EVENTS TO WATCH
KATE - Earnings Call: 10:00am
FOSL - Earnings Call: 4:30pm
M - Earnings Call: 10:30am
WMT - Earnings Call: 7:00am
KSS - Earnings Call: 8:30am
JCP - Earnings Call: 4:30pm
JWN - Earnings Call 4:45pm
Takeaway: This week's 3.2% is a respectable number in its own right. Unfortunately we're coming off a seven-week run of stellar growth -- with most weeks coming in above 4%. Important to keep in mind that sales growth last year took a notable dive in the back half of August and remained weak through most of October. The point is that assuming all else is equal with the consumer (which might not be a safe bet) we should see respectable readings in this index for the next 10 weeks. If they're not, it won't be a good indicator of the consumer's health.
AMZN, WMT, BBY - Disney-Amazon Dispute Concerns More Than Pricing
- "A particular concern of Amazon, those people noted, is that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best Buy Co. and other brick-and-mortar retailers sometimes charge less than the wholesale price for a new disc to lure people into stores so that they will purchase other, more profitable items. Amazon often tries to match those prices, but doesn't reap the benefits of drawing customers into a physical showroom."
- "As a result, the online retailer has asked studios to help make up for losses in those situations, the people said."
- "Amazon has engaged in tough negotiations with Hollywood studios in the past, but until the Warner Bros. dust-up, it doesn't appear to have previously impeded consumers' ability to preorder discs."
Takeaway: We respect the power of the Amazon business model as much as even the biggest Bull. But is Bezos serious on this one? He wants margin support (basically markdown money) from studios and publishers simply to offset the fact that WalMart, Target and Best Buy use media as a loss leader to driver traffic into the store, and capitalize on purchases in other categories? Sorry Jeff, but that's where a brick and mortar business model actually has an advantage versus being 100% virtual. This is like if WalMart were to complain that it has to pay Associate Comp, Rent, and Utilities. Something tells us that AMZN is just going to have to suck it up and live with this one.
WWW - Two Million Moms Love Stride Rite®
- "Stride Rite®, the best place to shop for kid's shoes, today announced a significant milestone for Stride Rite® Rewards, hitting the two million member mark in just 18 months."
- "The latest enhancement to the program is the introduction of the new Stride Rite Rewards App. The app enables customers to better manage their account and leverage all the benefits of the program whether they are in-store or online, just in time for the back-to-school season. The app is now available for download on iTunes and Google play."
SHLD, Kmart - Sears Holdings Names Alasdair James As Kmart's President And Chief Member Officer
- "Sears Holdings announced today that Alasdair James has joined the company as President and Chief Member Officer for the Kmart business. In this role, Mr. James will be responsible for driving the Kmart format strategy, managing the Kmart P&L and aligning merchandise, marketing, pricing and selling with the needs and wants of Shop Your Way® members."
- "Since 2007, Mr. James held roles of increasing responsibility with Tesco, where he most recently served as the commercial director for the company's global business unit."
Record imports expected in August
- "Import volume at major U.S. container ports is expected to hit an all-time record in August as retailers concerned about the lack of a West Coast longshoremen’s contract rush to bring holiday season merchandise into the country, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates."
NYC’s first enclosed mall in 40 years officially opens
- "The Mall at Bay Plaza, New York City’s first enclosed fashion mall in over 40 years, officially opens on Aug. 14."
- "Located on Baychester Avenue in the Bronx, the 780,000-sq.-ft., three-level center will be the largest shopping mall in the city. It will include a new, ground-up Macy’s and an existing J.C. Penney as the anchor tenants. Over 100 retail shops have been constructed, many of which will operate in the Bronx for the first time such as H&M, Michael Kors, Ulta, Victoria Secret, and Kay Jewelers. Four new restaurants, a new gym and AMC Theater will be featured tenants as well."
DEST - Anthony Romano Appointed As Destination Maternity's Chief Executive Officer
- "Destination Maternity Corporation, the world's leading maternity apparel retailer, today announced that Ed Krell is stepping down as the Company's chief executive officer and a member of its board of directors. Anthony M. Romano will become the Company's chief executive officer and be appointed to its Board of Directors, effective immediately."
GME - GameStop streamlines trade-in pricing policy
- "GameStop plans to offer customers more for their pre-owned video games with a new, streamlined trade-in program that will launch nationwide August 18."
- "The program will feature four price-points depending on whether a customer chooses cash or in-store credit for their items and whether they are a PowerUp Rewards Pro member."