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RH - Stealth Revenue Driver

Takeaway: RH's New Financing program + growth in In-House Interior Design gives us greater confidence in our long-term revenue model.

Last night RH announced a long-term financing program that we think is positive news for its top line. The company already offers a credit card, but that carries a much higher interest rate (24.99%) and is a shorter-term financing bridge for consumers. With the new RH program, consumers can finance purchases at 5.99% for a duration ranging from 24 months to 7-years.

 

RH - Stealth Revenue Driver - chart1 10 3 14

 

There's no question for us that this is a positive for RH's top line. In our latest RH consumer survey, we asked 1,000 consumers how important it is for a furniture store to offer store credit -- on small, medium and large purchases.  Interestingly, it is 'Very Important' to only 13.6% of consumers for 'Small Purchases' and only '18.8% for 'Medium Purchases'. But once we get into the 'Large Purchase' classification, it is 'Very Important' for 41.7% of customers. Even 33.4% of the $100k+ demographic said that it Very Important to their purchasing decision.

 

RH - Stealth Revenue Driver - chart2 10 3 14

 

An interesting note is the screen shot below that 'advertises' consumers to meet with RH designers. This is the first time we EVER saw this advertised by the company. Approximately 40% of RH's business comes from designers, but they are largely third party designers. These are people that are hired by a customer and shop dozens of stores, where they pick and choose assortments that work -- maybe including RH, maybe not.

 

RH - Stealth Revenue Driver - CHART4 10 3 14

 

But now RH not only has a massive product assortment (i.e. 3,300 pages), but a stepped-up in-house Interior Design team AND  a superior long-term financing program. Add all that up and you get a stealth revenue driver that will build meaningfully.  We're not taking up our estimates (which are already high on the street by a country mile) but these factors give us more confidence that the company will get there.


Retail Callouts (10/3): KATE, NKE, LULU, Luxury

Takeaway: Adding KATE to Best Ideas list as a long. LULU finally goes mobile. Hong Kong lux market at risk.

QUIZ OF THE DAY

Yesterday's Question: What does this date, 10/2, signify in Nike’s history?

Answer: 10/2 is the day (10/2/96) that Lance Armstrong learned that he had cancer, and marked the day that 'changed his life forever'. Nike subsequently created the Livestrong Brand -- which was initially largely comprised of those yellow wrist bands. But Nike, who can capitalize on a commercial trend better than anyone, subsequently turned this into a $200-$300mm business across apparel, footwear and equipment -- and the company made a marketing splash every year on October 2. Needless to say, that business is now a big goose egg. Perhaps the peak was when Dick's Sporting Goods missed a quarter for having excess inventory of Livestrong treadmills. 

 

 

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

 

KATE - Best Idea Long 

We are adding KATE Long to the Best Ideas List - CLICK HERE for full note

 

LULU - LULU introduces new iOS App

 

Retail Callouts (10/3): KATE, NKE, LULU, Luxury - chart3 10 3 14

 

Takeaway: LULU released it's first iPhone app last night where customers can actually shop. They've dabbled in the mobile space 2 times in the past, but each was unrelated to the actual merchandise sold in its stores. Dot.com sales represent nearly 20% of sales at LULU to date, and it's been able to grow that segment exponentially without this extra piece of technology which is standard across nearly every other brand and retailer in the marketplace. If anything, this is an opportunity for LULU to cater to a segment of the population moving away from stores and desktops.

 

Not-So-Golden Week Looms for Hong Kong Retailers

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-02/not-so-golden-week-looms-for-hong-kong-retailers.html)

 

  • "Imagine a Christmas shopping season with closed stores and customers stranded because cabs are nowhere in sight."
  • "For retailers of Fendi bags and Rolex watches in Hong Kong, that’s the type of nightmare unfolding as pro-democracy protests wreak havoc during one of the busiest times of the year, the China National Day holidays known as Golden Week. Demonstrators are occupying shopping areas from Causeway Bay to Tsim Sha Tsui, and are disrupting transportation and shutting stores."

 

Takeaway: Despite the seriousness of the situation, we're hard pressed to think that any US companies are going to miss the quarter because of the situation in Hong Kong. But Chinese tourists accounted for 75% of the Hong Kong's 54mm tourist visits last year. That will be materially crimped this year. In all likelihood, a vast majority of the Chinese tourists will spend that money elsewhere. If they want a Kors bag, they're going to get a Kors bag.

 

 

OTHER NEWS

 

RSH - RadioShack Said to Reach $590 Million Refinancing Agreement

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-02/radioshack-said-to-reach-refinancing-deal-with-standard-general.html

 

  • "RadioShack Corp., the electronics chain trying to stave off bankruptcy, reached an agreement with a consortium led by Standard General LP to refinance about $590 million of loans to re-stock ahead of the holidays, a person familiar with the matter said."
  • "Standard General, a New York-based hedge fund, will lead a group of lenders to refinance debt outstanding under a $535 million asset-backed revolving credit line from GE Capital, the lending arm of General Electric Co."

 

WTSL - The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces Departure of Chief Financial Officer

(http://ir.wetsealinc.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=874394)

 

  • "The Wet Seal, Inc., a leading specialty retailer to young women, announced that the Company's Chief Financial Officer, Steve Benrubi, has resigned and will remain with the Company through December 1, 2014, to assist with the transition. The Company will commence a search for a new Chief Financial Officer."

 

Warren Buffett admits Tesco investment ‘a huge mistake’

(http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/27963a92-4a36-11e4-8de3-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=intl#axzz3F4wExOvy)

 

  • "Clean-up in Aisle 7. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, staring at an $800m spillage from his stake in Tesco, admitted that his holding in the UK supermarket chain was a 'huge mistake'."
  • "The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which is Tesco’s fourth-largest investor with a 3.97 per cent stake, made his mea culpa on Thursday, contributing to the gloom surrounding the retailer as it deals with plunging profits and an accounting scandal."

 

Sur La Table CEO names former Bath & Body Works chief as new CEO

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/sur-la-table-ceo-names-former-bath-body-works-chief-new-ceo)

 

  • "Kitchenware retailer Sur La Table has appointed industry veteran Diane Neal as its new CEO. She succeeds Jack Schwefel, who has left the company to pursue other opportunities after serving as Sur La Table’s CEO since 2007."
  • "Neal served as CEO and president of Bath & Body Works from 2007 to 2011. She currently serves on the boards of several retail companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Fossil Group Inc. Neal also held leadership positions at Gap and Target."

 

AMZN - Amazon Warehouse Workers Want to Be Paid for Waiting in Line

(http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-02/security-checks-paid-as-work-supreme-court-will-decide)

 

  • "Amazon.com warehouses are full of stuff people like. To cut down on theft, workers who box and ship it are required to pass through security checkpoints after their shifts, waiting in lines that can take almost 30 minutes to get through."
  • "On Oct. 8 the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether that time counts as work. In 2010 two former employees of Integrity Staffing Solutions, a temp agency that supplies workers at many of Amazon’s U.S. warehouses, sued the company demanding back pay for the time they spent in security lines after clocking out at Amazon warehouses in Nevada. The security checks, the plaintiffs argued, were required by Integrity and therefore part of the job."

 

HD - Home Depot extends e-commerce capabilities westward

(http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/home-depot-extends-e-commerce-capabilities-westward)

 

  • "Home Depot is extending its e-commerce capabilities westward with the opening of a dedicated online fulfillment center in California."
  • "Located in Perris, California, the 858,953-sq.-ft. facility will initially employ approximately 150 people, and eventually employ up to 300. It is one of three new DFCs opening across the US in addition to the company’s existing network."

 

UA - Under Armour to build new DC in Nashville suburb

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/under-armour-build-new-dc-nashville-suburb?ad=news)

 

  • "Under Armour plans to build a new one million-sq.-ft. distribution and warehouse facility in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. This will be Under Armour's third distribution center in the United States, with the original warehouse in the company's hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, and the other located in Rialto, California."

Draghi Drugs and the S&P 500

Client Talking Points

DRAGHI

ECB President Mario Draghi, poor guy is “frustrated” now that neither the economic data (SEP Services PMIs slowing in Europe) nor the equity markets are cooperating with his “communication tools” – this may very well be how this epic central planning experiment ends – when people realize that 0 + moarrr 0 doesn’t = something greater than 0.

EUROPE

Germany’s stock market is closed today but got slammed -2% on the Draghi Drugs being impotent – inclusive of this morning’s no-volume bounce, now we have all of the major European Equity Indices (EuroStoxx600, DAX, FTSE, CAC, MIB Index) signaling bearish TREND @Hedgeye w/ #EuropeSlowing.

S&P 500

Maybe bad news would be good for spooz today, who knows – but what was intermediate-term TREND support of 1963 SPX is now resistance and there is no support to the 1910-1915 range if the market decides that bad is bad; employment reports are lagging indicators anyway.

Asset Allocation

CASH 60% US EQUITIES 2%
INTL EQUITIES 8% COMMODITIES 4%
FIXED INCOME 24% INTL CURRENCIES 2%

Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration
EDV

The Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (EDV) is an extended duration ETF (20-30yr). Now that we have our first set of late-cycle economic indicators slowing in rate of change terms (ADP numbers and the NFP number), it's time to really think through the upcoming moves of this bond market. We are doubling down on our biggest macro call of 2014 - that U.S. growth would slow and bond yields fall in kind.

TLT

Fixed income continues to be our favorite asset class, so it should come as no surprise to see us rotate into the Shares 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) on the long side. In conjunction with our #Q3Slowing macro theme, we think the slope of domestic economic growth is poised to roll over here in the third quarter. In the context of what may be flat-to-decelerating reported inflation, we think the performance divergence between Treasuries, stocks and commodities may actually be set to widen over the next two to three months. This view remains counter to consensus expectations, which is additive to our already-high conviction level in this position.  Fade consensus on bonds – especially as growth slows. As it’s done for multiple generations, the 10Y Treasury Yield continues to track the slope of domestic economic growth like a glove.

RH

Restoration Hardware remains our Retail Team’s highest-conviction long idea. We think that most parts of the thesis are at least acknowledged by the market (category growth, real estate expansion), but people are absolutely missing how all the pieces are coming together to drive such outsized earnings growth over an extremely long duration. The punchline of our real estate analysis is that a) RH stores could get far bigger than even the RH bulls seem to think, b) Aside from reconfiguring 66 existing markets, there’s another 19 markets we identified where the spending rate on home furnishings by people making over $100k in income suggests that RH should expand to these markets with Design Galleries, and c) the availability and economics on large properties for all these markets are far better than people think. The consensus is looking for long-term earnings growth of 28% -- we’re looking for 45%.  

Three for the Road

TWEET OF THE DAY

TREASURIES: 10yr 2.44% = down 9bps on the wk, -59bps for the YTD - crusher yr to be long the Long Bond $TLT

@KeithMcCullough

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential.

-Liane Cardes

STAT OF THE DAY

The UK Services PMI slows to 58.7 in SEP vs 60.5 in AUG and France's Services PMI slows to 48.4 SEP vs 49.4 AUG.


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 80.64%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.61%

CHART OF THE DAY: Need. Moarr. Drugs. $DXY

CHART OF THE DAY: Need. Moarr. Drugs. $DXY - Chart of the Day

 

Mario Draghi’s Drugs proved to be impotent in yesterday’s real-time market voting session. Germany’s DAX closed down -2% on the day. That puts every major European Equity market index in bearish TREND signal mode @Hedgeye.


Moving Onward

“I move onward, the only direction – can’t be scared to fail in search of perfection.”

-Jay-Z

 

If that isn’t a great thought for someone running their own business, fund, or money, I don’t know what is. You are going to make mistakes out there. The way to win in business, over time, is to not let your big mistakes ride. Moving on matters.

 

I’ve been writing a lot more about demographics and generations  this year. And I think I’m onto something #behavioral with that. Many of the problems you see in the political economy today are being perpetuated by the policies of one generation (Baby Boomers) trying to maintain its indebtedness to another (GI generation). If we don’t learn from these mistakes, we’ll fail.

 

Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) isn’t a boomer. He’s a 44 year old GenX guy who built himself up from nothing and absolutely crushed it. That’s why another successful GenX guy, Ben Horowitz, cites Jay-Z in The Hard Thing About Hard Things (pg 39). That’s how a lot of guys my age think. For the first 15-25 years of our adult lives, we’ve seen a lot of mainstream thinking fail.

 

Moving Onward - j1

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

Thinking from another generation’s perspective is not easy. That’s why I read so many #history books. It helps me at least try to walk in other people’s shoes, and learn from their collective experience.

 

Writing about markets and economies is relatively easy when I compare it to my day job (running a company). That’s where I have to constantly remind myself to not react emotionally to other people’s perspectives. Empathizing with them matters.

 

Looking at the world through such different prisms helped me separate facts from perception… I learned to look at alternative narratives and explanations coming from radically different perspectives to inform my outlook.” –Ben Horowitz

 

Hopefully our Q4 Macro Themes call yesterday helped inform your outlook too.

 

Since we’d been working on the content side of the slide deck for the last few weeks (which is really just a cumulative update on what we’ve been writing about every day), the investor feedback to yesterday’s call is what mattered most to me.

 

The most contested points of the presentation were:

 

  1. US Dollar – if the Dollar is strong and commodities are deflating, why not buy consumer stocks?
  2. #Quad4 - how can you say the setup is like Q3 of 2008? that was a once in a lifetime event.
  3. #Bubbles – a series of questions that basically implied it’s different this time.

 

(We will have video of the Q&A portion of the call available later today.)

 

My answers graze the surface on what I am thinking right here and now. Obviously with time and price, my answers should and will change. But, in summary, the main takeaways are as follows:

 

  1. Dollar Up, Rates Down = #Quad4, and that’s deflationary for both Energy (XLE) and Consumer Discretionary (XLY) stocks
  2. #Quad4 happens. In rate of change terms, that is. Because it’s 1 of 4 places you eventually traverse during a cycle.
  3. And on #Bubbles, I don’t think it’s different this time.

 

In other news, Yodlee (a financial apps company) is going to raise $75M in an IPO today. Love #apps. But seriously.

 

Back to the real world, both the market reaction and economic news has apparently “frustrated” another one of these un-elected men (Draghi) that God put on earth to centrally plan the business cycle.

 

Put another way, Mario Draghi’s Drugs proved to be impotent in yesterday’s real-time market voting session. Germany’s DAX closed down -2% on the day. That puts every major European Equity market index in bearish TREND signal mode @Hedgeye.

 

Not surprisingly, our #EuropeSlowing Theme was not contested. That’s the thing about markets. Sometimes they move downward, fast. And when they do, the search for research perfection in explaining the alternative narrative gets a lot easier.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now (my Top 12 daily risk range callouts (with intermediate-term TREND overlay) are in my Daily Trading Range product – just math – ask to trial it):

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.39-2.51%

SPX 1

RUT 1081-1134

France (CAC) 4

USD 84.47-86.39

Gold 1

 

Best of luck out there today,

KM

 

Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer

 

Moving Onward - Chart of the Day


Scottish Independence Squashed

This note was originally published at 8am on September 19, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.

“Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will, and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.”

-Stephen Covey

 

As of early this morning the vote is in:  the Scots squashed independence and with it the 307 year old union with England remains intact… at least for now.  The vote was 55% NO to 45% YES.

 

And did Pound Sterling ever bounce on the outcome, rising as high as $1.65, and currently is settling in at $1.64!   We were positioned long the GBP/USD (via the etf FXB) ahead of the event (we added it on 9/8 to our Real-Time Alerts) with a succinct thesis:

 

A NO vote leads to a relief rally (see the chart below) and a YES vote leads currency traders to assess the United Kingdom’s fiscal health without Scotland as much improved, which leads to a long term tail wind for the Pound.

 

 In effect, a win-win situation. And we didn’t even have to use our crystal ball!

 

Scottish Independence Squashed - hed

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

In some sense the Scottish independence vote felt like another Greece moment during the thralls of the Eurozone crisis. There were many ways to interpret what was the “best” outcome.: Greece in or out of the union?   And what prevailed was politicians fear mongering on the consequences of a breakup and impressing how the whole is stronger than the sum of its parts – and so Eurocrats quelled the Greek urge for self-determination outside of the Eurozone.

 

It appears that in Scotland, like Greece, the more rational perception of economic wellbeing (along with the fear of myriad uncertainties associated with independence) won over the emotion of nationalism.

 

But is economic wellbeing in Scotland, like Europe, a myth?

 

Our macro team has been making a call for growth slowing in Europe these last months (we’ve recommended shorting Eurozone equities (EZU), France (EWQ), and the EUR/USD (FXE) throughout the quarter), as Eurozone GDP rolled over in Q2 and everything from confidence figures to industrial production and retail sales fell across most European countries over the last 3-6 months.

 

In recent weeks, and in classic lagging fashion, we’ve seen confirmation of this descent in the form of numerous European central banks, countries, and economic organizations revising down their economic expectations for the year:

  • The ECB revised down its 2014 Eurozone GDP projections to 0.9% vs 1.0% in June
  • The Swiss National Bank cut its 2014 GDP projection to 1.5% vs 2% previously forecast
  • Italy’s 2014 GDP projection was cut to 0.4% by the OECD vs the government forecast of 0.8%
  • France’s Finance Minister cut 2014 GDP projection to  0.4% vs 1.7% initially forecast
  • Sweden’s Riksbank cut 2014 GDP projection to 1.7% vs 2.2% forecast in July

Additionally, when we evaluate “health” at the country level based on unemployment rates, it appears that the crisis in Europe has hardly passed. The Eurozone unemployment rate is elevated at a sticky 11.5%, almost double the U.S. at 6.1%. Moreover, when you look at unemployment for people under the age of 25 the numbers are staggering:

  • Spain 53.8%
  • Greece 51.5%
  • Italy 42.9%
  • Ireland 25.1%
  • France 22.5%

Now while it’s plenty easy to push back on these figures and say we’ve mostly cherry-picked the weakest countries (well, France is the 2nd largest economy of the Eurozone), or that there’s no merit in the way unemployment rates are calculated (possibly fair, but the European figures here all come from Eurostat), the point we’re making is that there will be generational TAILs from what some have call this “lost” generation of youth that cannot or will not find a job/establish a career and will rely even more heavily on state support throughout their lives.

 

As the ugly equation of declining growth + high unemployment + low and deflating inflation comes home to roost, the ECB’s newest response is to lever up its balance sheet (ECB President Mario Draghi has indicated the willingness to increase it by €1Trillion) and extend QE as the “elixir” to inflect weak and declining fundamentals across the region. 

 

As Keith mentioned in yesterday’s Early Look:

 

“When it comes to central planning limits, there are none (yet). And that’s making your job as a Risk Manager all the more challenging. No matter what you think the Fed, ECB, and BOJ should do, you have to operate within the paradox of what they will do.”

 

Our view on the impact of ECB policy and the direction of Eurozone fundamentals remains decidedly bearish; here’s a look at how we’ve sized up the latest actions since the ECB’s last meeting on Sept 4th:

  • While QE has proven to put a floor in equities in the past, QE is far from the elixir to inflect weak and declining fundamentals across the region.  Witness Japan’s failed efforts with QE!
  • While on the margin Draghi’s credit easing programs should help to encourage lending and therefore growth to the real economy, the failure of past LTROs to improve lending conditions are fresh in memory. This time the TLTROs may in fact not be different. Interestingly, the first TLTRO tranche yesterday saw take-up by the banks of only €82.6B, well below consensus estimates of €150B
  • We reiterate that inflation (via currency debasement) is not growth, even if Draghi showers us with QE
  • From here our proprietary GIP model (growth, inflation and policy) for assessing economies suggests the Eurozone economy will land in the ugly quads #3 and #4 in 2H, representing growth slowing as inflation decelerates/accelerates (see the chart of the day below)

 

Don’t forget that a full 45% wanted Scottish independence. Certainly some significant percentage of this group’s thinking also anchored on the hope that a vote for independence would benefit their personal stead. But interestingly it appears that this camp was not favored by a youth presence (today’s vote included age 16 and above). In fact, a poll by TubeMogel ahead of the vote asked 16-18 year olds their preference and 57% selected NO.

 

And this actually makes some sense: the life of this group has been so influenced by the global recession and impacts from the Eurozone crisis on slower growth and joblessness (if not for them directly, then their parents and others around them) that their highest priority for this vote was limiting future economic uncertainty.

 

While Scotland is not Catalonia and France is not Greece, there remain many cracks across Europe, economic and cultural alike. We suspect these cracks are here to stay and that even the mighty Draghi QE wand can’t fix them. 

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.36-2.63%

SPX 1996-2016

FTSE 6759-6885

USD 83.78-84.69

EUR/USD 1.28-1.30

Pound 1.62-1.65

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Matthew Hedrick

Associate

 

Scottish Independence Squashed - d cod


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