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Takeaway: Much going on today – too much to list. Apparently all a company has to do is print a number – any number – and stock goes up. #expectations

EVENTS TO WATCH - Big Earnings Week



  • 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


CRI - 4Q Earnings


Carter's (CRI) beat the quarter by a penny, which is good enough in this tape. But the quality of earnings left much to be desired. Guidance was weak, but that's typical for CRI. They're a 'guide and beat' kind of company. But the SIGMA chart really tells all here. The past five quarters have been a downward spiral. Margins slowly eroding, while sales weaken and inventories build. There are factors to explain some of this away, including international expansion. But the fact is that when the line in the chart below goes down and to the left, it means that cash flow compresses.

Retail Callouts (2/26): CRI, TGT, ANF, UA, JCREW IPO?  - chart5 2 26

TGT - 4Q Earnings


Please check out what we just said about Carter's. Now substitute the word Target for Carters'. That pretty much sums it up. The only real difference is that TGT's guidance in 1Q is worse than CRI's . Makes sense given that now they have to deal with their data breach. We'll get more details on the quantification on the company's conference call at 10:30. But it looks like they've thrown a very beared-up scenario into their comp. But just because they set appropriate expectations, it doesn't mean that it's worth buying. Not by a long shot.

Retail Callouts (2/26): CRI, TGT, ANF, UA, JCREW IPO?  - chart3 2 26

ANF - 4Q Earnings


Notice a trend anyone? Over the past 5 quarters ANF looks just like the names above. ANF clearly put up a good number relative to expectations -- which is has to do given that it's in the midst of a management coup and it has to put its best foot forward. ANF actually did what CRI and TGT did not…it took a turn in the SIGMA analysis up and to the left, which is almost always an extremely bullish signal. Let's not declare victory here, as the move is a small one. But we'll take it.

Retail Callouts (2/26): CRI, TGT, ANF, UA, JCREW IPO?  - chart4 2 26



JCrew - J. Crew Said to Be Talking With Banks About 2014 IPO


  • "J. Crew Group Inc...is interviewing banks as it weighs an initial public offering in the U.S. later this year, people familiar with the matter said."
  • "With 451 stores and about $2.4 billion in annual sales, J. Crew may fetch a valuation of as much as $5 billion, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. That’s almost twice the $2.64 billion value of J. Crew’s buyout by TPG and Leonard Green three years ago."

Takeaway: Remember when going private at its all-time high was a great idea AFTER JCG went on a blistering run from $9 to $43 back in 2010/11? Well… let's forget that. Now going public is an even better idea. This article says that J Crew is 'interviewing' bankers, but something tells us that the bankers had this planned all along. Now Drexler's appearance at ICR last month makes all the more sense.

UA - UnderArmour set to release Speedform Apollo 2/28


Retail Callouts (2/26): CRI, TGT, ANF, UA, JCREW IPO?  - chart2 2 26

Takeaway: Like 'em or not, UA is doing an outstanding job marketing this new footwear launch. It's heads and tails above prior launches. Quite frankly, if you did not see an UA reference, you'd probably otherwise think that this is Nike.  UA is turning footwear into a two-horse race in the US. Adibok is no longer a factor.

ADDYY - World Cup T-shirts pulled by adidas after Brazilian tourism board complain they 'encourage prostitution'


  • "Sports brand adidas have accepted a request from Brazil's tourism board to stop selling two T-shirts it marketed ahead of this year's World Cup because they encourage sexual tourism."
  • "One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the word-play 'Looking to Score.'" 
  • "The other has an 'I love Brazil' heart resembling the upside-down buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini bottom."

Retail Callouts (2/26): CRI, TGT, ANF, UA, JCREW IPO?  - chart1 2 26

Takeaway: I think I've got to bow out of commenting on this one.


MW, JOSB - Men's Wearhouse Wins First Battle


  • "Men's Wearhouse on Tuesday won court approval to expedite its request for a hearing on whether it can bar the planned acquisition of Eddie Bauer by Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc."
  • "Delaware Chancery Court Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster made the ruling... said that Men's Wearhouse made a 'credible basis for believing that the Eddie Bauer transaction is defensive' and that it was in response to a 'hostile bid.' He also noted that the features of the Eddie Bauer transaction 'totally may well fall outside the range of reasonableness,' noting for example the termination fee and its 'alleged magnitude.'"

Takeaway: This whole thing has turned into a circus sideshow, but we've gotta say that we're happy to see MW come out ahead on this one. The move to buy Eddie Bauer on the part of JOSB is one of the more laughable M&A moves we've seen in retail -- ever.


ARO - Aeropostale Said to Consider Investment From Private Equity


  • "Aeropostale Inc., the teen apparel retailer under pressure from an activist investor to sell itself, is working with Barclays Plc to explore options such as the sale of a convertible note or preferred stock to a private-equity firm, people with knowledge of the matter said."
  • "Aeropostale is also weighing a straight-up sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The New York-based retailer contacted at least two buyout firms as of last month as management weighs alternatives, people familiar with the situation said then."

TGT - House oversight panel seeks documents on Target breach


  • "A House of Representatives committee with broad investigative jurisdiction has turned up the heat on Target Corp, demanding that the No. 3 U.S. retailer turn over internal documents and messages describing how and when it learned of a recent massive consumer data breach."
  • "In a letter made available on Tuesday to Reuters, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requested that Target turn over all documents or communications generated between November 1 and December 13, in which Target employees or 'agents' discuss 'any suspicion' that a data breach had occurred."

LVMH - All Eyes on Nicolas Ghesquière's Debut at Louis Vuitton


  • "Nicolas Ghesquière is fashion’s man of the hour: 10 a.m. on March 5, to be precise. That’s when one of the most anticipated events of this international fashion season takes place as the French designer makes his runway debut at Louis Vuitton…"
  • "Since being appointed to succeed Marc Jacobs as artistic director of Vuitton in October, roughly one year after ending a 15-year tenure at Balenciaga, Ghesquière has given scant indication about where he might steer the storied French firm, which is marking its 160th anniversary this year."