take the footwear organization to the next level.

 

  • Similarly, for someone on the short side that is banking on a miss and/or weak 2H top line guidance, the rebuttal is likely to be that orders for fall were placed at a time retailers were choking on product due to weather-impacted comps. I rarely give that free pass, but this is one instance where it's pretty much a no-brainer.

 

Let's remember that only 14% of analysts have a 'Buy' rating on UA (lowest in history) and the average price target is 6% below current levels. Short interest as a percent of float has stepped up from 23% to 28% over the last three months.

UA: The Duration Bifurcation - 7 8 2009 7 19 14 AM

 

So it sounds to me like this is going to hinge upon a meaningful negative earnings revision to beat it down. In going through our model, I've got revenue growing about 5% better than consensus for the remainder of the year. Margins are more of a question mark. But keep in mind that we are anniversarying the launch of cross training - which had a negative impact on mix and margins.

 

Also, starting in 2H there will be a notable favorable change in capacity for footwear production (and prices) in China, which should ease margin compares. Let's also not forget the Foot Locker factor. Brand new CEO coming from JC Penney where he was President and head of merchandising. Every vendor was at his mercy. Now he comes in to a smaller box where one vendor accounts for over 50% of sales. Not a good setup... His first move will be to sit down with every vendor and find ways to optimize his shoe wall. That means more Under Armour as FL will want to be in the pole position for driving starting a partnership not unlike what DKS and UA had in apparel off-mall. I can't imagine that these are consensus ideas.

 

The bottom line is that we get to UA beating the quarter by a couple pennies, and earning $0.88 for this year in both EPS and FCF/share, and then $1.10 and $1.35 in 2010 and 2011, respectively. A mid-teens grower this year and 20-25% the two years thereafter? Yeah, I'll stomach a multiple starting with a 2-handle for that. Mind you, this is $1.2bn in revs which only represents 3% share of the relevant footwear market (Adi is 6%, Reebok = 4%, Puma = 3%, Asics and New Balance range between 6-8%).  It also assumes very little success driving a women's business and International presence.

 

As for the quarter, when I add up all the puts and takes on sentiment, my sense is that a beat (or any bit of positive news) will disproportionately boost the stock as opposed to how much a miss would hurt.


Sequential Improvement for Europe’s Workhorse

German Factory Orders and Industrial Output Improve

If you've been following our work you'll know we have a bullish bias on countries with economic leverage and a bearish stance on countries with financial leverage. As it relates to Europe we've seen a number of countries that have underperformed due to the latter, including (but not limited to) Switzerland, the UK, Spain, and Italy in 2009; and we expect this trend to continue well into next year-with budget deficit rising, access to credit should tighten, which will be prohibitive to growth.

Conversely, Germany occupies a spot on a small list of European countries we're incrementally bullish on. The DAX has yet to show signs of real positive returns this year, currently hovering at -3% YTD, yet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her economic team have shown strong leadership in adequately stimulating the economy while not overextending debt levels. This should be a huge benefit on the TAIL to growth. Approval of her management is confirmed by the most recent Forsa poll that places support for her party, the CDU, at 37%, up one point from the previous week's reading and increasing her party's spread over its rival, the Social Democrats, to 16 percentage points. 

Fundamentally we're starting to see signs that economy is bottoming out. As a leading economic indicator German factory orders increased 4.4% in May on a monthly basis, as reported yesterday by the Economy Ministry in Berlin. The reading was the biggest gain since June 2007 and nine times the 0.5% increase forecasted by surveyed economists. Today the Ministry reported that industrial production rose 3.7% from April; you'll notice from the chart below that industrial production on a year-over-year comparison is bottoming out and showing signs of positive momentum.

The improvement can be attributed in part to the stimulus from the eco premium for scrapped cars, which has been so popular it's oversubscribed, and the income-enhancing measures of the stimulus package, including:  cuts in income tax and increases in child benefits. As these benefits work through the system we expect consumer spending to improve. Already we've seen sequential improvement in forward-looking consumer, business, and investor confidence.

Exports still look battered on a year-over-year comparison (May data is out tomorrow), yet the increase in factory orders is decidedly bullish if the trend can continue. The report showed that demand from outside the Eurozone gained 8.2% and domestic demand improved 3.9%. With the Ministry revising April's reading to an increase of 0.1% from unchanged, factory orders have increased over the last three months.

Exports, which make up nearly half of total German GDP, could remain a stumbling block in the near term as global demand is still depressed, yet we believe that Germany's significant industrial capacity gives it a structural advantage over its European peers moving into 2010.

Matthew Hedrick

Analyst

Sequential Improvement for Europe’s Workhorse - GermanyIndust


RT - Who Knew What When?

RT's stock price moved up 12.5% yesterday prior to the company reporting 4Q09 earnings after the close. And judging by RT's significantly better 4Q performance, someone knew something! Earnings came in at $0.28 per share relative to the street's $0.20 per share estimate. Company same-store sales declined 3.2% in the quarter. This was a surprisingly strong number on many counts. RT easily beat the street's expectation of -5.3%. It showed significant improvement from RT's recent performance (-6.8% in 3Q and -10.8% in 1H). And RT outperformed its casual dining competitors by 2.4% in the quarter as measured by Malcolm Knapp. This last point was the most surprising as RT has underperformed its casual dining peers by 5%-10% for the better part of the last two years.

RT - Who Knew What When? - RT FY09 Gap To Knapp

RT management attributed its relatively strong top-line results to its marketing initiatives that have focused on communicating the concept's compelling value proposition. The increase in same-store sales does not come without cost, however, as RT is driving increased traffic with its value message at the expense of average check and restaurant margins. For reference, RT's 2.4% same-store sales outperformance relative to its casual dining peers stemmed from its 8%-9% traffic outperformance, which points to the company's underperformance on an average check basis. RT's CEO Sandy Beall stated that the company's first priority is to "get bodies in seats." Along those lines, the company has not increased its average check in 2-3 years and is not focused on driving check higher in FY10. Instead, Mr. Beall said RT "will keep pushing value for some time to come until the consumer changes."

This increased focus on value will continue to put pressure on restaurant margins, primarily from the negative impact discounting has on food costs as a percent of sales. Despite declining restaurant margins, another bright spot in the quarter was RT's nearly 250 bp YOY increase in operating margins, which was a continuation of the improvement we saw in 3Q. RT has been able to offset its lower restaurant margins in the back half of FY09 by cutting costs in other parts of the P&L. Specifically, the company reduced its annualized costs by $45-$50 million, with the bulk of these cost savings implemented during 3Q. A big portion of the cost savings stem from reduced labor costs as a result of a more efficient labor-scheduling process and lower supervisory costs as RT expanded control for both regional and area supervisors. The company will continue to see the benefit of these cost reductions, particularly in the first half of fiscal 2010, but taking more costs out of the business going forward will be difficult without impacting the guest experience. I have always said that cutting costs that the guest cannot see, taste or experience makes sense, but reducing area supervision can be risky as it can often impact the overall guest experience. This just means it will become increasingly more difficult for RT to protect its operating margins in this challenging sales environment from increased discounting and lower restaurant margins as a lot of the fat has already been cut from the P&L. The company currently has no plans for company-owned unit development, however, which will provide some operating flexibility going forward.

All of that being said, RT has come a long way. It has gone from being a concept that seemed close to becoming a thing of the past to outperforming its peers from a sales and guest count perspective. It has gone from being a company that was at risk to breaking its debt covenants to one that paid down $112 million of debt in one year, in excess of its initial $80M-90M and revised $90M-$100M targets. And in FY09, RT reversed 4 years of operating margin declines.

RT - Who Knew What When? - RT 4Q09 EBIT

 


Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.28%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.51%

NIGHTMARE WITHOUT END

Japanese Industrials continue to bleed out

May machinery order data released overnight by the Japanese Cabinet office registered at a third consecutive month-over-month decline with a year-over-year shortfall of 39%. In fact,  at 668 billion Yen (SA), orders are now at their lowest absolute level since the summer of 1987. As a leading indicator for production, declining orders for industrial machinery continue to suggest that factory managers are restricting investment in the face of still declining demand for exports. 

Industrials are further hampered by a still dead credit market, with expectations that BOJ will be forced to extend its emergency credit program since liquidity has still failed to materialize in the commercial paper market. These still lower expectations for near term production also bodes ill for the employment picture, placing further strain on the Aso administration's programs to stimulate domestic demand.

Trapped in a vicious cycle, Japanese industrials are already finding that decreased global demand has been matched by increasingly competitive pricing from Korean and ASEAN based rivals and failure to invest at this stage in the cycle could signal a slower recovery process if and when demand rebounds.

Calling a bottom in Japan has thus far been as difficult as catching a falling knife. With no signs of strengthening demand from their major exports markets in the near term, "less bad" is not good enough. As Japanese equities continue to trade as a proxy for Yen relative strength, we are maintaining our negative bias. For now no long term positive catalysts appear on the horizon.

Andrew Barber

Director

NIGHTMARE WITHOUT END - japan89


Retail First Look: 7/8/09

TODAY'S CALL OUT

Apples and Oranges: They're Still Both Fruit

I've got to call out two credit facility actions in two days for two different footwear companies - Decker's and Skechers. The details of each suggest that they're hardly similar at face value, but my bigger picture view is that this ties right in with the 2H theme of using improved near term cash flow visibility to either secure better terms with lenders, or trade it for better flexibility in covenant thresholds. We'll see more of this, which I think is bullish for the smaller-cap forgotten names in retail that the market has written off.

DECKERS

DECK credit facility amendments:

It appears that the facility is now 12.5m in aggregate vs. $20mm prior. 

Annual capex max changed to $25m for 2009 and $15mm thereafter from $28m per year.  Net, net indicates some slowing of growth on a go forward basis unless the agreement is amended again.

Lease limitation per year raised from $15m to $20mm.  This is counter to the capex provision.

Addition of a net loss provision of $3m in the June 09 quarter vs. a prior provision which required a minimum quarterly profit of $1m.  This is clearly more flexible on the current quarter and within the current range of Street estimates. Translation - banks don't want companies to breach.

Net, net this looks like a shrinking facility to us, and represents a clear tightening by the bank.  Though important to note that they are not drawn in this revised agreement, and have historically never have used its predecessor. 

SKECHERS

The SKX agreement announced yesterday is totally new and incremental to their existing facilities.  This seems more offensive and opportunisitic relative to the DECK agreement.  Additionally it's important to put the scale of the DECK facility (i.e. small) in context with the cash balance of $13/share, no debt.  SKX $5/share cash, no debt.

SKX Details

  • $250mm revolving facility (Wells Fargo and BOA lead underwriters) subject to increase to $300mm
  • Aggregate amount of loan may not exceed "borrowing base" calculated by AR + inventory OR $125-$150mm depending on time of year less certain AP.
  • Interest rate: L + 1%
  • Fee: 0.5%-to-1.0%
  • Must maintain at least $50mm on-hand.

 

LEVINE'S LOW DOWN

Some Notable Call Outs

- Sure to become a hot news item in the coming weeks is the "Cash for Clunkers" (formally known as CARS, Car Allowance Rebate System) program. The bill has been passed but is not expected to be enacted until July 23rd. This essentially gives consumers either $3500 or $4500 in rebates if they turn in a car averaging 18 mpg or less in return for buying/leasing a new car with a higher mpg rating. The old car will be scrapped and only the scrap value of the vehicle (not trade-in value) will be applied towards the new purchase or lease. Overall, the government has earmarked $1bln in rebates which equates roughly to 250,000 "clunkers" coming out of service. There is already talk of extending the program if it is successful. Given similar programs in Germany, it is likely that consumers will take full advantage of this "stimulus" package/"green" initiative. We expect the buzz surrounding this program to benefit auto retailers with exposure to new car sales and to provide some headline risk for the auto parts retailers. The initial wave of cars scrapped should not have a material impact on the overall supply of older vehicles on the road unless the plan remains in effect for far longer than originally planned.

- The surf/skate/snow lifestyle category appears to be healthy and still growing. Recent announcements from Foot Locker which is opening stores under its recently acquired CCS brand, from K Swiss which is launching a skate division, and from Nike which just opened its first multi-brand retail store in Laguna Beach selling Hurley, Converse, Nike 6.0 and SB all point to a category which stands out as one of the few true product driven stories in retailing. Historically, established brands have had a hard time breaking into the space which is characterized by authenticity. However, the balance sheets and marketing dollars of these larger companies will certainly help to drive market share. Additionally, the market entry by these untraditional players may at some point force additional M&A in the space which is fragmented and made up of numerous small and medium sized private companies.

 

MORNING NEWS 

- Japanese sporting goods maker Mizuno Corp. will shut 200 of 900 retail sites in China this year - The company said in May it plans to shut unprofitable outlets in China in the year ending March 2010. Expansion in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics caused Mizuno to book a charge to write down excess inventories last fiscal year. <bloomberg.com/apps/news>

- The Indonesian Industry Ministry aides footwear manufacturing plants with new equipment - The Indonesian Industry Ministry declared nine footwear manufacturers eligible for the government aid to modernize their industrial machinery in order to increase efficiency as well as the productivity. Under this aid program, the government will finance 10% of the new machinery purchases, to the manufacturers. The Ministry will provide over Rp. 4.2 billion to these nine shoe companies. The government has allocated a total of Rp. 55 billion for the year under this aid program. This aid, to enhance the Indonesian industries' capacities, is a part of the government scheme.  <fibre2fashion.com/news>

- American Apparel & Footwear Association wants to continue import ban on Burma - Citing further human rights abuses in Burma, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has called for swift renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, an expiring import ban on goods from that country. "AAFA once again calls on Congress to follow through on US commitments to human rights and renew economic sanctions against Burma," said AAFA President and CEO Kevin Burke. While the current import ban is set to expire on July 26 this year, Burma continues to be condemned by different organizations and governments for widespread human rights violations such as the recent junta's arrest and persecution of general secretary of the National League for Democracy. <fashionnetasia.com/industryupdate>

- Australian government to help textile, clothing, and footwear small businesses - Australia is granting a total of A$2.6m ($2.1m) to help 68 small businesses become more innovative in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) sector. The grants, ranging from A$11,000-A$50,000 and distributed under round four of the government's TCF Small Business Program, will focus on improving the business culture of small businesses in the sector, innovation minister senator Kim Carr said. "The future of Australia's TCF industry lies in becoming more agile, innovative and entrepreneurial," he said. "It is about the development of new products and processes, especially at the high-tech, high-value end of the market." The TCF Small Business Program is providing grants worth A$25m over 10 years. <fashionnetasia.com/industryupdate>

- Indian textile industry disappointed with new budget - The Indian textile industry has been left disappointed by the country's new budget, which executives had hoped would offer them relief from the influences of the global financial crisis. The industry is estimated to have cut up to 1 million jobs over the last year, and RK Dalmia, senior president at Century Textiles & Industries Ltd, said that the news from the budget was mixed, reported in the international press. "There were some positives announced for the textile industry, but the government has also not touched upon many of our demands," he said. Of the moves made, the government announced an extension of the current 2% interest subvention scheme for exporters until March next year, although the industry had called for that to be increased to 4%. <fashionnetasia.com/industryupdate>

- U.K. Consumer Confidence Rose to Eight-Month High in June, Nationwide Says - U.K. consumer confidence rose to an eight-month high in June as shoppers became more hopeful that the economy will emerge from recession, Nationwide Building Society said. <bloomberg.com/news/>

- Honduran apparel industry executives calm US customers - Honduran apparel industry executives arrived Tuesday to tell their U.S. customers that it's business as usual in the apparel sector. The executives were part of a delegation that included Honduran politicians, judicial figures and diplomats. All apparel and textile manufacturing plants are working normally.  Despite continued unrest, there have been no delays of shipments into or out of Honduras and the ports are functioning normally. U.S. companies that manufacture in the Central American country said they continued to monitor the situation but that no disruptions had been reported. The apparel executives in the delegation plan to meet with representatives of the National Retail Federation and members of Congress, Facusse said. Honduras is the fourth largest apparel supplier to the U.S. According to the Commerce Department's Office of Textiles & Apparel, Honduras shipped $603 million of apparel to the U.S. in the first four months of the year. <wwd.com/business-news>

- Skechers expects to break even for 1H 09 - Skechers USA Inc.'s stock inched up on Tuesday after the company said it expects to break even for the first half of 2009 and return to profitability in the back half of the year. The stock closed at $9.30, up 1.4% for the day's trading. David Weinberg, Skechers' COO, said in a statement released early Tuesday, that the "extremely weak global retail environment remains a factor in our performance, as retailers slowed their orders" in the second quarter. But he added that the Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based company would continue to "liquidate excess inventory and clean up our balance sheet." Skechers also on Tuesday announced a new $250 million, four-year, syndicated secured credit facility, arranged by Wells Fargo Foothill, part of Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America N.A., a subsidiary of Bank of America Co. <wwd.com/footwear-news>

- Slight uptick in 4th of July Consumer Spending - Consumers spent $4 more per day, on average, the week of the Fourth of July than they did the prior week -- leaving spending 37% less than the same week a year ago. At the same time, job creation showed no improvement and the percentage of Americans rating current economic conditions as "poor" increased four points to 51%. <gallup.com/poll>

- June retail sales looking like a washout - June is looking like a washout for retailers, with cold and rainy weather in many parts of the country keeping consumers homebound. Retailers on Thursday are expected to post a 4.8% drop in same-store-sales for last month, with department stores and some apparel retailers doing most poorly, while discounters appeared to see some resurgence in interest. June's drop would mark the 10th straight month of same-store-sales declines, the longest since Thomson Reuters began collecting the data in 2000.  <online.wsj.com>

- American consumers expect to spend equal to or more than last year at Back to School season - Based on the recent consumer shopping trends survey conducted by The SportsOneSource Group, a clear majority of American consumers expect to spend as much or more for sports and outdoor product for back-to-school this year as compared to last year.  "We talk with retailers every day about where the market is going," said James Hartford, president, CEO and chief market analyst at The SportsOneSource Group.  "There is a great deal of angst about expectations for back-to-school due to the rough May and June business, but these numbers may signal some upside for the retailers in the market." Based on the preliminary data from the survey, nearly 53% of adult respondents with kids under the age of 18 said they planned to spend as much as last year for sports or outdoor footwear, apparel or equipment during the back-to-school period.  About 19% suggested they would spend at least a little less while roughly 28% of the respondents in this group said they would spend at least a little more. <sportsonesource.com/news>

- Nike launches new type of store - Nike Inc. has opened a Nike 6.0, Hurley and Converse concept store at 225 Forest in Laguna Beach with a big focus on customization. The new three-story concept, entitled 225 Forest, marks the first time Hurley, Nike 6.0, Converse and Nike SB are being sold by Nike under one roof. <sportsonesource.com>

- JJB and Sports Direct squabble - Sports Direct deputy chairman Mike Ashley has rejected JJB Sports' version of events surrounding the controversial £1.5m loan he made in 2007 to its chairman Sir David Jones. <drapersonline.com>

- Best Buy gives mobile apps a try - The multichannel retailer is dipping its toe in the waters of the burgeoning realm of mobile apps. It has introduced the Best Buy Weekly Deals mobile app designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. But the app is not transactional-yet. <internetretailer.com>

- Gift card sales and the economy - The gift card, a symbol of conspicuous consumption before the recession, has become an indicator of economic hard times. Consumer anxieties are playing out in fewer gift cards being purchased this year, less dollar-value being stored on the cards that are bought and a decline in the number of people buying them. Shoppers are seeing gift cards differently as the recession creates disarray in personal finances and prompts concerns about whether certain stores will stay in business after a spate of bankruptcies and the liquidations of retailers such as Fortunoff, Steve & Barry's, Mervyns, Goody's, Gottschalks, Circuit City, Sharper Image and Linens-N-Things. Once a license to indulge, gift cards are increasingly being given for practical purchases like phone bills, food and gasoline. At Wal-Mart stores, shoppers have been "buying more groceries with gift cards" since Christmas, said spokesman John Simley. <wwd.com/business-news>

- Survey of teen mall shopping - An updated survey of 1,687 teenage shoppers across the U.S. in April showed 54% were spending more or about the same as they did in the previous six months, but they were value-conscious and concerned about the economy. 52%  said they were shopping at less expensive stores, 43% reduced spending and 48% were using more coupons at the mall. Despite rising vacancy rates and lower overall sales because of the recession, the mall remains a favored destination for youths ages 12 to 17, according to the study. The first part of the survey, based on questioning in the fourth quarter of last year, found that 71% of teen respondents said they go to the mall to shop, 57% to eat, 49% to socialize and 40% seek entertainment, primarily through movies and video games.  Top 6 of teen shopping preferences for 40 national retail store brands: Old Navy, J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters, Aéropostale, Claire's and Macy's. <wwd.com/retail-news>

- Global mergers and acquisitions activity down significantly in 1H 09 - Global mergers and acquisitions activity fell as the global downturn worsened in the first half of 2009. Data compiled by the research firm Mergermarket showed total deal volume was down 47.4% to 3,800 transactions, compared with the year-ago period, and the value of M&A activity dropped 43.6% to $705.7 billion. Deal volume decreased 51.6% from the peak of 7,880 transactions during the first half of 2007, as total value fell 66% from almost $2 trillion. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, deal volumes have remained steady through 2009, suggesting the number of M&A transactions may have bottomed out.  <wwd.com/business-news>

- Apparel brand Jack Victor acquired assets, inventory, and trademarks of Canadian resource Riviera Inc. - Tailored clothing brand Jack Victor has purchased certain assets, inventory and trademarks of fellow Canadian resource Riviera Inc., a better trouser maker. Terms were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Jack Victor will absorb the 90-year-old company's three labels: Riviera Sport, a weekend-friendly line that retails between $150 and $175; the sartorial Riviera Black collection that includes the brand's toniest fabrics and sells for more than $200, and the Riviera Blue label, which is priced at less than $200. The first Riviera goods made and sold by Jack Victor will hit stores for spring 2010. <wwd.com/business-news>

- Retail and Michael Jackson products - Retailers and apparel vendors are scrambling to get Michael Jackson merchandise into stores to capitalize on fans' hunger for a piece of the iconic pop star who was honored Tuesday at a two-hour memorial service in Los Angeles.  Several stores said they have been inundated by requests for Jackson items. T-shirts were the most coveted apparel picks, although consumers gravitated toward shoes, jackets and gloves emblematic of Jackson's style, as well. Hot Topic Inc., said two licensed men's T-shirts and one women's T are scheduled to be delivered to the City of Industry, Calif.-based teen retailer within the next week.  Stephen Donnelly, vice president and general merchandising manager of women's apparel at Kmart, said after Jackson's death on June 25: "We got a small shipment of Ts to a limited number of stores within one week. We are continuing to react to customer demand with more T-shirt deliveries this week, and will be looking at additional merchandise in-store and online as needed." The staying power of the demand for Jackson-themed apparel was uncertain, but the spike in interest for his music is likely to remain front and center for a prolonged period. <wwd.com/retail-news>

- Jill Sander's and Uniqlo - Jil Sander's much-anticipated collection for Uniqlo has been dubbed +J. On Wednesday, Uniqlo unveiled the name and simple black logo in sans serif font, true to the designer's minimalist sensibility. As reported, the Japanese fast fashion brand, which is owned by Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., and the German designer had to find a creative detour around the fact that fellow Japanese firm Onward Holdings Co. Ltd. owns the designer's former fashion house and retains commercial rights to her full name. Jil Sander's creative role at Uniqlo extends beyond the +J collection to the brand's other apparel and accessories for men and women. But it is understood that the designer is focusing her initial efforts on the fall/winter launch of this newly created collection, flying frequently between her home in Hamburg, Germany and Tokyo. The +J collection will be sold at Uniqlo's flagship stores in major cities and on the brand's own website. <wwd.com/retail-news>

- Children clothing line  to appear at Nordstrom - A children's clothing line based on the picture book artwork of Todd Parr will be exclusively sold in August at Nordstrom department stores nationwide. The collection, under the brand Planet Color by Todd Parr and created by Jen's Ideas, features tees, thermals, embroidered baseball caps and dresses for girls and boys ages 6 months to 6 years old. The apparel will be available later this summer at Nordstrom stores in the Midwest and Northeast.  <licensemag.com/licensemag/Fashion>

- Shaun White and Target team up again - The Shaun White 4 Target® collection will return to Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com on August 15, 2009. Shaun and Target continue their relationship and collaboration in the creation of a stylish, affordable line of T-shirts, woven shirts, shorts and denim jeans for boys and young men. "With the new line, you can definitely see the influence that music, art, skateboarding and travel have on me and the designs we are creating." Trish Adams, senior vice president, Target, adds, "The Shaun White 4 Target collection brings a new element of progressive style to Target. The line is a great addition to our product offering that we're happy to deliver to our guests year-round at very reasonable prices." The continuation of Shaun White 4 Target features a full range of apparel inspired by Shaun's lifestyle and exploration of the world. The collection includes fashionable, inexpensive items with prices ranging from $7.99 for boys' graphic tees to $34.99 for stylish young men's jackets. <prnewswire.com>

- Lindsay Lohan's fragrance exclusively sold at Sephora is being sued - Lindsay Lohan and her business partners have been accused of stealing the formula for Sevin Nyne Tanning Mist. In a complaint filed in federal court in Tampa, Fla., inventor Jennifer Sunday said she pitched the idea to Lohan and the partners this year, the parties entered into a confidentiality agreement and were on the verge of a deal but could not agree on final terms. Sunday alleged that the final product contains "exactly the same or nearly identical ingredients" as her creation and that Lohan has publicly taken credit for the formula. A representative for Sevin Nyne said the company had no comment. Lohan launched the product this spring at Sephora with the help of her personal tanning guru, Lorit Simon, and other partners in Lorit LLC, the spray's parent company.  <wwd.com/business-news>

- Britney Spears pumps up her line exclusively sold at Kohl's in her new music video - Candie's footwear, apparel, jewelry and accessories play a starring role in Britney Spears' new music video for her song "Radar." The brand, which is owned by New York-based Iconix Brand Group, has extended its agreement with the entertainer to include appearing in Candie's fall 2009 TV, print, online and in-store advertising, which will be culled from the "Radar" video. With a posh polo theme, the video was shot on a private horse farm and estate in Santa Monica, Calif. The visual narrative centers around Spears seducing a polo player. Dave Meyers shot the TV commercial, which will debut in late summer, and fashion photographer Matthew Rolston shot the print ad campaign, hitting September magazines. <wwd.com/footwear-news>

Retail First Look: 7/8/09 - Britney Spears Candies

RESEARCH EDGE PORTFOLIO: (Comments by Keith McCullough): WSM

07/07/2009 01:36 PM

BUYING WSM $10.76

Stock getting crushed on low volume. We're hunting for names with M&A optionality that have high short interest and a lot of sell side conjecture. KM

 

INSIDER TRADING ACTIVITY:

CWTR: Jeffrey Parisian, Senior VP of Administration, sold 3,743shs ($24k) less than 10% of common holdings.

 

MACRO SECTOR VIEW AND TRADING CALL OUTS

Retail First Look: 7/8/09 - SV 7 8 09

 


Opportunity Knocks

"Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail."
-Roy Keane
 
I was on a plane from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for the last hour of yesterday's US trading session. I missed the opportunity to buy and cover positions on the close but, patiently, I had been adding to our invested position in the Asset Allocation model throughout the last few days. We're now up to a 39% invested position in US Equities (as a percentage of our max allocation to an asset class) and down to a 44% in Cash.
 
With the exception of having to endure CNBC in my hotel room (they don't have Bloomberg TV), this morning's global macro factors look great. Across global equity, currency, and commodity markets, today looks as opportunistic as setups come. Opportunistic? Yes. We are moving into a proactively predictable trading range. In our Q3 Macro Investment Theme call yesterday, I called it "Range Rover" (if you'd like a replay of that call, please email ).  Buy low, sell high.
 
Trading (or managing risk) around a range that we have prepared for is what we do. While we continue to have a hard time understanding what it is that some other people do, all we can focus on is what we do. That's it. That's our process.
 
As plenty of reactive investment managers sell low for the same reasons (the SP500 broke the 200-day moving average (884) yesterday), this is when you get in the game and take advantage of their groupthink. You don't have to go to college to wake-up to a market quote and say "hey, we broke the 200-day, that's bearish." In fact, it's rather sad that the sophistication of some perceived US fiduciaries only runs that deep.
 
We use the 200-day as an observation deck, of sorts. It's kind of like being at the zoo actually. Bring out the bananas in and around the timing of that 200-day line, and the behavior of the monkeys is quite predictable. For those of you who are ready to throw the keyboard at me for printing that - I'll get you a banana too. Evolve.
 
In the US stock market, here are the intermediate term TREND lines of quantitative support (3-months or more), that currently matter to my macro model:
 
1.      SP500 = 871

2.      Nasdaq = 1694

3.      Russell 2000 = 477

 
I left out the Dow Jones, primarily because that's an index that is much narrower in reach (30 inputs) and more compromised in scope (companies that need financial leverage to earn a return), than the other three. We have only been on the short side of the Dow in 2009 as a result. On my and the monkey's scorecards, the Dow Jones Industrial Index remains broken.
 
Being long financial leverage (Dow, FTSE, Swiss SMI, etc...) is not where you want to be right now. From a risk management perspective, we refer to this as a "factor." No, it has nothing to do with your latest and favorite corporate access "One-on-One." It has nothing to do with anything you'll "fundamentally" analyze in a sell-side research report. It has everything to do with the embedded macro risks that you are holding in your portfolio.
 
We want to be "long of" the economic leverage associated with Chinese demand. We want to be "long of" liquidity. We do not want to be long financially geared returns.
 
Sorry Mr. Levered Long Private Equity man who bought something at the top in 2007. That's you. As we roll into the 4th quarter of 2009, the US Federal Reserve will be forced to follow the long end of the US Treasury curve. As a result, interest rates will move higher as we push into 2010 as access to capital starts to tighten again. This will create the mother load of all private equity sponsored bankruptcy cycles. Alongside John Merriwether blowing up another hedge fund this morning, that's what you hear in this low volume US stock market folks, the changing of the billionaire hedge fund/private equity guru guard.
 
How do we invest in such an environment? Timing is critical, as is price. Don't be a US equity centric "buy-and-hold" investor. Invest tactically, across asset classes around the world, at the right price.
 
Here are some important intermediate term global macro TREND lines of support to consider:
 
1.      China (Shanghai Exchange) = 2597

2.      Hong Kong (Hang Seng) = 16,185

3.      Australia (AORD) = 3752

4.      Germany (DAX) = 4658

5.      Russia (RTSI) = 892

6.      Canada (TSE) = 9656

7.      Brazil (Bovespa) = 47,859

8.      WTIC Oil = $58.92

9.      Copper = $2.08

 
This is our investment process. These are the macro TREND lines that matter. Today is a great opportunity to get invested.
 
From the 3 US indices to the 9 aforementioned global macro lines, if we I see them break sustainably, I will be prepared to move. As one of the budding young stars on the Research Edge analyst team, Rory Green, reminded me the other day (from one of his homeland idols, Irish soccer legend Roy Keane): "Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail."
 
Best of luck out there today,
KM
 

LONG ETFS

USO - Oil Fund-We bought USO on 7/6 on a pullback in oil over the last week. With the USD breaking down, oil should get a bid. 

EWZ - iShares Brazil-President Lula da Silva is the most economically effective of the populist Latin American leaders; on his watch policy makers have kept inflation at bay with a high rate policy and serviced debt -leading to an investment grade credit rating. Brazil has managed its interest rate to promote stimulus. Brazil is a major producer of commodities. We believe the country's profile matches up well with our re-flation theme.

QQQQ - PowerShares NASDAQ 100 - We bought Qs on 6/10 and added to the position on 7/7 to be long the US market. The index includes companies with better balance sheets that don't need as much financial leverage.

EWC - iShares Canada - We want to own what THE client (China) needs, namely commodities, as China builds out its infrastructure. Canada will benefit from commodity reflation, especially as the USD breaks down. We're net positive Harper's leadership, which diverges from Canada's large government recent history, and believe next year's Olympics in resource rich British Columbia should provide a positive catalyst for investors to get long the country.  

XLE - SPDR Energy - We think Energy works higher if the Buck breaks down.  XLE is working against us as one of the worst sectors in the market right now. TRADE and TREND are negative.

CAF - Morgan Stanley China Fund - A closed-end fund providing exposure to the Shanghai A share market, we use CAF tactically to ride the wave of returning confidence among domestic Chinese investors fed by the stimulus package. To date the Chinese have shown leadership and a proactive response to the global recession, and now their number one priority is to offset contracting external demand with domestic growth.

TIP- iShares TIPS - The iShares etf, TIP, which is 90% invested in the inflation protected sector of the US Treasury Market currently offers a compelling yield on TTM basis of 5.89%. We believe that future inflation expectations are currently mispriced and that TIPS are a compelling way to own yield on an inflation protected basis, especially in the context of our re-flation thesis.

XLV- SPDR Healthcare - We re-initiated our long position in healthcare on 6/29.  Our healthcare sector head, Tom Tobin, wants to fade the public plan, and he's been right on this one all year.

GLD - SPDR Gold - Buying back the GLD that we sold higher earlier in June on 6/30. In an equity market that is losing its bullish momentum, we expect the masses to rotate back to Gold.  We also think the glittery metal will benefit in the intermediate term as inflation concerns accelerate into Q4.
 

SHORT ETFS

XLP - SPDR Consumer Staples - We shorted XLP on the bounce on 6/17.   Added to the position on 7/1, as our stance on the consumer is no longer bullish like it was in Q2, when gas prices and mortgage rates were dramatically lower.

SHY - iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bonds - If you pull up a three year chart of 2-Year Treasuries you'll see the massive macro Trend of interest rates starting to move in the opposite direction. We call this chart the "Queen Mary" and its new-found positive slope means that America's cost of capital will start to go up, implying that access to capital will tighten. Yields are going to continue to make higher-highs and higher lows until consensus gets realistic.


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