No, we do not believe this unprecedented global central banking experiment ends well.
Takeaway: WMT's 4Q15 print read-through to top SHORT ideas - TGT, HIBB, KSS
The Wal-Mart US business posted its first positive traffic count since 3Q13 and it’s no surprise Comp number followed suit even against a 14 week quarter last year.
A few read-throughs from the WMT print to some of our top SHORT ideas:
1. TGT - The across-the-board wage hikes are not good for TGT. It will cost WMT about $0.20 in earnings or about $930mm pre-tax for the 500,000 US WMT store level employees. That equates to $1870 per employee. TGT will need to maintain the compensation spread. If we extrapolate the cost to TGTs ~300K store level employees we are looking at an additional $560mm in compensation expense (about 75bps of EBIT margin). That flows through to about $0.56 in EPS, about a 12.5% hit to the company's forecasted 2015 earnings number of $4.48. Chances are that TGT does not follow suit immediately, but will see if it can comp with a tighter wage gap to WMT. This is officially on the table for TGT.
2. HIBB - Historically the company's comp trends have mirrored the traffic and comp trends at its neighbor WMT. WMT US just posted its first positive traffic number in 9 quarters, and that coincides with HIBB comping against a -10% number last January. To us that set's HIBB up for a surprise to the upside on the revenue line. If we don't see it, it's a clear indication that this business is broken. For FY16 we're 10% below the street, that spread widens to -75% by year 5 of our model.
3. KSS – Everyone already knows that KSS recently reported positive store comps for the first time in 3 years. The question on most people’s minds is whether it is due to the company’s own initiatives, or a better macro climate. After seeing retailers like BonTon and Belk put up mid single digit comps after a horrendous stretch for 2+years and now seeing WMT’s comp tick up on the margin – it supports the case even more that KSS’ recent strength is not company specific. When people attribute macro tailwinds to company-specific ‘Greatness’, it gets us a lot more intrigued on the short side. KSS remains one of our favorites.
In this excerpt from today's edition of RTA Live, a subscriber asks Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough if he can ever remember a time when Wall Street called stocks "expensive."
***Check out Hedgeye Financials analyst Josh Steiner's article (mentioned in the video at the 1:09 mark) here.
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Takeaway: Q4 performance, 2015 guidance, and clear strategic and capital deployment vision justifies 52 week high stock price and big multiple
- Every region signed a record number of deals in 2014
- Added 5 brands in 5 years (Autograph, Moxy, AC Hotels, Gaylord, Protea)
- Edition: 2 London/ 1 Miami already open; New York Edition will open in next few months; closed Miami Edition last night
- Booked $10bn revenue on Marriott.com; nearly 20% coming through mobile
- Rewards membership: 49m (contributed 1/2 of worldwide occupancy)
- 60% new members were next generation travelers
- 40% new members are outside NA
- 2015: gross rooms growth 7% (6% net of deletions)
- Supply: STR estimates supply increased 0.9% in 2014 and expects 1.3% growth for 2015
- Have 10% share of NA rooms
- Have 26% of share for under construction market
- Expect to have more than 100 Autograph hotels open by end of 2015
- 16 Moxies in pipeline (Europe) and 5 Moxies in pipeline (US)
- Last month, approved 2 Moxy deals in Manhattan. Expect 150 Moxy hotels open by 2023.
- Aggressive expansion abroad for limited service (Residence Inn/Fairfield)
- In 2014, US htoels reported 20% increase in guests coming from Greater China
- Q4 2014:
- Higher termination fees added 1 cent
- NA systemwide REVPAR : ~7%
- Strong REVPAR in San Francisco, Pacific NorthWest, Florida
- Transient demand was strong. Nearly half of top 20 markets increased retail REVPAR by double digits
- Q4 Group REVPAR rose 6%; 4% growth in full service hotels reflecting holiday timing
- For 1Q 2015, group revenue pace up 6% while FY 2015 group pace is up 5%. Meeting planners bullish, booking windows lengthening and room rates are strengthening
- In 4Q, group room revenue booked for all future periods increased 9%.
- 2015 corporate rates will increase 5-6%
- Across US system, international guests make up only 5%. So don't see FX headwind for US business
- Expect 5-7% 2015 NA REVPAR
- Caribbean/Latin America
- REVPAR rose 8% in 4Q
- Strong leisure/good group drove results in Caribbean/Mexico
- Brazil soft
- Expect constant dollar REVPAR of mid single digits for 2015
- Q4 REVPAR: 3%
- Good group attendance, strong holiday demand in Germany/Austria, easy weather comps
- Weak Russia
- In 2015, London will benefit from strong group business and rugby Cup later.
- ~30% of European lodging demand comes from outside Europe (20% NA, 6% Asia)
- Expect 2015 REVPAR increase in low single digit rate
- In 2014, 7% of fees came from Europe
- REVPAR up 15% in 4Q
- Egypt strong
- Expect 2015 REVPAR increase in high single digit rate
- In 2014, 3% of fees came from MEA
- Asia Pacific
- REVPAR increased 3% in 4Q
- Weaker yen boosted Japan
- RevPAR in Greater China increased slightly reflecting strong Shanghai demand offset by the disruption from political demonstrations in Hong Kong.
- In 2015, expect demand will remain strong in Shanghai and improve in Hong Kong...a mid single digit growth rate for the region.
- In 2014, 9% of fees came from Asia-Pacific (5% from Greater China)
- Operations outside US contributed 25% of fees in 2014
- For 2015, 1% move in dollar, net of hedges would change adjusted EBITDA by $3m
- In 2015, new accounting rules require service charges to be included in property revenue. Expect WW house profit margins would increase 60bps instead of 90bps as a result of this change
- 2014: incentive fees increased 18% with more than half of hotels worldwide paying incentive fees
- 2015: fee 9-11% growth
- Incentive fees growing in low double digit rate
- Constrained by unfavorable FX, lower deferred fee recognition, and renovations
- Estimate FX to reduce fee revenues by $15-20m in 2015
- 2015 guidance excludes pending Delta acquisition. P&L impact from Delta will be 'noisy'. Transaction should be modestly accretive in 2016.
- REVPAR sensitivity unchanged: 1 point REVPAR = $20m fees and $5m on owned/leased
- 2015: plan to renovate several owned/leased hotels and begin construction Fairfield Inn Brazil
- Cash return to shareholders in 2015 will be at least that in 2014
- 1Q 2015
- Fee growth in mid teens rate with higher relicensing and application fees
- While group pace is strong, full service RevPAR growth in North America is likely to be a bit lighter than later in the year due to property renovation schedules and the recent northeast snow storms.
- Expect owned leased and other revenue net of expenses will increase more than 20% with the Addition of the Protea leased hotels and higher credit card branding fees.
- G&A should increase in the first quarter reflecting higher brand initiatives and hotel development expenses. However, first quarter G&A will also benefit from a roughly $12 million net favorable impact to our legal expenses associated with certain litigation resolutions.
Q & A
- Difference between upscale and UUP #s is really about group
- In a higher rate environment, transient grows faster than group
- Shortcoming of REVPAR is that it doesn't include non-room revenue...that's associated with group business
- Don't think near maturity of cycle
- Focused on G&A costs flat, growing at a minimum
- Limited service paying fees: 50% in 2014, 38% in 2013
- No hotel renegotiations that have moved the needle
- Lending market getting a little better for big hotels but it's targeted.
- Lead times extended out for construction
- Full service development: very small volume of deals
- Asia-Pacific REVPAR rising in 2015: In 1H 2014, Thailand was rough. China should be similar to 2014 but easier comp.
- Potential Asset sales ($600-650m)
- Have small Courtyard in Europe on the market.
- 2 EDITIONS in Miami and Residences
- Expect $50m in Residences
- Also will collect some notes due 2015 ($30m)
- Preferred stock coming due
- Buyback vs dividend: buyback more flexible. PE multiple at 26 (higher than 20-yr avg of 22) but think EPS can grow 20% in next couple of years so valuation not a concern
- Conversions: into Marriott and Renaissance brands from independents
- Capex breakout: need to spend $80-100m to finish Edition buildings. Don't need to put a lot of capital to get new Select-Service hotels. $100m or so on key money and loans. Not more aggressive on key money than their competitors
- US Net room growth: most will be upscale in secondary markets
- Half of 2015 openings will be US. Most will be franchised select service and extended stay hotels
- Assume breakeven on Miami Edition Residences
- Intensely competitive business
- NY international exposure: 10-15%
- FX will hurt arrivals in NY
- Room night international arrivals to NY down 3% in 4Q 2014
- FX helping travel to Paris/London
- Shanghai REVPAR: 6-7%; continues to see it perform well
- Expect govt austerity to continue to China
- Q4 interest accretion $7m benefit: had been recording too much interest on accreting bond.
- Expect US pipeline to continue to grow
- Expect fewer signings in China in 2015
- Delta impact in 2015: transaction costs will result in a couple of pennies impact (not in guidance)
- Fees 1Q 2015: more chunkier relicensing fees than other quarters
- Tough comp for 3Q 2015: in 3Q 2014, had $15m deferred fees
- Expect franchise fees to grow faster than managed fees
- Expect REVPAR for franchise and managed to be roughly comparable
- FX impact most pronounced in Europe
- Moxy Europe per key costs: 40-50k euro range
- Diluted share count at end of 2014: 286m
- 1Q NY Group could be negative: (Super Bowl comp, snow storms and supply)
- Expect NY to underperform by few hundred basis points with Q4 2015 being the weakest
Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough shares the top three things in his macro notebook this morning.
Takeaway: FL stock Repo is no surprise, but need for capital investment intensifying. AdiBok CEO search = positive for NKE & UA , negative for FL.
EVENTS TO WATCH
FL - New Stock Repo and Capital Allocation Plans
Takeaway: The $1bn repo announcement is not a surprise. The company is coming to the end of its existing $600mm authorization ($70mm left at the end of 4Q by our math), and every year at this time it announces its capital deployment plan following the first Board meeting of the new fiscal year.
We still really like this name as a Short. Admittedly, the next few weeks will be an uphill battle. With last night’s announcement, the print on 3/6 (which we don’t think will be outstanding, but probably won’t tank), and the company’s analyst meeting on 3/16 in NYC.
But any way we cut it, the warning signs are there. The key to this call is that the model is transitioning into a lower margin and lower-return business. Under the Hicks regime, capital was pulled from the model (stores, SG&A, working cap, capex) which took productivity and margins to new peak. The new model is one where store closure opportunities are minimal, and both SG&A and capex need to head higher to refurbish existing stores to maintain market share – and that’s a best-case scenario. In fact, the 2015 capital budget remains elevated at $220mm up from $160mm two years ago.
AdiBok, NKE, UA - Adidas launches search for new CEO
Takeaway: This was a long time coming at Adi. Not because of shareholder activism. But because the brand has been handing over market share hand and foot to Nike globally while at the same time it sat on the sidelines as UA became the #2 player in the US market. Now, there is instability at the top of the organization just as the brand is trying to right the ship. There is no clear timetable for Heiner to become the old CEO. The longer the search takes, we think = a bigger opportunity for Nike and UA to accelerate market share gains.
As for Foot Locker, we think that this is probably a slight negative development on the margin. The best possible environment for an athletic retailer is when the major brands are heavily competing for shelf space. That competition will ease before it ultimately (in a few years) intensifies. Nike and UA won't have to fight as hard, or spend as much, to get incremental space at FL. And keep in mind that Nike is already at 68% of sales for FL. Foot Locker wants nothing more than to have a strong staple of contenders looking to take a few points of share. That's not gonna happen.
Kering Classifies Sergio Rossi as Sale Asset
AdiBok - Taylormade: First work from new creative lead
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Facebook debuts product ads
Kenneth Cole Names Marc Schneider CEO
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