Despite a recent uptick, oil prices are still down around 50% from June of last year. We still don’t like it.
Knapp released his casual dining same-restaurant sales estimates for March comparable sales and traffic growth. Importantly, Knapp noted that the accounting results for March 2015 will likely be lower than the weekly estimates due to a shift in timing that would include the last week of February 2015 – a period that had lower comparable sales than the last week of March 2015.
Knapp Sequential Moves
March estimated Knapp Track same-restaurant sales growth came in at +0.8%. If the accounting period number is unchanged from the estimate, that will imply a sequential change in the two-year average trend of -55 bps. This would mark the fourth month out of the last five in which this metric has decelerated.
March estimated Knapp Track same-restaurant traffic growth came in at -1.9%. If the accounting period number is unchanged from the estimate, that will imply a sequential change in the two-year average trend of -5 bps. This would also mark the fourth month, out of the last five, in which this metric has decelerated.
Casual Dining Underperformance
Casual dining stocks, in aggregate, continue to slightly underperform the XLY Index. It is interesting to note that this underperformance has intensified over the past week, suggesting that casual dining stocks are really beginning to cool off as sales and traffic trends decelerate.
Takeaway: BBBY joins WMT, TGT, TJX, MCD in raising wages. PIR - e-comm costs, case study for building a direct business.
RH - To see our note RH - Why NSP is NOT and Issue CLICK HERE
Keep An Eye On 2H Wages (KSS, JCP, M, etc…)
BBBY: Bed, Bath & Beyond Guiding 2015 Increase in Compensation
Takeaway: The weak comp and revenue guide were not a shocker – as concern over top line trends is what caused us to pull the name off our long bench in January. But the bigger call out for us is that BBBY is jumping on the bandwagon of higher wages. That’s WMT, TGT, TJX, MCD, and now BBBY. Right now this is an issue that nobody cares about. And why should they when we’ve got an environment that’s good enough for the likes of weaklings like KSS, JCP, BELK and BONT to comp in the mid-single digits. But, this is the time of year when demand for employees is at its lowest. Come late summer as retailers start to prep for back-to-school and then again for holiday, we think companies like KSS, JCP, M, will be in for a rude awakening if the risk management process doesn't start now.
Our analysis shows that KSS is at most risk with the highest potential impact to EPS, and the lowest compensation rate according to glassdoor.
PIR - 4Q14 Earnings
Takeaway: We continue to see a stark bifurcation in the home furnishings space between the established order (PIR, ETH, BBBY, and to some extent WSM) and RH. We never agreed with the compare between PIR and RH and that extrapolation seems to be a thing of the past. But we think it's important to draw a distinction between a retailer with 1074 units selling middle of the pack decorative items and RH who operates in around 70 markets and is doing to the home furnishings space what Ralph Lauren did to apparel in the 80's.
That being said, expectations were extremely low following the guidance snafu and the ouster of the company's CFO in February. E-comm popped from 4% of sales LY to 11% in the most recent quarter and margins took a beating as a result -- down 200bps. Some of that is due to investment, but we have to think that shipping is a big headwind facing this company, even though PIR doesn't currently offer free shipping no matter how much the consumer spends. The margin implications are even worse as they try to compete for market share online with Amazon (generally Free Shipping) and Wayfair ($49 threshold). That's a good case study for other retailers in the space who are attempting to grow this channel. Particularly HIBB, who is one of the only retailers left in retail without an e-commerce presence.
WBA - 2Q15 Earnings
KORS - Michael Kors launches Canadian e-commerce website
BRIEF-Interparfums and Coach sign global license agreement
WMT - Walmart wage hikes under way in many states
NKE, ICON - Fila and Iconix Settle With Converse
LVMH - Louis Vuitton Opens New Miami Store
Authentic Brands Group Introduces Mini Marilyn
Hudson’s Bay Shareholders Set Secondary Offer
The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.
Takeaway: Punchline = if you’re worried about RH New Store Productivity, don’t be.
We’ve had a barrage of questions over the past 24 hours about Restoration Hardware’s new store productivity – or lack thereof. First off… there is absolutely positively nothing ‘funny’ going on here as it relates to asset productivity. Unlike an apparel retailer that adds four stores per week, RH is adding four this year. It is a different animal altogether, one where the timing of an opening date, revenue recognition, and whether or not a Legacy store is closed all meaningfully impact what people consider ‘New Store Productivity’. Second, this is absolutely positively nothing new. There have been anomalous factors impacting the reported numbers for nine months now. Someone simply decided to write a report yesterday highlighting it 2 weeks after the earnings report.
Also, let’s not forget the big picture here. This company just finished a seven-year period where it consistently shrunk its square footage footprint every year, and just started off an inverse period where it will grow square footage by 20-30% annually over another 5-7 years. Given its limited store count, unique customer ordering profile, and radical change in the box size, it’s a near certainty that there will be major swings in ‘new store productivity’. The good news is that what has hurt RH for the past nine months should start to go the other way later this year.
There are 3 factors impacting the numbers, which are as follows:
1) Timing of Sq. Ft. Growth – RH grew square footage by 9.6% in the quarter. By standard thinking, that should flow through to the top line. But over the past 4 quarters, we’ve seen sq. ft. growth in the 5%-10% range while the spread between Brand Comps and Consolidate Revenue growth has been flat to negative. We understand why that draws red flags. In the most recent quarter – that is mostly explained by the timing of the new design gallery openings in Melrose (10/24/14) and Atlanta (11/21/14). If we exclude the net new square footage from these two stores, about 50k sq. ft., square footage growth in the quarter would have been flat. With the 16k additional sq. ft. from New York and Greenwich offsetting the lost square footage from the Legacy Store closures in Berkley, West Nyack, and Providence.
2) Shipping Window – The main reason we need to exclude the additional square footage from Melrose and Atlanta is because of the 8 to 12 week (even longer with the port issues) fulfillment window between the time an order is placed and the time that product arrives in homes. Because RH doesn’t recognize revenue until that order arrives in a consumers home, there has been almost 0 benefit from the additional square footage -- YET. This will change in 1Q and build throughout the year.
3) Legacy Store Closures – The company has been paring back its store portfolio for the better part of 7 years. It is finally to the point where all the ‘bad’ Legacy stores are history. We’ve thought all along that RH would not close as many of its remaining legacy stores from this point forward (which is inconsistent with guidance) as it would likely utilize the real estate in new concepts, and would also serve as a buffer for new Design Galleries, which – while bigger – are still arguably not big enough for the respective markets.
a) To offer up some numbers, RH has 64 markets by our classification, and when we analyze each one (which we did) they all have the spending characteristics on high end household furnishings to support at least a 7,000 sq. ft. Legacy Store. That’s calculated by looking at the 2018 addressable market, assuming 10% market share, and 1,200/sq. ft. in productivity.
b) The way the math works, 22 of the 64 markets could support a store between 25k sq. ft. and 39k sq. ft., 16 could support a store between 40k and 59k sq. ft., and another 22 have the market characteristics that could support upwards of 60k sq. ft (that’s 22 Atlantas). Note: in the chart below each bar represents a market where RH currently opperates. The height of the bar signifies the size of the store each market could support. Blue line is an existing Legacy store, red line is a first gen Design Gallery, and green line is an Atlanta.
c) The decision to close those markets was calculated – meaning that the company could capture sales lost in a closed market in one of its existing locations or online. Some of those sales are probably lost for good, but the dollars that remain get allocated to either the direct channel or another store which is already in the comp calculation.
Takeaway: We are adding REITs (VNQ) to Investing Ideas.
Please note that we are adding VNQ to Investing Ideas today. Below is a brief note written earlier this morning by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough.
On Tuesday I presented our Q2 Global Macro Themes that boiled down to Lower-For-Longer (on rates).
Q2 2015 MACRO THEMES OVERVIEW:
#LateCycle USA: Employment, Inflation and Earnings follow an archetypic progression over the course of the economic cycle and always look best before the crest. We’ll detail where we are in the current cycle, the likely trajectory for this trinity of late-cycle macro indicators from here and how best to be positioned in the twilight of the current expansion.
#DemographicYields: Year after year in the post-crisis era, investors, economists and policy-makers alike have consistently seen their estimates for GDP growth, inflation and interest rates surprised to the downside. Perhaps there is some merit to the “secular stagnation” thesis most recently highlighted by Bernanke’s blog. In this theme, we pull back the curtains on the impact of demographics on the domestic and global economy. The conclusion? Lower-for-longer...
Oil’s #DeflationDeck: Taking a birds-eye view of oil prices throughout the peaks and troughs in business cycles provides essential context as deflation’s dominoes continue falling on a global scale. With the U.S. production machine changing the supply/demand dynamics in global energy markets, a deep-dive of this shift is key to generating sector-specific alpha into
One way to invest in Lower-For-Longer, from an equity perspective, is being long US REITS. They are testing the low-end of my immediate-term TRADE range today, but remain bullish from a TREND perspective.
In this brief Q&A excerpt from Hedgeye’s Q2 quarterly macro themes call, CEO Keith McCullough discusses why former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has the story completely wrong on secular stagnation.
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