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Takeaway: Crowded connected fitness arena looking for someone to up the ante. Jordan vs Yeezy fight heating up. M - 'Biggest Entertainment Retailer'

UA, NKE, AdiBok – "If Everything is Smart, Then Nothing Is"

Connected fitness is all the buzz at the CES conference. Every connected fitness device unveiled its new 2016 hardware, the announcement of the UA HealthBox /‘Smart Shoe’, the release of a NKE Smart Shoe patent drawing, and the New Balance Digital Sport division = a lot of buzz. What’s clear is that the brands have moved completely away from the hardware side of the business after each tried some iteration of a device. UA partnered with HTC, NKE is still working with Apple.

This has been a long time coming for UA who started consolidating the connected fitness app market when it bought MapMyFitness in Dec. of 2013. Adi has scooped up its own device maker by the name of Runtastic. The bottom line here is will it help the companies sell more shoes and t-shirts. By getting a better sense of customer’s fitness and diet routines/habits it can’t hurt when it comes to the product creation/marketing side of the business. But, the most important element is still product. It still remains to be seen if the $710mm UA invested in its suite of fitness products will translate to the topline.

In reality, if all the brands are launching 'me too' third party hardware with partially branded software product, one has to wonder if these are 'Smart' products at all. Seems to us like what was once Smart is now being dumbed down to 'Average Intelligence'. Nobody has a competitive advantage when the same innovations become the norm. The Brands will argue that there are indeed competitive advantages to their respective product. But we'd bet that 8 out of 10 consumers can't tell the difference from one to the other.

Sounds to us like someone has to materially up the ante chip in Connected Fitness in a way to stimulate a new multi-year growth spurt in the category. Our money is on Apple, which will disproportionately help Nike.

HedgeyeRetail (1/6) | Dumb Shoes -- NKE, UA, Jordan v. Yeezy - 1 6 2016 chart1

NKE - Smart Shoe: (http://www.kicksonfire.com/nike-made-patent-to-create-first-smart-shoe/)

UA - Under Armour HealthBox: (http://footwearnews.com/2016/focus/athletic-outdoor/under-armour-smart-shoe-healthbox-fitness-180945/)

M – Interview With Terry Lundgren. Macy’s ‘biggest entertainment retailer in the world’.

(http://wwd.com/retail-news/department-stores/terry-lundgren-activist-investors-macys-10304980/)

“Department stores must be a place for customers to come and get away from the everyday challenges of their lives, and to be entertained when they shop,” Lundgren says. “But I would argue that Macy’s is the biggest entertainment retailer in the world” by virtue of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, annual Flower Show and Fourth of July fireworks.

Biggest Entertainment Retailer in the World? Ask a dozen Millennials to list the top Entertainment Retailers. Maybe this is a play on words, but they'll say Cabellas, Disney, Gamestop, Jordan's, Stew Leonard's...etc...

NKE - Nike Trolls Kanye West With Yeezy Look-Alike

This fight is heating up. Let's face it, the Jordan Brand is over 100x the size of Yeezy, but it still has the most to lose here. The irony is that Michael Jordan has a pretty bad reputation in the business. You'd never know it by his sneaker sales. But the guy cares about no one but himself. That said, he looks like Betty White compared to Kanye West.

HedgeyeRetail (1/6) | Dumb Shoes -- NKE, UA, Jordan v. Yeezy - 1 6 2016 chart2

(http://solecollector.com/news/nike-entertrainer/)

(http://footwearnews.com/2016/focus/athletic-outdoor/kanye-west-new-song-facts-explicit-yeezy-nike-adidas-listen-180449/)

NKE - Nike Turns Flyknit Chukkas Into Golf Shoes - $230

This was inevitable. Foot Joy is probably laughing at this -- and the Nike Golf team across campus from Nike's innovation center is chuckling as well.  But the reality is that this sucker will likely sell out. White and Black colorways probably make the most commercial sense.

HedgeyeRetail (1/6) | Dumb Shoes -- NKE, UA, Jordan v. Yeezy - 1 6 2016 chart3

(http://solecollector.com/news/nike-flyknit-chukka-golf-shoe/)

Smart Watches

FIT - Fitbit Blaze hopes to out-fancy your Apple Watch with $200 Blaze Tracker coming in March

(http://www.cnet.com/products/fitbit-blaze/)

Casio Aims to Outshine Apple With Planned Smartwatch Models

(http://www.wsj.com/articles/casio-aims-to-outshine-apple-with-planned-smartwatch-models-1452071941)

WMT - Wal-Mart Workers on Pistol Patrol as Managers at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Texas are instructed to ask customers if they have a permit to carry a handgun

(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-06/wal-mart-workers-on-pistol-patrol-as-law-lets-texans-tote-guns)

NKE - Merchants selling Clemson gear struggle to keep pace with demand

(http://www.independentmail.com/news/merchants-selling-clemson-gear-struggle-to-keep-pace-with-demand--289af32a-fd94-3dc6-e053-0100007f50-364309001.html)

ICON - Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct Buys In at Iconix

(http://wwd.com/business-news/financial/mike-ashley-sports-direct-iconix-umbro-10304962/)

SPLS - Staples Launches New Next Day Guarantee Tech Services to Help Keep Small Businesses Running Smoothly

(http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160106005309/en/Staples-Launches-Day-Guarantee-Tech-Services-Small)

HD - Former Home Depot exec named CFO at Hancock Fabrics

(http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/former-home-depot-exec-named-cfo-hancock-fabrics)