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DKS - Not Half Bad

Takeaway: Something that is ‘not half bad’ is hardly our benchmark for an investable idea. But it definitely gets interesting on sell-offs like today.

At face value, a company putting up 9% revenue growth and de-levering to 4% EBIT growth and 7% EPS growth is nothing to write home about. But in this tape, where we’re seeing retailers across the board show weakness on the top line, lower margins, higher inventories, and in many cases, earnings below last year, we think the DKS 1Q15 print was actually not half bad. Something that is ‘not half bad’ is hardly our benchmark for an investable idea. But for the most part, the print was in-line with what the company outlined at its analyst event just one month ago.

 

Taking a step back, we’d been perennial bears on DKS, but after digesting the content from the investor day we turned much more constructive on the DKS story. It’s not one of our top ideas (at this price), but this is perhaps the first time in many years that DKS set the bar for long-term growth and margin expansion at a level that is beatable. There was absolutely nothing that came from the print today that changes this view.

 

Clearly, people were not happy with the fact that the comp came in below the top end of the guided range (a whopping +1%), as well as the company’s posturing that it will be tough to recapture the margin lost when the golf/hunt categories collapsed last year.  We’re less concerned than DKS is leading the investment community to be on the Gross Margin issue.

 

Specifically, Golf and Hunt combined accounted for about 30% of total sales, which were collectively down last year by 10-15%. The company suggested that this cost about 40-50bp in margin, but we disagree. The incremental margin on this lost business won’t be a simple 10-15%, but rather something closer to 30-40%. That suggests to us that the margin hit was anywhere between 140-180bps. That’s definitely something to keep in mind in the context of a 3-year 110bp margin improvement target. DKS could potentially get there in half that time.

 

As for the model, we have the company at $4.73 in 2017, which compares to the consensus at $4.28. If we had to pick either $4.50 or $5.00, we’d take the Over.  With the stock at 15x next year’s EPS and 7.1x EBITDA, we actually think that this name is bordering on cheap given the likely earnings upside.  

 

To get bigger here, we need more confidence in the top line trajectory – not necessarily that the company will beat, but that it won’t miss in 2Q when compares get very tough. It’s probably not a rush to get into the name – so we’ll dig deeper where we need to. But it definitely gets interesting on sell-offs like today.

 

DKS - Not Half Bad - DKS Fin Table B

 

Here Are Some Puts/Takes for This Quarter

1)      Dick’s Inventory Looks very clean. The sales to inventory spread for the consolidated company was the best number we’ve seen since 1Q12. And management noted that Dick’s sales growth was ahead of inventory growth during the quarter. That’s a bullish gross margin set-up coming out of a quarter where merch margins cost the company 56 bps of gross margin. Now the company is lapping the elevated promotions in the golf department (which account for a large part of the 112bps of merch margin dilution in 2Q14) with a clean balance sheet.

2)      Hunting done? Field and Stream will account for about 20% of the unit growth over the next 3 years. We’ve heard a lot during the Analyst Day and on the call about the long term opportunity for this and side-by-side Dick’s/F&S concepts, but to us it sounds like Field and Stream is the dumping ground for lower margin, slow turning categories that no longer fits in the core Dick’s concept. We’re trying to keep an open mind as it relates to Field and Stream until we hear more quantified stats, but the initial management commentary on store placement, cannibalization, etc. aren’t exactly bullish. Add to that the fact that management is having internal conversations about what to do with Hunt/Fishing in markets where DKS has no plans to open a Field and Stream and it seems like a category not worth driving capital into. This is all accounted for in our model. But we wish management had better control over where this business is headed.

3)      Golf better on the margin. When a CEO stands up in front of Wall-Street and says that a business, which at one point accounted for 20% of consolidated sales, doesn’t have much left to contribute to the portfolio, you’d expect a hugely negative response. But the fact is, we’re talking about Golf at DKS – which most people have written off. On the margin, sales trends QTD are relatively flat and margins are up 100bps 17 days into 2Q. It’s not time to declare victory, but if DKS can continue to push AUR higher in the face of the huge promotional calendar in 2014 it will be a positive margin event. As noted, our math suggests that the combination of Hunting and Golf ate away about 1.5pts of margin during 2014. We have no reason to think that DKS doesn’t recapture 100% of that within 12 months, unless the company has understated the e-commerce investment needed to bring the three urls in house.

4)      World Cup? The company will face the World Cup comp in 2Q where sales essentially doubled on a per store basis from the event in 2010. That will be a big headwind to lap if the company can’t manage to keep golf flat for the quarter.

5)      E-comm carrying the load. Since the company started reporting a blended ‘omni-channel’ comp in 1Q13, the company has comped positive in its stores just twice. This marks the 7th quarter of negative store comps in the past 9 and 3rd consecutive at the same time sq. ft. continues to grow in the HSD. Over the long term we have a very hard time seeing how online margins are higher online vs. in-store. Yes the GSIC agreement shaves a few hundred bps off of current DTC margins, but when you consider the shipping cost and minimal fixed cost rationalization potential on a consolidated basis as DTC continues to cannibalize in store sales, e-comm = margin dilutive. Our sense is that this will be muddied by the margin DKS will recapture from golf. On a net basis, it should be fine although some of the components are ugly.

6)      Occupancy pressure. DKS needs 10% revenue growth to leverage store occupancy, which is a very tough hurdle. Managements 2017 sales targets suggest an 8.5-9.5% CAGR, or a 2-3% comp. We feel good about our assumption for margin upside from golf/hunt. But the comp trajectory is a different story. We’re ok with 2-3%, but it is admittedly a dangerous place to be with DKS.  This is probably the biggest risk to our above-consensus estimate. If we see a continuation of what we saw in 1Q (1%), then our numbers are likely too high. 


McCullough: 'There's No Inflation, But It Costs $127,000 to Go to Harvard for Two Years'

Student debt is up for boomers as a result of helping their kids and grandkids with college. Hedgeye Risk Management CEO Keith McCullough and Jones Trading Chief Market Strategist Mike O’Rourke weigh in with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business "Opening Bell."


SHAK: Adding Shake Shack to Investing Ideas As a Short

Takeaway: We are adding Shake Shack (SHAK) to Investing Ideas as a short.

Editor's Note: Please note that we are adding Shake Shack to Investing Ideas today as a short. A brief explanation follows below from Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough.

 

SHAK: Adding Shake Shack to Investing Ideas As a Short - 11

 

I'm looking for the most overbought name on our Best Ideas SELL list - and tag, Shake Shack, you're it. 

 

Yes, I realize you can't yet short the stock. But if you are long it, you can sell some - and our job, as Risk Managers, is to help you gain a better understanding of company risks inasmuch as anything else - simply because Old Wall doesn't.

 

On the Howard Penney bear case for the SHAK:

 

Based on the guidance management provided, we believe they are either 1) being less than genuine or 2) don’t know the tone of the business going forward. 

 

The most visible place of uncertainty is in same-store sales guidance.  In the model for the balance of 2015, we are assuming +6% price and +2% mix good for 8% same-store sales growth over the balance of the year.  This would result in 2015 same-store sales in the high single digit range versus guidance of low-to-mid single digits.  Baked into management’s assumptions is significant cannibalization from the reopening of the flagship store in NYC.

 

While the 1Q15 earnings release was very strong the valuation the market is awarding SHAK is mindboggling!  If we model out $40 million in EBITDA in 2016 (which is nearly double the current street estimate of $22 million) and put 30x on it the stock is worth $32 or 52% down side.  If we value the company closer to CMG the downside approaches 75% from current levels. 

 

Sell Green,

KM 


Early Look

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Cartoon of the Day: Fossilized

Cartoon of the Day: Fossilized - Growth cartoon 05.19.2015

 

From Hedgeye's Q2 2015 Macro Themes presentation:

 

#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...


RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19

Takeaway: RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - WMT, TJX, DKS, URBN, KSS

OBSERVATIONS FROM EARNINGS OVER THE PAST 24 HOURS

1. #growthslowing -- is a theme that continues to steamroll through this earnings tape. We got a scent of it a few weeks back from those reporting March quarters, then a strong whiff last week from the department stores -- all of which slowed sequentially, and now the URBN debacle and WMT miss serves as the icing on the cake. 

2. WMT = Uninspiring. There was very little in this WMT print to get excited about. It wasn't bad...but rather extremely below average. If there was any positive it was that traffic was +1% (only the 3rd time in 2-years its' been positive). Gross margins were up 11bps -- bc WMT has to pay for its higher labor costs somehow (i.e. its vendors). But in the end WMT deleveraged flat revenue to an EPS decline of 6.9%.

3. URBN CEO Stock Sale. When the CEO of a company's namesake brand sells $2.2mm worth of stock two weeks before a quarter ends (tax planning or not), it usually makes sense to follow. Tad Marlow sold 50,000 shares of URBN four weeks ago at a price that's nearly 25% above where the rest of us can sell today. 

4. URBN, Time To Revisit? No. The juxtaposition of one of the best management teams in the business missing earnings significantly two times in three quarters after carefully setting out on a multi-year merchandising and distribution plan to rejuvinate the company is something that's tough to get over. It's now back to basics here for us. What's the REAL addressable market for each concept, how has the competitive landscape changed, and how much capital is needed to capture that growth? All in, there's no reason to think that those high-teens EBIT margins of old are 'owed' to URBN. This might be the new normal. At least, that's what we're going with until our research changes. 

5. Does TJX Ever Mess Up? The company beat on comp AND on merchandising margin despite the impact of foreign exchange. It's one of a small number of companies that beat expectations in the face of FX (Nike and Kate Spade also bucked the trend). The company kept guidance in tact for the year, but it sounds like a sandbag to us. 

6. DKS Buying Opportunity? Today's sell-off is interesting to us. We've almost never liked this story -- ever. But at the company's analyst meeting last month it talked down growth and margin expectations to a level that we thing is solidly beatable. Today management talked down the near-term recapture of margin lost last year when its golf and hunting business went into the tank. We don't buy it. If anything, there will be less margin because the company will reinvest in growth. We'll have more detailed comments out later. But this one wins the 'most interesting stock of the day' award for us.

KSS Trying To Sneak One Past The Goalie? There is a lot going on in retail land today, so maybe KSS thought this release would slip through, but we have to scratch our heads and wonder what a KSS off-price concept would look like. To have an 'off price' concept, you need steady access to high quality brands to consistently offer the perception of great deals to your consumer. KSS is capable of none of this. The retailer just simply doesn't have the brands or the content to support an off-price concept. Yes, it's a test, but if M Backstage is indicative of an ugly department store environment, KSS Off Aisle is a nail in the coffin.

KSS - New Concept 'Off Aisle' by KOHL'S in NJ

(http://www.trademarkia.com/off-aisle-by-kohls-86564609.html>

 

  

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart1

 

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart3

 

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart4

 

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart5

 

EVENTS TO WATCH

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart2

 

 

ICSC Chain Store Sales

This morning’s ICSC sales index (80 general merchandise retailers) sharply decelerated. People will look at the 1-year trend which was +2.3% vs +2.1% last week. But the 2-year put up the sharpest decline that we’ve seen since the first week of January. 

RETAIL EARNINGS OBSERVATIONS: 5/19 - 5 19 chart6


This Is the Currency War

Takeaway: In case you weren’t sure, this is the Currency War.

It was just a matter of time… another big league centrally planned market morning, worldwide #enjoy

This Is the Currency War - currency wars

 

The Eurocrats returned with a bang this morning. Forget the Italian (Mario Draghi) … They brought in the lefty French economist (Benoit Coeure) from L’Ecole Polytechnique and the Paris Club de creditors to devalue the Euro and “front-load QE” to this month and next.

 

In case you weren’t sure, this is the Currency War. And unless you have the timing of each incremental "easing" it's tough to risk manage. Meanwhile, the EUR/USD is right back down to the low-end of my $1.10-1.14 risk range on that. Correlation trades in motion (USD up, Commodities down)

 

Of course, omnipotent ECB central planners did not like the non-centrally-planned move in Euro Bond yields, hence the intervention this morning. The German 10yr yield is down to 0.61% on the news.

 

Not to be outdone by the Europeans, the Chinese were at it again overnight, “easing requirements for corporate bond issuance.” The Shanghai Composite Casino? It loved that, jumping over +3% to almost +37% YTD as growth there continues to slow and freak out the People's Bank of China (PBOC). 

 

As I wrote earlier today, “With both the European and Chinese economies now slowing, at the same time, there is only one play in their gravity-smoothing playbook for that: Must ease, faster.

 

More to be revealed.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  

 

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Hedgeye morning research. Click here for more information on what we offer and how you can become a subscriber.


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