Retail Callouts (2/25): ICSC, JCP, RL, NKE, OSTK, WMT, PVH, MW, JOSB

Takeaway: Retail sales dive again. JCP and Jones strike a good deal - RL won’t like it. Adidas kicks sand at Nike Retail. Bad break for Overstock.

EVENTS TO WATCH - Big Earnings Week



  • ANF - Earnings Call: Wednesday 2/26, 8:30am
  • LOW - Earnings Call: Wednesday 2/26, 9:00am
  • TGT - Earnings Call: Wednesday 2/26, 10:30am
  • TJX - Earnings Call: Wednesday 2/26, 11:00am
  • JCP - Earnings Call: Wednesday 2/26, 4:30pm



  • BBY - Earnings Call: Thursday 2/27, 8:00am
  • KSS - Earnings Call: Thursday 2/27, 8:30am
  • DECK - Earnings Call: Thursday 2/27, 4:30pm
  • GPS - Earnings Call: Thursday 2/27, 5:00pm





ICSC - Chain Store Sales Index


The upbeat reading we reported last week was nice while it lasted. Sales for the week ending Feb 22, dipped back down to 1.4% y/y vs +2.1% in the prior week. We had some snow here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary (and by now we think people are getting rather numb to the cold and snow -- no pun intended). By and large, weather was not a major factor last week.


Retail Callouts (2/25): ICSC, JCP, RL, NKE, OSTK, WMT, PVH, MW, JOSB - chart2 2 25




ADDYY - Adidas Opens New Concept Store in China



  • "Adidas this week debuted a futuristic new concept store in Beijing. The next-generation retail store is a full revamp of the brand's massive flagship in Beijing's Sanlitun Village mall complex, the largest Adidas outlet in the world opened just before the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008."
  • "The HomeCourt store, which revamps the Adidas retail outlet that opened just before the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, features a sports-tunnel entry where shoppers approach the floor like a field, complete with the sounds of cheering fans. Shoppers can try on products in the team room, and explore choice in a fully interactive shoe bar."
  • "The HomeCourt Adidas concept store will eventually be opened in 25 locations around the world, with Rio de Janeiro and London next on the list, according to the German company."


Retail Callouts (2/25): ICSC, JCP, RL, NKE, OSTK, WMT, PVH, MW, JOSB - chart3 2 25


Takeaway: Nike has got to be fuming about the layout of the concept. The whole 'enter through a tunnel that opens up into a stadium/retail store' is something Nike pioneered about four years ago. But, unfortunately for Nike, there's no such thing as a patent on a retail layout. Smart of Adidas to have chosen a basketball theme, as it's easily the #1, #2, and maybe #3 (tie with soccer) most popular sport throughout all of China. The only downside is that they don't endorse many basketball players that resonate with Chinese consumers.


JCP - J.C. Penney Unveils Evan-Picone Line



  • "Black Label by Evan-Picone will be exclusive to Penney’s through a licensing agreement with the Jones Apparel Group. The collection, including dresses and related separates — more than 100 styles — officially launches March 7, though some styles have begun trickling into stores. Prices range from $35 for a blouse to $120 for a jacket, and the line will be frequently promoted at 25 percent off."
  • "Evan-Picone is a well-known label, sold at Macy’s, Belk, Carson’s and Amazon, among other retailers."
  • "Penney’s will go big with the new brand at the outset by launching it at 570 stores."


Takeaway: This is a win for JCP, as the Evan Picone Line has been around for decades and has a lot of brand equity with middle America. Also interesting that they're calling it 'Black Label' which is something used, of course, by none other than Ralph Lauren. While not RL's highest price point by any means, you can still find Black Label dresses and suits for up to $2,000.  We can't imagine that consumers mistake the two, but definitely a smart marketing angle by Jones and JCP.


PVH - Moody's Upgrades PVH to 'Positive'



  • "Moody’s Investors Service has revised PVH Corp.’s rating outlook to 'positive' from 'stable' based on the accelerated reduction of the company’s debt since its acquisition of The Warnaco Group Inc. and progress in the integration of Warnaco’s operations."
  • "In lifting PVH’s outlook, Scott Tuhy, vice president and senior credit officer, stuck with the 'Ba2' corporate family rating and the 'Ba1' rating on the company’s nearly $4 billion senior credit facilities." 


Takeaway: This was all in the plan, and is in response to PVH's announcement to call its 7.375% 2020 notes on February 21.


WMT - Wal-Mart’s Mexico Division to Spend $1.1 Billion to Expand Chain



  • "Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Mexican and Central American unit plans to spend 15 billion pesos ($1.1 billion) to open stores and improve its e-commerce technology, aiming to spur growth in the region as U.S. sales slow."
  • "The company expects to spend 8.4 billion pesos opening stores, adding 3.7 million square feet of space, according to a statement yesterday. Mexican floor space will grow 5 percent, with Central American stores expanding 7.6 percent."
  • "Wal-Mart’s Mexican business, known as Walmex, will spend 3.5 billion pesos of its expansion budget on remodeling and maintenance. It will devote 1.2 billion pesos to logistics and 1.9 billion to e-commerce and other technology."
  • "The company faces headwinds both at home and abroad. David Cheesewright, who became head of Wal-Mart’s international unit this month, said consumers around the world are stressed, with 'significant slowdowns' in numerous markets, including the faster-growing developing countries."


Takeaway: While only about 8% of Wal-Mart's total capex budget, the irony here is that WMT is spending more in Latin America than many US retailers spend in a decade in the US.


OSTK - Overstock fined $6.8 million for false advertising



  • "The major issue at stake was Overstock’s apparent overstatement of customer savings. Alameda County Superior Court Wynne S. Carvill hit the web retailer with $6,828,000 in civil penalties. Overstock may also have to ante up for the costs of the suit."
  • "On the site, buyers can see an item’s actual price, as well as the amount a shopper saves compared to the “MSRP,” or “suggested” retail price...the court found that the those reference prices were often created by the use of formulas not rooted in the cost of the actual product for sale, but, on similar products. Sometimes reference prices were also based on the highest possible price that could be found in the market. All this, the court said, was without adequate disclosure to consumers."


Takeaway: This is going to cost OSTK far more than $6.8mm. The company will need to revamp how it presents product and prices on its site, which could ding the perceived value proposition for consumers. The shorts are (justifiably) going to have a field day on this perennially hated stock.


JOSB, MW - Jos. A. Bank Statement on Men's Wearhouse Revised Tender Offer



  • "Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. today said that its Board of Directors will review all aspects of the revised, unsolicited tender offer for the Company announced today by The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. and will make a recommendation to stockholders in due course."
  • "The Company's stockholders are advised to take no action on the tender offer until the Company's Board of Directors has announced its recommendation."


JOSB , MW - Eminence Capital Enters Standstill Agreement with Men's Wearhouse (MW)



  • "On February 24, 2014, Eminence Capital and certain of its affiliates entered into an agreement with the Issuer and Java Corp., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by the Issuer. Pursuant to the Agreement, the Eminence Parties agreed to, among other things, (i) cease all efforts in furtherance of the preliminary solicitation statement filed by the Eminence Parties with the SEC on November 15, 2013 and any related solicitation of the Issuer's stockholders in connection therewith, (ii) withdraw its demand to inspect the stockholder list and books and records of the Issuer and (iii) a customary standstill provision, which is described in more detail below."




Bangladesh factory collapse: big brands urged to pay into help fund



  • "Only five of the 27 global clothing brands linked to the Bangladesh factory that collapsed last year with the loss of 1,138 lives have committed to paying into a compensation fund for the victims."
  • "The Clean Clothes Campaign, which wants improved conditions in the industry, said only Zara-owner Inditex, Mango, Canada's Loblaw, Denmark's Mascot and El Corte of Spain had committed to the fund, which is trying to raise $40m in time for the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in April."
  • "Several big British brands, including Primark and Matalan, are among the companies that have not paid into the fund...Other big brands connected to the factory include Walmart, Benetton and JC Penney. The collapse, the deadliest disaster in the history of the clothes industry, also left more than 2,000 injured."


Takeaway: There is a legal issue, and a moral one. Legally, it is our understanding that the brands have zero obligation to compensate the victims of the collapse. That falls upon the factory owners -- many of whom are members of Parliament and have been using their political influence to shirk safety obligations. But then there's the moral issue. Our opinion on it is irrelevant. It's one that we're hearing the companies address today -- either with action or inaction.






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MGM said it’s ready to spend $5 billion to $10 billion in Japan.  MGM Resorts wants to own at least 51% in a partnership with Japanese companies for projects in the country, said CEO James Murren.  “We will overinvest early on to ensure, as we have done everywhere else, that we have properties that are built to last and that would stand additional competition,” Murren said


Hiroyuki Hosoda, the chairman of a cross-party group of pro-casino lawmakers, said today he expects the casino bill will win parliamentary approval by June and wants lower house deliberations on the legislation to start around late April.


Meanwhile, WYNN is open to a potential joint venture in Japan, said President Matt Maddox.  CZR is in informal talks with at least 30 Japanese companies to discuss potential partnership, Steven Tight, president for international development, said.  The company wants to build casinos in Tokyo and Osaka, and sees the possibility of developing projects in Okinawa, Hokkaido and Yokohama, he said.



Macau Social Welfare Bureau says the proportion of residents that admitted to gambling at a casino fell last year.  Research by the University of Macau found the gambling participation rate fell from 56% in 2010 to 49.5% last year.


Daily Trading Ranges

20 Proprietary Risk Ranges

Daily Trading Ranges is designed to help you understand where you’re buying and selling within the risk range and help you make better sales at the top end of the range and purchases at the low end.


TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP – February 25, 2014

As we look at today's setup for the S&P 500, the range is 37 points or 1.71% downside to 1816 and 0.29% upside to 1853.                            










THE HEDGEYE DAILY OUTLOOK - 10                                                                                                                                                                  



  • YIELD CURVE: 2.42 from 2.42
  • VIX closed at 14.23 1 day percent change of -3.07%

MACRO DATA POINTS (Bloomberg Estimates):

  • 7:45am/8:55am: ICSC/Redbook weekly sales
  • 9am: FHFA House Price Index m/m, Dec., est. 0.4% (pr 0.1%)
  • 9am: S&P/CS Home Price Index 20-City m/m, Dec., est. 0.6%
  • 10am: Consumer Confidence Index, Feb., est. 80 (prior 80.7)
  • 10am: Richmond Fed Manuf Index, Feb., est. 5 (prior 12)
  • 10:10am: Fed’s Tarullo speaks in Arlington, Va.
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories


    • 10am: Senate Banking Cmte holds hearing on Terrorism Risk Insurance Act
    • 12pm: Breitling Energy CEO Chris Faulkner speaks at Natural Gas Roundtable lunch
    • Obama delivers remarks/holds event on economy at White House, Organizing for Action event in evening


  • JPMorgan holds investor mtg today; may mean shr volatility
  • JPMorgan may announce more mortgage unit job cuts today: FT
  • Boeing said to struggle to sell $1.1b of early 787s
  • Chevron said to be exploring options for U.S. midstream unit
  • Deutsche Telekom seeks WhatsApp alliance after Facebook deal
  • AT&T offers unlimited intl texts to challenge T-Mobile
  • Samsung shows Galaxy S5 reading fingerprints to fight iPhone
  • Credit Suisse said to be faulted by Senate over tax dodgers
  • Softbank said to seek stake in Naver’s Line messaging unit
  • Vivendi 4Q sales trail ests. on mobile price war
  • LinkedIn expands in China with local site limiting content
  • Microsoft CEO moves Larson-Green to software and services role
  • IBM pledges New York job retention a yr after firing workers
  • Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange goes offline as peers lash out
  • Ukraine delays picking govt. to Feb. 27, acting leader says
  • KKR gets bids of ~$800m for Ipreo from Blackstone, Carlyle: FT


    • American Tower (AMT) 7am, $0.47 - Preview
    • ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) 7:35am, $(0.46)
    • Bank of Montreal (BMO CN) 6:30am, C$1.52 - Preview
    • Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) 6:30am, $0.37
    • DiamondRock Hospitality Co (DRH) 7:30am, $0.06
    • Fifth & Pacific Cos (FNP) 7:34am, $0.28
    • FirstEnergy (FE) 8:30am, $0.70
    • HollyFrontier (HFC) 7am, $0.21
    • Home Depot (HD) 6am, $0.71 - Preview
    • Macy’s (M) 8am, $2.17 - Preview
    • Office Depot (ODP) 7am, $0.03 - Preview
    • OGE Energy (OGE) 7am, $0.25
    • OGE Energy (OGE) 7am, $0.25
    • Realogy Holdings (RLGY) 6:35am, $0.27
    • Steve Madden (SHOO) 7am, $0.53
    • T-Mobile (TMUS) 7am, $(0.13) - Preview
    • United Therapeutics (UTHR) 6am, $1.50


    • Annaly Capital Management (NLY) 4:05pm, $0.26
    • Avago Technologies (AVGO) 4:05pm, $0.79
    • Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) 4:01pm, $1.16
    • Dreamworks Animation (DWA) 4:02pm, $0.32
    • Edison International (EIX) 4pm, $0.68
    • EXCO Resources (XCO) 4:01pm, $0.07
    • First Solar (FSLR) 4:02pm, $1.02
    • Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc (JAZZ) 4:05pm, $1.78
    • Oasis Petroleum (OAS) 4:15pm, $0.63
    • QEP Resources (QEP) 4:05pm, $0.40
    • Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) 4:01pm, $1.66
    • Range Resources (RRC) 5:01pm, $0.39
    • RR Donnelley & Sons (RRD) 4pm, $0.38
    • SBA Communications (SBAC) 4:01pm, $(0.03)
    • Superior Energy Services (SPN) 4:05pm, $0.31
    • US Silica Holdings (SLCA) 4:30pm, $0.32
    • Verisk Analytics (VRSK) 4:10pm, $0.55
    • Weatherford International (WFT) 4:40pm, $0.07


  • Nickel Exceeding $20,000 for Vale on Indonesian Ore Export Ban
  • WTI Crude Falls Amid Rising U.S. Inventories; Brent Declines
  • Almond Drought Boosts India Sweets to Aussie Farms: Commodities
  • Copper Declines for a Second Day as China’s Currency Weakens
  • Gold Trades Near 16-Week High as Ukraine Weighed Against Demand
  • Sugar Extends Gains as Copersucar Cuts Brazil Area Crop Forecast
  • Wheat Holds Near 2-Month High as Cold Leaves Conditions in Focus
  • Sugar Rising to 20 Cents for F.O. Licht as Global Deficit Looms
  • Winter Natural Gas Price Swings Seen Threatening U.S. LNG Edge
  • China Copper Demand to Advance as Much as 7%, Jiangxi’s Wu Says
  • ICE Dumps Pepper in Singapore to Pave Way for Asia Expansion
  • Rolls-Royce Drone Ships Challenge $375 Billion Industry: Freight
  • Global Coal Output Triples Growth Rates of 1980s, 1990s
  • Rebar Drops to Lowest Since 2012 Amid Property Loan Curbs


























The Hedgeye Macro Team















On the heels of Bloomberg’s apparent misquoting MGM China’s CEO Grant Bowie, we decided to look at Direct VIP. 


  • In a recent article, Bloomberg asserted that MGM China is aggressively pursuing Direct VIP business at the expense of the Junkets.  MGM China claims they were misquoted and we believe them. Why would Grant Bowie alienate the junkets with such a public declaration?
  • Anyway, the chart below shows the stability of the Market Direct VIP segment over the past 2 years relative to the overall VIP business.  Direct VIP is lower relative to the 2010 highs.  Disintermediation is not likely to happen anytime soon.
  • While it’s likely that MGM could be making a push into more higher margin Direct VIP, it’s doubtful they would admit it publicly or even to Wall Street given the relationships with junkets.  MGM’s Direct VIP business as a % of total VIP has been on a slight decline.
  • MPEL seems to be the one operator making a favorable (for margins) Direct VIP move but it may be costing them some junket market share as can be seen in the second chart.




The Buffalo Jump

This note was originally published at 8am on February 11, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“If I had a mind to rent pigs, I’d be mighty upset.  A man that likes to rent pigs won’t be stopped.”

-Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove


Lately I’ve been watching the famed late 1980s mini-series, “Lonesome Dove”, on Netflix.  It is based off of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Larry McMurtry of the same name.  The novel tells the story of two former Texas Rangers, Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae and Captain Woodrow F. Call, who run a livery called the Hat Creek Cattle Company in the desolate Texas border town of Lonesome Dove.


The bulk of the plot involves the decision by McCrae and Call to leave the relative complacency of Lonesome Dove and drive a massive herd of cattle north to the Montana Territory.   On the way north, they encounter a plethora of adventures, including proverbial dust ups with the army, bandits, and Indians.


By far, the savvy plains Indians (Native Americans) are the most formidable challenge McCrae and Call face on their journey.   In reality, this is no surprise since the Natives occupied the land for thousands of years before the European settlers arrived and developed many proprietary ways of surviving off the land without the benefit of modern technology.


One such proprietary method of hunting was the Buffalo Jump.  


The Buffalo Jump - buffjump


It was a simple, but very effective method of collecting a massive amount of buffalo meat.   On horses or foot, the Natives would chase buffalo herds towards, and eventually over, a sharp cliff.  Tribesmen waiting below would finish off the buffalo and butcher the meat.   The key of course was that buffalo had no idea they were running towards, and eventually over, a cliff.


Back to the global macro grind . . .


While it is an apt analogy, we are not yet ready to say that the global economy is going over the cliff, but the fact remains that much of the data we’ve been collecting and watching is getting incrementally more negative.   Yesterday in our morning meeting, Hedgeye’s Asian Analyst Darius Dale emphasized that he is getting a little more cautious on China.


They key reason for his shift is that money market rates continue to back up.  This is a point that is emphasized in the Chart of the Day.   Further, while the government could choose to intervene, the People’s Bank of China is instead opting to let the markets settle on their own.  According to a February 8th PBOC report:       


“When the valve of liquidity starts to tame and curb excessive credit expansion, money-market rates, or the cost of liquidity, will reflect that.  The market needs to tolerate reasonable rate changes so that rates can be effective in allocating resources and modifying the behavior of market players.”


In the long run, this is likely a positive for the Chinese economy.  In the short run, of course, higher money-market interest rate volatility is likely a headwind.   


The caveat on getting aggressively negative on China is that GDP comps are relative easy for China and seasonality should also be a positive in the reported numbers this quarter and next.  In part, this is likely why the Shanghai Composite is up +0.85% this morning and +3.5% this month – a move that may have some legs if the PBOC decides to cut the Reserve Rate Ratio (RRR) as is rumored this morning.


The novel Lonesome Dove is also somewhat apropos as newly minted Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled for her debut in front of the House Financial Services Committee this morning, which will include Q&A.   Interestingly, there will be a second panel of witnesses that will react to Dr. Yellen’s testimony and will include:

  • Dr. John Taylor, Professor of Economics, Stanford University;
  • Dr. Mark Calabria, Cato Institute;
  • Abby McCloskey, American Enterprise Institute; and
  • Dr. Donald Kohn, Brookings Institution.

So, we will see soon enough if Dr. Yellen is a Lonesome Dove or as my colleague Keith McCullough called her in this video the "Mother of All Doves."   Either way, her commentary this morning is likely to have some impact on a stock and bond market that continues to be myopically focused on interest rates and Federal Reserve policy.


Speaking of headwinds, one of our Best Idea short positions Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (BWP) faced a few of them yesterday as the stock closed down -46%.  We obviously don’t get them all right, but our Energy Sector Head Kevin Kaiser nailed this one.  Interestingly, BWP didn’t miss its EBITDA estimate by all that much, but did cut its distribution by more than 80%.


A key tenet of our short call on MLPs in general is that their distributions are quite often an illusion as MLPs borrow money, issue equity and buy companies to maintain the distribution.   Investment bankers then “value” MLPs based on the yield, rather than the actual intrinsic value of the assets, and sell these financial products to unsuspecting retails investors.   This whole scheme works fine until the proverbial company goes over the Buffalo Jump and distributions get cut.


If you are invested in MLPs and / or looking for good shorts, I’d highlight recommend you subscribe to our Energy Sector research.  Anyone on our sales desk,, can help get you signed up.  The best risk management is to avoid blow ups like BWP and we seem more MLPs on the horizon that are headed for the cliff.


Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now: 


UST 10yr Yield 2.60-2.76%

SPX 1734-1814 

VIX 14.06-20.41 

USD 80.33-88.08 

Gold 1251-1287


Keep your head up and stock on the ice,


Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research


The Buffalo Jump - Chart of the Day


The Buffalo Jump - Virtual Portfolio

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