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October 28, 2009


I maintain my view that those with sophisticated dot.com infrastructure as it relates to branding, consumer experience, demand creation, procurement and order fulfillment will not only command a meaningful valuation premium as we head into 2010, but they will be targeted by retailers that are willing to blur the lines between new and traditional channels in order to keep pace with the consumer. Last night, GSI Commerce (GSIC), one of the largest e-commerce service providers, bought Rue La La for $350mm in cash and stock. I guess deals like this are easier to do when your currency is up vs last year. This values Retail Convergence (Rue La La’s parent) at 1.5x revenue, but at a much steeper 35-40x EBITDA given the thin margins. Perhaps that will be irrelevant as GSI scales Rue La La on to its own infrastructure – if fact that is part of the plan. Yes, this smells a lot like when Amazon bought Zappos, but it is far more relevant to the purchaser (now at $967mm in revs, but that goes to $1.2bn with a solid growth engine). People will start paying attention to GSIC. But this is only the first of many deals to come. (By the way, the ‘Terry’ in my title refers to Macy’s – a reacceleration in ecommerce is going to take this business a step back in time – again. Isn't he glad he consolidated it and now has a monopoly?).


Some Notable Call Outs

  • Now that JC Penney has a established a presence in Manhattan, it appears to be joining the creative pulse of the city as well. In an effort to promote the Olsen Twins’ new line of junior apparel, Olsenboye, JCP is selling the line (at a discount) and handing out free cupcakes out of a pink ice cream truck in NYC. This whole promotion sounds very Target-like…
  • Cabela’s 3Q results confirmed that the positive trend for firearms and ammo is slowing sequentially, largely due to difficult comparisons. Offsetting this slowdown was a pick-up in softgoods, which tend to carry higher margins. While the firearms trend is slowing, management did suggest there are still some types of ammunition that remain in short supply.
  • Iconix indicated that two of its portfolio brands that had trouble comping over the first half of the year are now starting to do well. This includes both Candies (Kohl’s) and Mossimo (Target). The pick up in Mossimo is notable, especially given the size of the brand and the commensurate positive margin implications it should have for Target.


-H&M Eyes Expansion in U.S. and Canada - Daniel Kulle, H&M’s new president of North America, has a can-do attitude. Neither the recession that has sapped consumers’ fervor to shop nor the competition from lower-priced mass merchants has dampened Kulle’s desire to expand in the U.S. “The potential in the U.S. market is very big,” he said. “We have the strength of a very good business. We have the people here. We have logistics, with three distribution centers. We have the framework to move more [product].” Of H&M’s 169 U.S. stores, most are on the East and West Coasts and in the middle of the country. Now the retailer wants to make a move on the South. In addition, Kulle said, “there’s loads of potential in Manhattan, Chicago and Los Angeles. We have seen that the U.S. customer likes us.” <wwd.com>

-Limited Details Major Overseas Push - After decades of taking it slow overseas, Limited Brands Inc. is charged up and aims to double international revenues to $2 billion in three years. “We’re taking it very seriously,” Limited’s chairman, chief executive and founder Leslie H. Wexner said during an analysts’ meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. “A paradigm shift happened in the last 12 months.” Wexner said the $1 billion in revenue currently generated abroad is “very profitable” and that Limited’s La Senza intimate apparel chain in Canada, acquired in 2007, is “an area of accelerating growth.…We will start plowing forward very aggressively.” <wwd.com>

-Tommy Hilfiger European retail sales soar - Tommy Hilfiger has revealed that global sales increased by 3.5% to EUR772m (£697.9m) in the six months to September 30. In Europe retail sales rose 24.4% with like-for-likes up 2.5%. However, European growth was offset by a slowdown in wholesale sales resulting in an overall sales decrease in Europe of 6.4%. Tommy Hilfiger, which is owned by Apax Partners, said that wholesale sales dropped in Europe because of a more cautious stance by wholesale customers and due to Tommy Hilfiger’s strategic decision to reduce its wholesale customer base. <drapersonline.com>

-Guess? Founder Georges Marciano Faces Bankruptcy Petition - Guess? Inc. co-founder Georges Marciano faces an involuntary bankruptcy petition from three former employees seeking $95.3 million.

The petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed in bankruptcy court in California yesterday by Joseph Fahs, Steven Chapnick and Elizabeth Tagle, who were among five ex-workers awarded $370 million in damages from Marciano by a Los Angeles jury in July. <bloomberg.com>

-Tesco to Create 1,000 New Jobs at Banking Unit in Newcastle - Tesco Plc, the U.K.’s largest retailer, said its banking unit will start a customer service center in Newcastle, northern England, creating 1,000 jobs. Tesco Bank, the supermarket chain’s personal finance unit, is expanding after starting a joint venture with Fortis U.K. to provide home and car insurance. Tesco has also added 1,000 jobs this year in the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the retailer said today in a statement on its Web site. <bloomberg.com>

-Japan’s Retail Sales Drop 1.4%, Less Than Forecast - Japan’s retail sales fell less than economists forecast in September, adding to signs that consumers may be becoming confident about the resilience of the recovery. Sales slid 1.4 percent from a year earlier, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo, the smallest drop in 10 months. The median estimate of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 1.6 percent decline. <bloomberg.com>

-TRU Reveals Its Plans for FAO Schwarz - In time for the holiday season, FAO Schwarz will open branded in-store boutiques in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide, re-launch its e-commerce site and more. FAO Schwarz was acquired by Toys"R"Us in May 2009. A selection of FAO Schwarz's classic toys will be available on Nov. 1 within branded boutiques at 585 Toys"R"Us stores nationwide. Items will include the FAO Schwarz signature holiday ornament and 2009 collectible bear, as well as the brand's mascots, Patrick the Pup and his sister, Penelope, among others. The iconic FAO Schwarz large piano replica from the Tom Hanks movie Big will also be available. <licensemag.com>

-Cabela's Nearly Doubles Q3 Net Income; Raises Guidance - Cabela's Inc. reported that total revenue for the third quarter increased 2.0% to $624.3 million compared to $611.8 million for the third quarter of 2008. Retail store revenue increased 6.1% to $348.0 million led by a 3.5% increase in comparable store sales; direct revenue decreased 6.2% to $226.2 million as the company lowered direct marketing costs 15.1% resulting in increased revenue per catalog page; and financial services revenue increased 15.0% to $48.2 million. <sportsonesource.com>

-An apparel era ends in Winston-Salem - Hanesbrands plans to stop hosiery production at its Weeks plant by end of 2010, cutting 240 jobs. Hanesbrands said yesterday that it will end hosiery production at the 850,000-square-foot plant by the end of 2010, eliminating 240 manufacturing jobs and transferring 80 distribution jobs to its Almondridge Road center in Rural Hall. It will begin reducing production at Weeks -- its last Forsyth County plant -- in the second quarter. The company said that consumers have been purchasing fewer sheer-hosiery products for more than 10 years, with sales off 14 percent in 2008 and down another 18 percent through June 30. <journalnow.com>

-Poll Finds Holiday Shoppers Averse to Hype - Holiday shoppers are in no rush to get the season under way, but when the spirit seizes them, about half will spend between $300 and $1,000 on presents, according to a new poll by Zogby International. With Christmas decorations creeping into the stores and holiday ads and catalogues surfacing before Halloween in the past several years, 53 percent of those surveyed online from Friday through Monday agreed: “Christmas-holiday shopping should start after Thanksgiving and I do not like seeing decorations and hearing holiday music until then — when I’m ready to start shopping.” <wwd.com>

-Q&A With Geoffrey Miller, Author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior” - Geoffrey Miller believes sex is a primary basis for how consumers decide what to buy. Miller, the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior” (Viking), is a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico and a consultant to companies such as Procter & Gamble Co. and The Coca-Cola Co. He argues consumers buy and wear what they do because of their desire to attract potential mates, rather than fashion trends. <wwd.com>


NKE: Phil Knight, Director sold another 577,600 shares  for a gain of $36.1mm.

COLM: Michael McCormick, EVP-Sales & Marketing, purchased 2,500 shares for $100k.


  • Douglas Jakubowski, President, sold 15,000 shares for a gain of $147k.
  • Jeffery Cohen, President Consumer Direct, sold 1,880 shares for a gain of $18k.

GPS: Marka Hansen, President-Gap Brand, sold 86,750 shares after exercising options to buy 86,750 shares for a net gain of $798k.

JWN: Margaret Myers, EVP, sold 11,500 shares after exercising options to buy 11,500 shares for a net gain of $357k).


As we often say at Research Edge, prices don’t lie. The market is always telling us something. Here are some names that are showing outside movements relative to the market, peers, and volume trends…

  • Retail stocks significantly underperformed the market yesterday with apparel, accessories, and luxury goods leading the charge down 5% followed closely behind by sporting goods down 4.6%.
  • Biggest losers of apparel, accessories, and luxury goods include CRI, UA, VFC, APP, ICON, LIZ, and MOV.  EVK and KCP were only the only positive stocks in apparel, accessories, and luxury goods but their gains were on low volume.
  • Every sporting goods retailer was down yesterday with GOLF, FINL, FL, and BGFV posting the largest losses on positive volume.
  • Footwear and consumer electronics were the only positive sectors yesterday.  Footwear was up on volume for the day while electronics was down.  Consumer electronics flashes as the best looking sector because it is green across all three durations, but internet and catalog retailers are nipping at their heels from AMZN's massive moves early this week.
  • LULU took the top spot for biggest gainer yesterday driven by its preannouncement of killer earnings.
  • HOV, FLWS, IRBY, SKX, and BBY deserve positive callouts for their gains across all durations.  Keep an eye on FLWS because it has flashed positive for the last 2 weeks and continues to move higher in the face of an adverse market.  With the total group of retailers down 5.2% on the 3-week, FLWS is up 36%.
  • Biggest losers are CRI, CMRG, ACAT, POOL, WINN, SMRT, and BBI.  CMRG rejoins CONN, BKS, and APP on the list on the biggest losers of the most durations after posting a few positive days this early this week.  APP remains hated on price and confirmed by volume.