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THOUGHT LEADER CALL INVITE | NUS | ON NOTICE

Nu Skin (NUS) is on our Hedgeye Consumer Staples Best Ideas list as a SHORT.

THOUGHT LEADER CALL

Next Tuesday, November 24th, at 11:00AM ET we will be hosting a thought leader call with Jarrel Price of The Capital Forum.  Jarrel has been deeply engrained in the controversy surrounding Nu Skin and he has some differentiated views that will shed additional light on the issues at hand.

BACKGROUND ON THE CALL

The Justice Department, along with federal partners brought the hammer down on the dietary supplement industry in a news conference on November 17th (link to the release can be found HERE).  As part of a year-long process, government agencies pursued civil and criminal cases against more than 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements. “In each case, the department or one of its federal partners allege the sale of supplements that contain ingredients other than those listed on the product label or the sale of the products that make health or disease claims that are unsupported by adequate scientific evidence.”

 

The primary case that the DOJ announced was a criminal case charging USPlabs LLC and several of its corporate officers. The report went on to say, “the USPlabs case and others brought as part of this sweep illustrate alarming practices the department found – practices that must be brought to the public’s attention so consumers know the serious health risks of untested products.” In addition to the allegations against USPlabs, there were a number of civil cases that are going after different companies for their attempts to defraud the consumer, making false claims about products and deceptive advertising, among others. 

 

Given the DOJ’s actions, NUS is on notice about potentially deceptive advertising practices.  Jarrell has uncovered incremental evidence that Nu Skin distributors may have marketed VitaMeal in a way to deceive consumers. This would be in violation of the Unfair Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAAP) act, which is exactly what these governmental agencies are attempting to prevent.

 

The walls are clearly closing in on Nu Skin. Now, on top of the current SEC investigation looking into their charitable giving’s in China; multiple governmental agencies are poking around the nutritional supplement category for deception and misrepresentation. We believe that it is only a matter of time until their name comes across one of these agencies desks and it catches their eye.

JARREL PRICE BIO

Jarrel "JP" Price helps lead The Capitol Forum's coverage of consumer finance and consumer protection issues. Prior to The Capitol Forum, Mr. Price led a team of analysts at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), focused on facilitating foreign direct investment in Afghanistan’s energy sector. Prior to TFBSO, Mr. Price was a Partner at Height Analytics, a Washington, DC-based investment research firm, where he covered a variety of consumer protection issues.

Mr. Price is a Founding Partner of The Park Advisors Group, which helps public and private sector clients manage investment risks in frontier and post-conflict markets. Mr. Price also serves as the President of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). Mr. Price is a frequent contributor to a variety of national media outlets including CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and NPR. 

CALL DETAILS

Toll Free:

Toll:

Confirmation Number: 13625346

Materials: To be provided in a follow up invite

 

Please call or e-mail with any questions.

 

Howard Penney

Managing Director

 

Shayne Laidlaw

Analyst

 

 

 


Hedgeye's Early Look | #EXTRACHEESE

Takeaway: “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” -Yogi Berra

We’re late in the cycle. So late. Do we trust our Macro analytical process to tell us so? Damn straight we do. But we also look for external validation from the hundreds of companies we analyze on a day to day basis at Hedgeye.

 

Sometimes they flip us the occasional third standard-deviation move in a given operating metric. Sometimes deviations from the mean are less significant, but vary massively from expectations. And sometimes…just once in a blue moon, a management team’s sheer unadulterated stupidity gives us all the ammo we need to remain confident that we are, in fact, #LateCycle.

 

Welcome to the playground we call Retail.

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

#GrowthSlowing

Let’s look at some of the more painfully obvious datapoints handed to us by the US Retail Supply Chain this earnings season.

  • ICON - Pre-announed $0.09 vs $0.33 and restates historicals, driving the stock down 57% in a day.
  • JWN – Comp sales slowed 400bps with gross margin down 160bps.  "It appears that there has been a slowdown in overall demand from the customer who is purchasing what we sell."
  • M – 2015 EPS Guidance is now 23% below the original guide (excluding asset sales). "We believe that the retail industry is going through a tough period, that we seem to experience something like this every five to seven years or so, and this one feels familiar in that regard."
  • SKX - The 2nd largest athletic shoe brand in the US saw its domestic wholesale business slow by 20 points sequentially. The stock subsequently lost $1.8bn in market value.
  • URBN - Missed revenue estimates for a 3rd straight quarter, this time by 5%.
  • WMT - At October Investor Day gave number that suggests last year’s EPS results won't be matched again until 2020.
  • MW – Jos. A Bank (Just acquired in a late-cycle transaction in itself) puts up a negative 15% comp, MW guided EPS in the upcoming quarter 50% below the street, and the stock dropped 40%.
  • Estimate Revisions - In the retail sector we have had 75 companies report 3Q.  20% saw 4Q estimates rise by avg of 5%. 80% saw estimates cut by average of 12%.

 

#GoHome

It’s not all bad, though. Keep in mind that many of the ugly datapoints outlined above are in the apparel, footwear and accessories space. While a very important component of retail, it accounts for only $500bn. That’s 11% of total retail sales and 30% of discretionary retail.

 

A part of the retail economy that’s offered up much better results is the Home category. In fact, with few exceptions, anything related to home-related durables and softlines has shown extremely solid trends in the quarter.

  • LZB - "With sales trends accelerating throughout the period, we are pleased to enter Q3 with momentum.”
  • Macy’s - "Our furniture and mattress business also continued very strong. And soft home -- categories like textiles, tabletop, et cetera -- strengthened in the third quarter."
  • Anthropologie (URBN) -  "I mentioned the home category in Anthropologie, which has been really off the charts."
  • HD / LOW - Home Depot and Lowe's both put up bullet-proof quarters this week, beating on every line of the P&L. HD was the particular standout.
  • TJX – Its HomeGoods division comped +6%.
  • RH – we won’t hear from RH for another few weeks. But we’re highly confident that the business is at or above plan. Yet the stock is off 15% in 18 days. We’d buy ahead of the quarter – and after the quarter. We think it’s going to $300.

Hedgeye's Early Look  |  #EXTRACHEESE - Home Furn Sales EL

 

#ExtraCheese

Sometimes it’s not what a company reports that gives a #LateCycle signal, but rather what it does with shareholders’ hard-earned capital. Consider the following.

  • FOSL – Bought Misfit (wearable tech) for $260mm. This is a category where FitBit has 85% marketshare, and Apple, Nike and UnderArmour are making a push. If you can’t get the best, or make the best…buy the 5th best?? Management on the call said that it didn’t have tech capabilities and was particular headwind to the category. Huge admission of missing the ball on a major trend. Stock off 40% in a day.
  • M Backstage – Starts Off-Price Concept ‘because TJX makes it work’.  "First of all, I will tell you it is still early days in the evaluation process for Backstage. But our belief is that the model has certainly been proven by others…. So, it is more of a bet on the fact that the category has been proven, mostly by others.
  • KSS Off Aisle – Ditto. But at least Macy’s has access to high quality brands. What’s KSS gonna do, sell Juicy Couture, Dockers and Candies at discounted prices? It already does and no one wants them. #fail
  • But the biggest callout here belongs to URBN. In what we view to be one of the most ridiculous “strategic” moves by a retailer in over 20 years, Urban Outfitters acquired the Vetri Family group. Yes, a Pizza chain. This company missed on the top line three quarters in a row, and simply can’t grow. The CEO thinks that Casual Dining is a growth business – even though it is in a secular decline – so he bought a Pizza business. Not just any Pizza business, but a local Philly company who’s CEO he’s known personally, as best we can tell, for about a decade. This is a tiny investment that should have been made out of his pocket…not shareholders’.

 

We all know that investors tend to shoot first and think second, and with the XRT (S&P Retail ETF) down 15.4% since last earnings season, compared to just a 2.6% decline for everything that is not Retail, it’s clear that the market has spoken. When we’re late in an economic cycle, that’s probably what should happen.

 

But we’d argue that some names have not been punished nearly enough, and should be shorted accordingly. We’d point to KSS, FL, M, TGT, LULU, TIF, GPS, W, HBI, COLM. Others have been thrown out with the bathwater, and should be bought outright - RH, KATE, NKE, PIR, RL.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.18-2.30%

SPX 2020-2110
RUT 1135--1190

VIX 14.11-20.83
USD 98.47-100.08

Copper 2.05-2.17

 

Keep Calm and Win,

 

Brian McGough

& Hedgeye Retail Team 


CHART OF THE DAY: The One Bright Spot in Retail | $XRT

Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt and chart from today's Early Look written by Hedgeye Retail analyst Brian McGough. In it, McGough discusses how retailers are confirming our #LateCycle Macro theme. Click here to subscribe. 

 

"... It’s not all bad, though. Keep in mind that many of the ugly datapoints outlined above are in the apparel, footwear and accessories space. While a very important component of retail, it accounts for only $500bn. That’s 11% of total retail sales and 30% of discretionary retail.

 

A part of the retail economy that’s offered up much better results is the Home category. In fact, with few exceptions, anything related to home-related durables and softlines has shown extremely solid trends in the quarter."

 

CHART OF THE DAY: The One Bright Spot in Retail | $XRT - Home Furn Sales EL

 


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#ExtraCheese

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.

-Yogi Berra

 

We’re late in the cycle. So late. Do we trust our Macro analytical process to tell us so? Damn straight we do. But we also look for external validation from the hundreds of companies we analyze on a day to day basis at Hedgeye.

 

Sometimes they flip us the occasional third standard-deviation move in a given operating metric. Sometimes deviations from the mean are less significant, but vary massively from expectations. And sometimes…just once in a blue moon, a management team’s sheer unadulterated stupidity gives us all the ammo we need to remain confident that we are, in fact, #LateCycle.

 

Welcome to the playground we call Retail.

 

#ExtraCheese - retail santa

 

Back to the Global Macro Grind

 

#GrowthSlowing

Let’s look at some of the more painfully obvious datapoints handed to us by the US Retail Supply Chain this earnings season.

  • ICON - Pre-announed $0.09 vs $0.33 and restates historicals, driving the stock down 57% in a day.
  • JWN – Comp sales slowed 400bps with gross margin down 160bps.  "It appears that there has been a slowdown in overall demand from the customer who is purchasing what we sell."
  • M – 2015 EPS Guidance is now 23% below the original guide (excluding asset sales). "We believe that the retail industry is going through a tough period, that we seem to experience something like this every five to seven years or so, and this one feels familiar in that regard."
  • SKX - The 2nd largest athletic shoe brand in the US saw its domestic wholesale business slow by 20 points sequentially. The stock subsequently lost $1.8bn in market value.
  • URBN - Missed revenue estimates for a 3rd straight quarter, this time by 5%.
  • WMT - At October Investor Day gave number that suggests last year’s EPS results won't be matched again until 2020.
  • MW – Jos. A Bank (Just acquired in a late-cycle transaction in itself) puts up a negative 15% comp, MW guided EPS in the upcoming quarter 50% below the street, and the stock dropped 40%.
  • Estimate Revisions - In the retail sector we have had 75 companies report 3Q.  20% saw 4Q estimates rise by avg of 5%. 80% saw estimates cut by average of 12%.

 

#GoHome

It’s not all bad, though. Keep in mind that many of the ugly datapoints outlined above are in the apparel, footwear and accessories space. While a very important component of retail, it accounts for only $500bn. That’s 11% of total retail sales and 30% of discretionary retail.

 

A part of the retail economy that’s offered up much better results is the Home category. In fact, with few exceptions, anything related to home-related durables and softlines has shown extremely solid trends in the quarter.

 

  • LZB - "With sales trends accelerating throughout the period, we are pleased to enter Q3 with momentum.”
  • Macy’s - "Our furniture and mattress business also continued very strong. And soft home -- categories like textiles, tabletop, et cetera -- strengthened in the third quarter."
  • Anthropologie (URBN) -  "I mentioned the home category in Anthropologie, which has been really off the charts."
  • HD / LOW - Home Depot and Lowe's both put up bullet-proof quarters this week, beating on every line of the P&L. HD was the particular standout.
  • TJX – Its HomeGoods division comped +6%.
  • RH – we won’t hear from RH for another few weeks. But we’re highly confident that the business is at or above plan. Yet the stock is off 15% in 18 days. We’d buy ahead of the quarter – and after the quarter. We think it’s going to $300.

 

#ExtraCheese - Home Furn Sales EL

 

#ExtraCheese

Sometimes it’s not what a company reports that gives a #LateCycle signal, but rather what it does with shareholders’ hard-earned capital. Consider the following.

  • FOSL – Bought Misfit (wearable tech) for $260mm. This is a category where FitBit has 85% marketshare, and Apple, Nike and UnderArmour are making a push. If you can’t get the best, or make the best…buy the 5th best?? Management on the call said that it didn’t have tech capabilities and was particular headwind to the category. Huge admission of missing the ball on a major trend. Stock off 40% in a day.
  • M Backstage – Starts Off-Price Concept ‘because TJX makes it work’.  "First of all, I will tell you it is still early days in the evaluation process for Backstage. But our belief is that the model has certainly been proven by others…. So, it is more of a bet on the fact that the category has been proven, mostly by others.
  • KSS Off Aisle – Ditto. But at least Macy’s has access to high quality brands. What’s KSS gonna do, sell Juicy Couture, Dockers and Candies at discounted prices? It already does and no one wants them. #fail
  • But the biggest callout here belongs to URBN. In what we view to be one of the most ridiculous “strategic” moves by a retailer in over 20 years, Urban Outfitters acquired the Vetri Family group. Yes, a Pizza chain. This company missed on the top line three quarters in a row, and simply can’t grow. The CEO thinks that Casual Dining is a growth business – even though it is in a secular decline – so he bought a Pizza business. Not just any Pizza business, but a local Philly company who’s CEO he’s known personally, as best we can tell, for about a decade. This is a tiny investment that should have been made out of his pocket…not shareholders’.

 

We all know that investors tend to shoot first and think second, and with the XRT (S&P Retail ETF) down 15.4% since last earnings season, compared to just a 2.6% decline for everything that is not Retail, it’s clear that the market has spoken. When we’re late in an economic cycle, that’s probably what should happen.

 

But we’d argue that some names have not been punished nearly enough, and should be shorted accordingly. We’d point to KSS, FL, M, TGT, LULU, TIF, GPS, W, HBI, COLM. Others have been thrown out with the bathwater, and should be bought outright - RH, KATE, NKE, PIR, RL.

 

Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:

 

UST 10yr Yield 2.18-2.30%

SPX 2020-2110
RUT 1135--1190

VIX 14.11-20.83
USD 98.47-100.08

Copper 2.05-2.17

 

Keep Calm and Win,

 

Brian McGough

& Hedgeye Retail Team 


The Macro Show Replay | November 19, 2015

 


November 19, 2015

 

  • Bullish Trend
  • Bearish Trend
  • Neutral

INDEX BUY TRADE SELL TRADE PREV. CLOSE
UST10Y
10-Year U.S. Treasury Yield
2.30 2.18 2.27
SPX
S&P 500
2,020 2,110 2,083
RUT
Russell 2000
1,135 1,190 1,171
COMPQ
NASDAQ Composite
4,917 5,151 5,075
NIKK
Nikkei 225 Index
19,015 19,964 19,649
DAX
German DAX Composite
10,668 11,165 10,959
VIX
Volatility Index
14.11 20.83 16.85
DXY
U.S. Dollar Index
98.47 100.08 99.75
EURUSD
Euro
1.05 1.07 1.06
USDJPY
Japanese Yen
121.82 123.90 123.58
WTIC
Light Crude Oil Spot Price
39.71 44.23 41.98
NATGAS
Natural Gas Spot Price
2.23 2.40 2.33
GOLD
Gold Spot Price
1,066 1,098 1,069
COPPER
Copper Spot Price
2.05 2.17 2.07
AAPL
Apple Inc.
110 119 117
PCLN
Priceline.com Inc.
1,205 1,333 1,278
VRX
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.
67.111 78.73 72.60
FB
Facebook, Inc.
103 110 107
TGT
Target Corp.
68.99 72.76 69.78
JPM
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
65.20 68.63 67.45

 

 


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