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Retail Callouts (4/16): KORS, NKE & ADDY, BBY, GPS

Takeaway: KORS inks new eyewear deal with LUX. NKE & ADDY factory shutdown. BBY retail chief retires after 1yr on the job.

EVENTS TO WATCH

 

WEDNESDAY

  • GPS - Investor Meeting: Wednesday 4/16, 1:00 pm

 

THURSDAY

  • LULU - Analyst Day: Thursday 4/17, 12:00 pm

 

COMPANY NEWS

 

KORS, LUX - MICHAEL KORS ANNOUNCES EYEWEAR LICENSE WITH LUXOTTICA

(http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=235654&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1918813&highlight=)

 

  • "Michael Kors Holdings Limited and Luxottica Group  announced today that they have signed a new and exclusive eyewear license agreement for the Michael Kors Collection and MICHAEL Michael Kors eyewear. The first collection produced with Luxottica will launch in January 2015."
  • "The partnership with Luxottica...will last 10 years. It will allow Michael Kors...to continue the global expansion of the brand’s eyewear business. Luxottica will produce eyewear for both the Michael Kors Collection and MICHAEL Michael Kors lines, beginning with Spring 2015. The brand’s two luxury eyewear collections will be carried around the world in Michael Kors stores, department stores, select travel retail locations, independent optical locations and Luxottica’s retail stores."

 

Takeaway: The deal with LUX partners KORS with the dominant player in the eyewear segment and will give the company a much more prominent place inside Luxottica's retail network. Nice upgrade here for KORS with the Marchon deal set to expire.

 

NKE, ADDYY - China Shoe Plant Strike Disrupts Output at Nike, Adidas Supplier

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-15/nike-shoemaker-yue-yuen-says-over-1-000-china-workers-on-strike.html)

 

  • "Workers at Nike Inc. and Adidas AG shoe supplier Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd. in Dongguan, China struck for a third day seeking a 30 percent pay increase and better benefits, disrupting output."
  • "The number of striking workers increased today, a spokesman for Hong Kong-based Yue Yuen said, without estimating the number of strikers or affect on production. He asked not to be identified because of company policy. New York-based China Labor Watch estimated strikers at 30,000."
  • "Adidas is 'closely monitoring the situation' at the factory, Katja Schreiber, spokeswoman for the company, said by e-mail today."
  • "Nike 'is concerned by the events' and is monitoring production and the dialog between factory management and workers, Greg Rossiter, a spokesman for the Beaverton, Oregon-based sporting goods company, said in an e-mail."

 

Takeaway: Regardless of the outcome here, its clear that input costs, both material and labor, are headed higher. With Gross Margin turning from a tailwind to a headwind and an incremental $400mm in SG&A we're looking at 9% decline in EPS with the top line growing at 10%. If NKE can't grow EPS at a Nike-esque 20% rate when futures are six months into a DD growth rate, then when will it happen?

 

OTHER NEWS

 

BBY - Best Buy's top U.S. store executive departs

(http://www.startribune.com/business/255243381.html)

 

  • "Seven months after getting a new title, Best Buy Inc.’s president of U.S. retail stores retired and is being succeeded by the retailer’s chief human resources officer."
  • "Shawn Score, a 29-year veteran of the Richfield-based company, was put in charge of its 1,400 U.S. stores in January 2013. He was named president of the unit, the biggest in the company, last October. Best Buy on Monday confirmed the departure of Score, 48, but declined further comment."
  • "Shari Ballard, the human resources chief, will take on Score’s duties. ­Ballard, a 21-year employee, will retain the human resources job, which she got last August after leading Best Buy’s approximately 450-store international unit. She previously was executive vice president of retail channel management. Best Buy said Ballard is a permanent replacement for Score, rather than an interim choice."

 

GPS - Gap Inc. Announces Marissa Webb as Creative Director and Executive Vice President of Design for Banana Republic

(http://www.gapinc.com/content/gapinc/html/media/pressrelease/2014/med_pr_MarissaWebb_CreativeDirector_BananaRepublic.html)

 

  • "Gap Inc. today announced that Banana Republic has named Marissa Webb as Creative Director and Executive Vice President of Design, effective April 28. She will be responsible for guiding the brand’s overall creative direction, as well as leading global product design for Banana Republic Women’s, Men’s, and Accessories.  Marissa will report to Global President of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun."
  • "...Marissa Webb is most recently known for her eponymous upper contemporary label. Prior to branching out on her own during 2011, she spent time at Polo, Club Monaco and over a decade at J. Crew Group Inc., where she served in various design roles, including Head of Womenswear and Accessories Design.  Webb will retain her role as President and Creative Director at Marissa Webb, in addition to her newly appointed role at Banana Republic. Webb’s first collection for Banana Republic is expected in the summer of 2015."

 

ANN, DXL, DEST - Private equity and retailers court each other

(http://www.thedeal.com/content/consumer-retail/private-equity-and-retailers-court-each-other.php)

 

  • "One of the easier deals, at least on paper, likely to get done this year is a leveraged buyout of Ann Taylor parent Ann Inc., according to industry sources. Leading the line of potential buyers would be San Francisco's Golden Gate Capital, which already took a 9.5% stake in the women's apparel retailer in March. Ann is already working with a financial adviser, a source said."
  • "Two other retailers available for tie-ups with private equity are Destination Maternity Corp. and Destination XL Group Inc., according to industry sources. Those sources said the retailers are often on bankers' lists and have been circulated as potential acquisition targets over the past few years. Either could be targeted…"

 

ADDYY - Adidas Links With Mary Katrantzou

(http://www.wwd.com/markets-news/intimates-activewear/adidas-links-with-mary-katrantzou-7645297)

 

  • "Come November, London-based designer Mary Katrantzou will collaborate with Adidas Originals on a long-term partnership that will consist of a women’s-focused apparel and footwear line."
  • "The designer follows in the footsteps of names like Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons and Rick Owens, among others, and will be the first women’s-focused collaboration line since Stella McCartney’s."

 



REGIONALS: APRIL FLOWERS

April and Q2 gaming revenues should be better than bad following an awful Q1.  BYD and PENN probably guided low enough for Q1.

 

 

Call to Action:

Catalysts are lining up positive for PENN and BYD with potential in-line to slightly better Q1 earnings and sequentially better Q2 gaming revenues.  PNK Q1 looks at risk.

 

Summary:

Investors have been waiting a long time for regional gaming revenues to improve.  On the heels of a disastrous December performance, we had many winter storms and brutally cold weather plus a March that surprised many folks (not us) to the downside.  With Louisiana and Mississippi still to report, SS revenues are tracking right in-line with our projection of -7% for March (see our note: ANOTHER REGIONAL REVERSAL?, 4/2/2014).  We expect Louisiana and Mississippi to report mid single digit declines in revenues for March.

 

The good news is that analysts have already lowered Q1 estimates for PENN and BYD.  While there should be a few more stragglers, we think current estimates reflect reality – BYD provided its last guidance update on March 1st and PENN was necessarily conservative when it reported Q4.  PNK seems to be the company most at risk for Q1.  We’ll see when Louisiana releases estimates but consensus Q1 estimates of $0.42 looks $0.05-0.10 too high.  For PENN and BYD, we wouldn’t be surprised with an in-line to slight beat.

 

This may not be the most compelling investment thesis ever, but going forward, regional gaming revenues look better than bad – still negative but decidedly less so as seen in the following chart.

 

REGIONALS: APRIL FLOWERS - REGIONALS 4 16 2014 9 01 18 AM


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LEISURE LETTER (04/16/2014)

TICKERS: PENN, DRH

EVENTS TO WATCH:  UPCOMING EARNINGS / CONFERENCES / RELEASES

Wednesday, April 16

  • HTZ at BAML Auto Summit

 Thursday, April 17

  • Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission Meeting - scheduled to decide whether it will grant Cedar Crossing Casino a state gaming license, which would make the facility the 19th casino in Iowa.
  • GE 1Q14 Earnings – 8:30 am Conf Call – real estate comments?
  • BX 1Q14 Earnings – 11 am Conf Call PIN 149 943 55 – lodging comments & color?
  • TZOO  Earnings – 11 am Con Call
  • DIS – Investor Day – cruise & parks commentary?

Monday, April 21

  • Genting Singapore – Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, April 22

  • IGT FQ2 earnings:  5 p.m. Conf Call   , Passcode: IGT

Thursday, April 24

  • WYN Q1 earnings - 8:30 a.m. , Passcode: Wyndham
  • LHO Q1 earnings - 9:30 a.m.
  • PENN Q1 earnings - 10 a.m.
  • HOT Q1 earnings - 10:30 a.m. , Passcode: 12049644
  • LVS Q1 earnings - 4:30 p.m. ; PW: 18236529

COMPANY                

PENN - Continental Real Estate Cos, based in Columbus Ohio, is negotiating with PENN to buy and redevelop the Beulah Park property, which will cease to be a racetrack in May. Beulah Park will hold its final thoroughbred horse races on Derby Day, May 3, and then will close. PENN will transfer the site's gaming license to Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley (Youngstown).

TAKEAWAY: The monetization of a hidden asset on PENN's balance sheet.

 

DRH - sold the 386-room Oak Brook Hills Resort for $30.1 million, including $4.0 million of seller financing or approximately $78k/key.

TAKEAWAY: Seems to be a very low price per key, but deferred capex likely a hurdle to getting a better price.

 

INDUSTRY

Macau table/slot count Q1 2014 DICJ  Gaming tables sequentially declined from 5,750 in Q4 2013 to 5,700 in Q1 2014.  Slot machines sequentially rose from 13,106 in Q4 2013 to 13,232 in Q1 2014.

TAKEAWAY:  The slight table decline in Q4 is a little surprising given all the fuss over lack of tables.

 

LEISURE LETTER (04/16/2014) - mm

 

VIP Player Scrutiny - The Treasury Department is seeking to enforce Article 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act, which was enacted over 10 years ago. The Treasury Department claims Las Vegas Strip casinos are years behind other financial institutions in handing over their data and customer lists.  Fred Curry, a partner with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, says it is only “a matter of time” before such information is going to be handed over.

TAKEAWAY:  Clearly not a positive for the casino industry, this could also lead to increased audits by the Internal Revenue Service based on suspicious activity.

 

Japan Gaming Congress -http://www.japangamingcongress.com/

TAKEAWAY:  The Yumeshima annoucement yesterday shows Japan interest is heating up. This conference is held before the May debate on a possible casino bill.

 

Macau Infrastructure - the China high speed train between Beijing and Guangzhou will be delayed from 2015 to 2016 and expected to open for passenger services in 2017.

TAKEAWAY:  A near term negative for the mass segment growth.

 

Vietnam Gaming - Casino operator Donaco International cleared the final regulatory hurdle in its bid to open a new hotel and casino in Northern Vietnam with a focus of attracting Chinese gamblers in the bordering Yunnan province.  The company is run by Joey and Ben Lim who are nephews of casino magnate K.T. Lim, the founder of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Berhad.  Genting Hong Kong, which is part of Mr Lim's empire, has a strategic stake in casino operator Echo Entertainment Group.  The five star 428-room hotel and casino is now slated to open in a "soft launch" on May 18th.

TAKEAWAY: This is a foreigners only casino.  Vietnam's upcoming pilot project ($7BN Van Don Casino), which would be open to locals, is the real prize.

 

Atlantic City Property Comp – based on company filings by Bally’s Atlantic City casino, TJM Properties, the buyer for the former Claridge Casino/Hotel in Atlantic City paid $12.5 million for the property.

TAKEAWAY: Another low transaction price in a fading market.

 

MACRO

China - Q1 GDP growth: +7.4% YoY vs +7.3% consensus and +7.7% YoY in prior quarter

TAKEAWAY: A beat off of a lowered number

 

China 1Q14 Home Sales Decline - (Bloomberg) home sales fell and new property construction declined 25% in Q1, as credit remained tight, adding to signs of a slowdown.  The value of homes sold fell 7.7% year/year to 1.1 trillion yuan (US$177 billion) and the last time home value sales dropped in 1Q2012.

TAKEAWAY: A key metric that bodes poorly for China

 

China Shadow Banking (Business Times) - Chinese companies that have lent money to other companies are facing a potential wave of defaults, with several firms reporting missed loan repayments, including Sainty Marine and Qiaqia Food Co.  According to Chinese Central Bank data, the shadow banking industry granted a net 2.55 trillion yuan ($411 billion) in so-called entrusted loans last year, nearly double the total for 2012, making them the second-biggest source of domestic credit behind bank loans.

TAKEAWAY: No doubt Chinese government is keeping a close watch on shadow loan defaults. Could impact Macau VIP

 

Hedgeye remains negative on consumer spending and believes in more inflation.  Following  a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye Macro/Financials team is turning decidedly less positive.

TAKEAWAY:  We’ve found housing prices to be the single most significant factor in driving gaming revenues over the past 20 years in virtually all gaming markets across the US.

 



Economic Kings

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing besides remains.  Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The long and level lands stretch far away.”

-Shelley

 

The excerpt above is from one of my favorite poems, “Ozymandias”, written by Percy Shelley.  As you might have been able to decipher, the poem (well sonnet really) is about the inevitable decline of all leaders and the empires they build based on personal pretensions to greatness.

 

The economic and military history of the world is replete with examples of great empires that have been built and then suffered decline.  The most notable to us in the west is likely the British Empire, and rightfully so.  At its peak the British Empire covered more than 13,000,000 square miles, or ¼ of the earth’s surface.

 

The second largest empire in the history of the world was the Mongol Empire.  The origins of the Mongol empire were admittedly modest and started when a young boy named Temujin vowed in his youth to bring the world to its feet.  Genghis Khan, as he would later be known, did that and more.  The Mongol empire, although almost impossible to manage, stretched from Vietnam to Hungary and was the largest contiguous empire in history.

 

In modern days, empires are more commonly measured by economic output. Currently, the top three economic empires in the world are the United States with a $16.8 trillion GDP, China with a $9.2 trillion GDP, and Japan with a $4.9 trillion GDP.  Collectively, these behemoths make up almost 40% of the global economy.

 

If history tells us anything, to the point of Shelly’s sonnet, emperors will decline.  Or as a quant might say, revert to the mean.  The challenge for us as stock market operators is to find opportunities in this tectonic economic shift and to be on the right side of global economic empire building and subsequent declines.

Back to the global macro grind . . .

 

The mighty empire of China reported some critical economic numbers last night.  My colleague Darius provided a quick summary of the results below:

  • APR MNI Business Indictor: 51.1 from 53.4… G -1
  • 1Q Real GDP: 7.4% YoY from 7.7% vs. a Bloomberg consensus estimate of 7.3%... G -1
    • QoQ: 1.4% from 1.7% vs. a Bloomberg consensus estimate of 1.5%
  • MAR FAI: 17.6% YoY from 17.9%... G -1
  • MAR Retail Sales: 12.2% YoY from 13.6% in DEC (most recent release)... G -1
  • MAR Industrial Production: 8.8% YoY from 9.7% in DEC (most recent release)…   G -1

As you can see from his short hand notation, “G -1” (growth decelerating), broadly speaking the data was incrementally bearish for growth.  

 

In the Chart of the Day, we take a look at year-over-year Chinese growth by quarter going back ten years.  As the chart highlights, it is really no secret that Chinese growth has been declining and also no surprise that the Chinese stock market is basically shrugging off the data this morning. 

 

Most pundits are now vocal on the fact that Chinese growth has slowed and is slowing.  Meanwhile, Chinese policy makers are of the view that this is the bottom in China’s economy (in as much as an economy growing 7%+ can be considered bottomed).  Given that policy makers have the ability to stimulate and an early, inside look at the data, at a minimum, we’d probably not short China here.

 

Or as Genghis Khan said:

 

“If you’re afraid – don’t do it, if you’re doing it don’t be afraid.”

 

Speaking of being afraid, what scares me and should scare most stock market operators are the mysterious projections that many strategists of the Old Wall come up with.  As an example, yesterday we took a look at the projections for real GDP growth in the U.S.  From Q2 2014 to Q2 2015 the real GDP quarterly growth rate is projected as follows:

  • Q2 2014 – 3.0%
  • Q3 2014 – 3.0%
  • Q4 2014 – 3.1%
  • Q1 2015 – 3.0%
  • Q2 2015 – 3.0%

Clearly, Herding 101 was a well attended class by most of these sell side economists in PH.D. school . . .

 

We are not ready to call for the decline in the United States economic empire just yet, but we are wise to note that the Emperor, namely the U.S. dollar, continues to weaken and, in our view, is likely front running a more dovish tone by the Fed.  In that vein, the U.S. 10-year yield is down again this morning (albeit small) as well after failing to participate in the late day, low volume exuberance in equities yesterday.

 

For those of you that do watch the Fed closely, Grandma Yellen, I mean Chairperson Yellen will be speaking at 12:15pm this morning in beautiful New York.  Our friends at Goldman Sachs are out this morning saying it will be pertinent to interest rates, and the market seems to be agreeing with (or maybe front running) that view.  

 

Finally this morning on the inflation front, and this is a point we highlighted in our recent themes deck, we are starting to see some tightness in the labor market.  According to an article from Bloomberg, businesses in some US cities are raising wages and adding benefits to attract employees as metropolitan jobless rates have fallen below the 5.2% to 5.6% level considered full employment.  The article noted that 49 of the 372 metro areas reported rates below 5% in February, while four years ago just two cities were below that level.   This has the potential to build what we call #StructuralInflation and it is prudent to keep your hedgeyes on this trend.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

SPX 1

Russell2000 1093-1151

Nikkei 136

USD 79.11-80.03

EUR/USD 1.36-1.38

Brent 107.99-110.76

 

Good luck empire building today!

 

Keep your head up and stick on the ice,

 

Daryl G. Jones

Director of Research

 

Economic Kings - Chart of the Day


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