EVENTS TO WATCH
Hedgeye Department Store Black Book/Tomorrow -- Thursday October 16th 11amEST
In Thursday's Black Book, we dive into the industry's supply/demand balance, real estate profiles, category exposure and e-commerce margins.
Relevant tickers: JCP, M, KSS, DDS, JWN, SHLD, TGT, WMT, TJX, and GPS.
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Conference Code: 693664#
Materials: CLICK HERE
Takeaway: We've been scratching our heads lately in looking at the strong ICSC numbers. This basket of 80 retailers shows 3.8% yy growth, which has been in stark contrast to Consumer Confidence. But this morning's retail sales report actually matches up well with ICSC. The gov't numbers and the ICSC trends (both 2 and 3-year run rate) are clearly decelerating.
Tory Burch Interview
Takeaway: This was a big interview for Tory. She grabbed the headlines again only a month after luring ex-RL COO Roger Farrah to be her co-CEO. She came across as being extremely poised, confident, and surprisingly humble (we think she's less humble off camera). She nixed the idea of an IPO, but not convincingly. We still think that will come within 12-18 months. The interview is worth a watch.
NKE, WMT, HMB - Converse Accuses Wal-Mart, H&M of Selling Knockoff Chucks
"Nike Inc.’s Converse sued Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Hennes & Mauritz AB, along with other retailers and shoe importers, accusing them of selling knockoffs of its iconic Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers."
"Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, and H&M, Europe’s second-biggest clothing chain, sell shoes that are 'confusingly similar imitations' of the trademarked All-Star shoes that date back to 1917, Converse said in separate complaints filed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York."
Takeaway: The irony is that Nike had its beta test with Wal-Mart and what was then its Starter brand. That failed miserably and Nike proved one of the few companies to walk away from a partnership with WMT. WMT thought it could go solo in sourcing Converse knock-offs for its stores. That's backfiring. The interesting thing about this space is that so many companies knock off other brands -- it's simply accepted as the norm. But that does not mean its ethical, or better yet, legal.
ZQK- Quiksilver Announces Changes to Leadership Team
"Quiksilver, Inc. announced that the company is taking the next step in its transfer of leadership, which began with the appointment of Andy Mooney as chief executive officer in January 2013. Following a successful handover, Bob McKnight will retire as a senior executive of the company on October 31, 2014, and he will remain a director. The company also said Andy Mooney has been elected chairman and Pierre Agnes has been promoted to president of Quiksilver, Inc., effective November 1, 2014."
Takeaway: The stock traded up 14.5%, and then after the close it is announced that McKnight is retiring for real. Looks like someone got that memo before the rest of us.
LULU, NKE - Lulu Mannequin Wearing the Swoosh
Takeaway: LULU mannequin's never EVER wear Nike's. But these outfits in the front store of Lululemon SoHo broke that rule big time. The other two broke it again by not only wearing Converse, but knockoff Converse. See lawsuit comment above.
Restoration Hardware Comp? Arhaus
It's so hard to find a comp for Restoration Hardware. People look at West Elm, or Williams-Sonoma, but they're really different customers looking for a different aesthetic at a different price point. But take a look at Arhaus (pronounced Our-House). It is by far and away the closest we've ever come to seeing the 'Resto look' in a place that's not Resto. Granted, the prices are higher, the quality is lower, and the design is a 7 to RH's 10. It also lacks the size and scale to compete with RH's prices. But this is one to watch.
Nike Product Spotlight - New Fuel Band
Takeaway: This is puzzling. Nike shuttered its hardware business in April. It did so, we think, because it had otherwise planned to produce a SportsWatch at a $400 price point. Tim Cook, who is on Nike's Board, likely stepped in and 'advised' Nike that it would be a bad idea to compete with Apple iWatch, which is at a sub-$400 price point. He's right. These fuelbands advertised above could be modified leftover inventory -- at least that's how it sounds to us.
KATE - KATE SPADE & COMPANY CONFIRMS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED PLAN TO APPOINT THOMAS LINKO CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
"Kate Spade & Company confirmed its previously announced plan and appointed Thomas Linko as Chief Financial Officer of the Company. In this position, Mr. Linko will oversee the global finance team and report to George Carrara, President & Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Linko is the former Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Juicy Couture."
Takeaway: This is absolutely not new. It's a positive, as KATE needs strength at the top of its finance organization. But it's not new. As a sidenote, KATE currently has a job posting for a new VP Financial Planning and Investor Relations.
GPS - Gap Inc. Adds 63,000 Jobs This Holiday Season
"Gap Inc. announced plans to hire more than 63,000 seasonal associates nationwide at its Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta stores, call centers and distribution centers for the 2014 holiday season."
"Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta are also coming together to hold a series of in-store hiring events in the company’s first-ever Holiday Hiring Blitz, taking place October 13 - 18."
AMZN - Smiths News launches new Pass My Parcel delivery service with Amazon.co.uk
Pass My Parcel will provide a speedy, efficient and flexible parcel service for consumers who want a quick and convenient way of collecting their parcel. This new service will see Smiths News distribute parcels on behalf of Amazon, to its consumers through a network of independent retailers operating as parcel shops.
WTSL - The Wet Seal, Inc. Announces Initial Steps in Cost Savings Plan
The Wet Seal, Inc., a leading specialty retailer to young women, today announced that it has begun the initial steps to reduce the Company's overall cost structure. As part of this initiative, the Company instituted a workforce reduction resulting in the elimination of a combination of 78 filled and open positions. These include 66 positions at the Company's corporate office, representing a 24% reduction in headcount, and 12 positions at the field management level, representing a 20% decrease.
Gucci Making Retail Push in Russia
"A floundering economy, falling oil prices and a weak ruble against the stronger dollar and euro currencies — combined with a potential worsening of Western sanctions — are no roadblocks for Gucci, as it rolls out its new retail strategy in Russia."
"The Italian firm, which last April took direct control of the retail network and operations for its three stores in the Moscow area, has opened two new units in the region this month — a 10,764-square-foot flagship store located on Moscow’s prestigious Petrovka Street, and a 7,534-square-foot boutique in the city’s GUM department store. Both units feature the latest Gucci store concept, which mixes the brand’s signature rosewood and marble with Art Deco-inspired elements, such as ribbed glass, polished gold, smoked mirrors and bronze glass."
VFC - This North Face Store's Floor Disappears, Forcing Startled Shoppers to Climb the Walls
Alco Stores files Chapter 11, to sell or liquidate
"The 113-year-old retailer and its subsidiary, Alco Holdings Ltd Liability Co., filed voluntary petitions for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. It listed assets of $221.7 million and debt of $161.6 million."
"Alco said Wells Fargo intends to provide it with a $110 million revolving credit facility and a $12.6 million secured term loan so it can repay some debts and continue operating."