"Although the strength and speed of the recovery is difficult to predict and booking pace remains short, the Company now anticipates that for 2010:"

  • RevPAR: 1% - 4%
  • Operating profit margins: +100 - 220 basis points
  • Comparable hotel adjusted operating profit margins:  -125 to - 50 basis points
  • EPS: -$0.32 to -$0.25;
  • Net Loss: $205 to $158 million
  • FFO/ Share: $0.58 to $0.65
  • Adjusted EBITDA: $750 to $800 million



  • Recent operating results have turned positive on the top line in March.  RevPAR would have only declined 1% if all the results from their properties were included.
  • For the 3rd straight quarter they experienced transient demand growth which grew 12%. Special Corporate increased 28%--which was especially strong in luxury where demand increased 50%.
  • Overall the positive mix shift towards transient helped overall rates. Transient rates were up 3.6%.
  • Group demand increased by 0.5% for the quarter.  Association room nights increased 14% and discount room nights increased 5%.  Saw a meaningful pickup in forward group bookings - especially in luxury hotels (which increased 18%).  Group revenues decreased 8.6% in the quarter. Their big box hotels outperformed in the quarter
  • Transient booking for 2Q2010 is tracking ahead of last year
  • Business are definitely loosening their travel budgets
  • There have been a limited number of assets that came to market.  Pipeline of potential transactions has increased both domestically and internationally
  • Signed an agreement to sell the Ritz in Dearborn which has negative cash flow and is in a very challenged market. Should close in the 2Q2010.
  • Outlook for 2010 - it is clear that the broader economy is in recovery.
  • Commentary on the quarter's performance:
    • Phili top market:  12.3% RevPAR increase. Expect Phili to underperform in the 2Q though
    • Miami:  Occupancy was up 6.7% and ADR was up 1.7% - due to Superbowl and Pro Bowl. Expect Miami to have a weaker second Q but still post RevPAR
    • San Antonio should have decent 2Q and strong 2H
    • Boston:  Expect great 2Q - with double digit RevPAR growth
    • Orange County:  RevPAR grew 6.7% in the Q - ADR down 7.9%.  Should perform well in 2Q
    • NYC:  RevPAR increased 2.6% (7.7% ADR decline). NYC should have outstanding 2Q
    • Chicago:  ADR fell 9.9%. Expect better performance in 2Q
    • Hawaii:  14.1% decline in RevPAR due to a 13.4% decline in ADR. Expect much better performance in the 2Q
    • DC:  2% decline in Occ and a 13.4% decline in ADR.  DC should have positive RevPAR in 2Q
    • San Fran:  RevPAR declined 16.9% (occupancy 3% , ADR 12.2%) also negatively impacted by renovations. Expect better 2Q but still weak better 2H
  • Margins in 1Q2010 where negatively impacted by cancellation fees in 1Q09 (comp) and occupancy growth in the face of ADR declines.  Loss of audio visual business impacted them.  Ground lease payments on Marriott Marquis - $3MM - reduced EBITDA by $3MM.  Have the option to buy the property for $19.9MM
  • Utilities decreased 8.4%.  Real Estate taxes where flat
  • Expect higher occupancy to lead to wage and benefits to grow at inflation. Utilities will grow above inflation as will Sales and Marketing.  Property insurance to rise at inflation and RE taxes to rise above inflation.
  • 2010 cancellation and attrition fees will be materially lower than 2009
  • Have $1.8BN of liquidity
  • Have 99 assets unencumbered by mortgage debt



  • Dividend will recover more quickly but don't have enough taxable income to pay even the 1 cent per quarter. Even at high end of the guidance they don't really need to increase the dividend
  • The Euro 64MM loan may end up in the JV portfolio
  • Naples Ritz? Trying to get a better understanding at what happened there. There have been no big cancellations that have resulted from the incident
  • NY had a strong period 4 - seeing an acceleration there due to corporate strength
  • All of their non Marriott hotels' March results aren't captured in their 1Q results
  • Ritz Dearborn will fetch a low price - but the asset is losing money in 2010 and lost money in 2009 and was B/E in 2008. There is a lot of deferred capex there as well. Hopefully the transaction will close in the next 60 days
  • For the Euro Loan - they are looking for leveraged returns above the 10+% hurdle rates on unleveraged.  If the loan remains performing they are happy to just get paid off in 2 years, otherwise they would be happy to own them.  Would be comfortable investing in Europe on balance sheet - but prefer the JV structure
  • Single asset acquisition market vs. portfolio market?
    • One group of opportunities are emerging because of RevPAR recoveries and are re-testing the market where there are looming maturities
    • Another group of opportunities of strategic sellers are looking to offload non-core assets and use the proceeds to reinvest in their business
    • Volumes are still relatively light
  • When do they see ADR's recovering to show y-o-y growth and when would comparable operating margins turn positive?
    • Recovery in rate is market by market - some are already happening - NY, New Orleans, Miami, Boston, DC
    • Portfolio wide its at best in the 2H2010
    • On the margin front - looking at a 50bps decline if they get 4% RevPAR growth. So not until 4Q2010
  • Need 4% RevPAR growth going forward to get margin growth?
    • Yes for this year, but going forward inflation also matters. If inflation stays at 2% then they will get better margin growth
    • I doubt we will have 2% inflation if the market keeps recovering
    • In the first 8-12 months of a recovery a lot of the cost cuts creep back in and negatively impact margins
  • FY 09 they had $40MM of abnormally high cancellation and attrition fees
  • They are marketing a few properties currently, but because they have plenty of liquidity they will be very price sensitive
  • Why they got more optimistic on RevPAR?
    • In 1Q they where back to where they where in 2007 for transient demand. When that starts to occur its a great sign of recovery
    • Groups are also getting better - more people are coming to group events then they expect
      • So when last year if they had an 800 room block it would end up closer to 700. Now if the block is 800 it can skew a little above that.  That allows them to cut off some of their cheaper channels and save rooms for those higher priced groups
    • Up for the full year for bookings
  • Why is there guidance so much lower then MAR?
    • They are more conservative - because EBITDA margins matter more for them
    • They own some of MAR's and HOT's best hotels, so there is no reason for them to underperform those 2
  • Bookings are still short term. Which is by 2Q bookings are up over 200 bps above 2Q09 levels 
  • How do rates look?
    • Assume that short term rates are lower than rates on the books aside from some markets (probably referring to sell out markets like NYC)
  • How are they thinking about value for their acquisitions?
    • Looking for an unleveraged rate of return given their recovery assumptions
  • Would be disappointed if they had 5% RevPAR growth in 2011 with no margin growth


CAKE just finished presenting at an investor conference….



CAKE notes:



  • Highly differentiated
  • Focused on guest, menu, strategic  marketing
  • Future development can deliver sustainable growth that can reach targets
  • Strong balance sheet

148 Cheesecake factory stores in operation

  • 18-45 yrs old, high income people are most frequent visitors

Grand Lux and Rock Sugar

  • Grand Lux is slightly above Cheesecake Factory
  • High volume
  • Moderate check average
  • Very encouraged by positive comp store sales in 1Q
  • Higher bar sales than Cheesecake Factory
  • Baked-to-order desserts

Rock Sugar

  • Menu items are freshly prepared and served Asian family style
  • On site pastry shop


  • Extensive menu
  • High quality ingredients
  • Portions
  • Dessert and beverages
  • Distinctive décor
  • Non-chain ambience
  • Atmosphere
  • Focus on service, hospitality
    • New restaurants are performing highly


Well positioned brand

  • Industry leading unit volumes with modest average guest check
  • One of America’s favorite upscale casual dining concepts
  • High guest satisfaction scores

Expansion goals

  • Pursuing “A” locations
  • Leveraging smaller format


  • 3 new Cheesecake factory restaurants
  • Variety of sizes selected appropriately for each market
  • Seeing results from operations, marketing
  • Able to generate AUVs of $10m


  • Revenue growth
    • Increase SSS
    • Operating Margin expansion
      • Leverage comparable sales improvement
      • Cost savings
      • Capital allocation
        • Debt reduction
        • Share repurchase

8,000 sq ft

  • Smaller restaurant size is viable
    • Annapolis MD is testament to that format
    • 20% lower investment
    • Able to generate AUVs of $10m


Same-store sales

  • Traffic
    • Unemployment
    • Housing
    • Price
      • 1.4% of price at present
      • ~2% annual target
      • Menu Mix
        • Menu mix is still negative but hoping to return to flat once the economy rebounds
          • Less check management


Cost Savings

  • Expecting 8-10m of cost savings from initiatives implemented last year
    • Already realized 5m in 1Q
    • Leverage over fixed costs due to comps improving is built into guidance
    • 1% comp = $0.08 EPS


  • EPS growth of 20%-25% in 2010
  • Operating margins of 7.3% for 2010






The company is on track to meet goals for 2010




Q: How are you going to make additional cost savings?

A: Last year’s 27m was low hanging fruit.  The $10m for this year was from initiatives undertaken last year.  Any further savings would constitute upside to margins.  We increased margin by 250 bps in 1Q alone.



Q: Looking at 5 year revenue plan…implies new units not opening at lower levels, what do you think about the mix? Should we expect lower revenue from smaller boxes?

A: Annapolis and other small stores delivering greater sales than we thought possible.  Opens up greater geographies where restaurants can be placed.  There is another 7,200 sq ft format we haven’t opened yet and allows more units.  That unit can do $1,000 per sq ft. 


In terms of margin, we could reach 8% in 2Q but for the year we expect 7.2% and 7.5% margins.



Q: In terms of small plates, that exerts pressure on comps?

A: We’ve made small plates on menu.  Not something we’ve been focused on.  Small plates and snacks have given guests opportunity to spend less.  Of those that order off specials, their check average is slightly higher.  So they’re ordering more or getting dessert



Q: Your thoughts on closures and outlook for restaurants?

A: Surprised there weren’t more closures.  In future there will be winners and losers.  Companies that are taking care of customers coming in the door will do well, differentiated brand.  Can’t maximize profitability for today and give the future due attention to preserve long term success.



Q: Consolidation among existing brands or existing acquisitions?

A: A lot of transactions…it’s happened in other industries.  Consolidation hasn’t worked in restaurants, typically.  PE are going to be exercising exit strategies in future so you will see some go public and some consolidation.



Howard Penney

Managing Director


While the results were still good compared to historicals, MPEL's results missed the Street and our mark. We suspect commissions and higher fixed marketing costs are to blame.


"The first quarter of 2010 was the first reporting period to benefit from the full complement of hotel rooms and the opening of other non-gaming amenities at City of Dreams. VIP gaming volume at City of Dreams remained strong and our mass market gaming volume continued to show meaningful sequential growth. Additionally, the improvement in our mass market hold percentage is an important driver of revenue and EBITDA and is a consequence of operational improvements rather than table game volatility. We are pleased that our first quarter results provide an early indication of this property's potential, though we continue to believe there is considerable room for additional improvement."

- Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment



  • Mass hold rate is in the low 20s today
  • As a result of the commission cap, they enjoyed margin improvement at Altira.
    • Actually it had nothing to do with the commission cap but rather a normal hold %.  EBITDA was the same in 1Q09 actually on lower VIP volumes
  • Increase in Mass hold % is sustainable
    • It is related to length of play
  • EBITDA split between the RC and Mass market was roughly 50/50 at CoD
  • Refinancing update for 2Q2010.  Have concrete plans and an announcement will come shortly. Will maintain a substantial part of the R/C at low rate, which is currently in place
  • 2Q2010 Guidance: D&A - $77MM, Net Interest expense - $20MM, Pre-opening expense - $4MM



  • Group wide cost controls? Confident that they can continue to find cost savings in their cost structure over the next 12 months
  • Serviced apartments? 
    • Their focus for the next 12-18 months are just on operations.  At this point in time, they aren't going to make any decision on serviced apartments. 
    • I'm sure they are also looking to see if the Four Seasons units actually close
  • Any impact from Singapore?
    • No
  • Next growth opportunity?
    • Sure there will be new opportunities in Macau beyond 2013 when the table cap expires
    • By the way they reduced their table count at CoD this quarter by 37 tables sequentially and by 95 tables since they opened
  • April looks like its up slightly up over March.  They are tracking in line with the market.
  • Grand Hyatt mix of customers?
    • 85% of the occupancy is from HK or PRC. Decent amount of the rooms are going to comps there
  • M&A opportunities?
    • I don't understand this question... N
  • Moving the Hyatt occupancy to 90% level?
    • Thinks they can get there over the next few quarters
  • Little correlation between property prices and the Macau market, according to Lawrence
  • 95% of customers in Macau "do not put a head in a bed in Macau"
  • Grand Hyatt is in the 70% occupancy level now
  • Still talking to the government on how the tables get accounted for.  Right now operators are really looking on how to yield their tables better
  • Main gaming floor reconfiguration and impact on yields?
    • Well they have less tables so that means less dealers to pay for and higher utilization
    • They did increase their slot count
  • Does the $20MM of net interest expense include the refinancing costs?  Will the rate be better than Galaxy's H + 450bps?
    • Interest expense is not pro-forma for the new R/C but they aren't looking for any material changes to their current interest rate
    • It sounds like they are getting an term extension in return for a commitment reduction
  • They love the new supply of course. Build it and they will come to Cotai
  • Expect minimum impact from Encore opening
  • 18% direct VIP play
    • Looked more like 15% compared to our numbers
  • All of the data that they have seen suggests that the month of April is running ahead of March. Thinks that the leaked data is erroneous. Simon's comment on hold rate having no impact on reported revenue numbers is just not accurate. Of course hold matters... and the leaked numbers are only related to revenues (at least mid-month) not volumes.
  • Striving to make City of Dreams a '"World of Wonder"
  • LVS's Venetian has 25%+ win rates on Mass consistently, according to Simon
    • According to LVS they have never had a 25% mass hold month. They did average 23.6% in 2009 - on $3,4BN of Mass Drop... which CoD is nowhere near. In 2008, Venetian's win rate on Mass was 19.9% and 17.3% in 2007




Sorry for the redundancy – 3rd note in a row – but even after a blowout Q1, the Street looks way too low for 2010.  Here’s why.



Yes, this is a new note. On top of our 3/1/10 note “PNK:  IS THE WORST OVER” and again on 4/22/10 with “PNK Q1 PREVIEW AND COST ANALYSIS,” we once again call for the Street to raise their estimates. The Street is still too low on PNK even after a blowout Q1. Consensus 2010 EBITDA estimate has climbed to $192 million but well below our $213 million estimate. Are we just smoking crack? I know I’m not, and I’m pretty sure Anna and Felix aren’t either. So how do we get there?


As you know, our models are very detailed, and we obviously model in a bottom up way, that is, by property. However, we’ve provided a top down view below to illustrate another way to get to $213 million.




PNK generated $173 million of EBITDA in 2009. The only negative adjustment in deriving 2010 numbers would be the move of $9 million in Argentina EBITDA into discontinued operations. The positive adjustments are the net impact – River City contribution less Lumiere Place cannibalization – of the St. Louis capacity addition, corporate savings of at least $4 million (we could be low), and the normalization of Q4 2009. As we’ve stated, Q4 was a “kitchen sink” quarter, in our opinion, and was understated by about $10 million in EBITDA. 


The Street is either not incorporating the impact of the crazy Q4, not projecting the removal of Dan Lee expenses in corporate, and/or is assuming significant degradation at the property level. Given the sustainable cost cutting and rationalization generated in Q1, especially in the marketing area, we think PNK will offset any continued revenue declines from last year. When incorporating the unrealistic Q4 2009 margins, most properties should show EBITDA growth in 2010.


So there you have it. The Street is always happy to slap huge multiples on gaming names to justify their price targets, however they rarely want to be way ahead of consensus when it comes to numbers.


The Macau Metro Monitor, April 28th, 2010



CEO Adelson said the planned sale of assets including the Four Season apartments, shopping areas in the Venetian Macau casino resort and in the Four Seasons hotel, and St. Regis condos (under construction) may raise as much as $12 billion and recoup their construction costs. “It will be like $12 billion if we add up all the apartments and all the retail in Macau, including those in buildings still under construction," he said. The company may start selling the Macau assets within 2.5 years, he said.



During the MBS opening, Adelson said that the revenue from Singapore “will be between the Macau and Las Vegas figures”, according to Bloomberg.  According to Reuters, Adelson said the Singapore casino will provide credit to selected gamblers rather than rely on junket operators as is the practice in Macau. Feedback from junket operators indicates most of them are not keen to operate in Singapore because of the disclosure requirements demanded of them by authorities, said Sheldon. “We don’t have junket reps in Las Vegas,” said Adelson. “It’s not a system that is seen worldwide. It’s uniquely Asian and primarily in Macau.” Adelson said his company will “seriously deal with the Macau government’s statement concerning the restriction on the number of local gaming tables”, the Chinese Wall Street Journal reported.



Sands China has launched its new lifestyle rewards club for its three properties in Macau which already has over 500,000 members. The company says Sands Rewards Club will offer a range of unprecedented benefits and services, and give back its members HK$1.5 billion in rewards. Kevin Clayton, Executive Vice President of Marketing Operations for Venetian Macau said: ''Sands Rewards Club will be one of Asia’s biggest and best rewards programs, giving customers more ways to earn and redeem points across all three of our properties and more rewards than other programs in Asia.'' Members can enjoy discounts on dining and shopping; suite upgrades, shopping vouchers, casino credits, entertainment tickets, invitations to casino events and special promotions, CotaiJet tickets, exclusive access to lounges and VIP areas and priority service at every property, among other options.



All gaming companies in Macau will be allowed to have a footprint in Cotai, according to an unnamed source quoted by the Portuguese-language daily Jornal Tribuna de Macau. The source added that the government will keep the promises made to the gaming operators. Jornal Tribuna de Macau says that the decision to allow all gaming operators to expand to Cotai will not clash with the government’s cap on the number of gaming tables at 5,500 since the cap is valid only until 2013.

R3: WMT-Unclear Tell Signs


April 28, 2010





Whether its coincidental or not, just one day after Wal-Mart lost a critical court decision in its gender bias case that will allow the trial to proceed under “class action” status, an article appears in the Wall Street Journal focusing on smaller format growth for the world’s largest retailer. While this may be eye catching to some, it’s worth taking a few minutes to dig into the Journal’s speculation. Keep in mind that ever since Wal-Mart began operating the Neighborhood Market concept in 1998, there has been continuous speculation that Wal-Mart would eventually roll out the grocery-only format. Fast forward 12 years and there now 150+ units and the company has never addressed the concept as anything more than a test.


The bigger story here is not whether or not Wal-Mart may have something up its sleeve for unveiling come June at the annual meeting or perhaps in October at its analyst day. If anything is announced, even if it’s a concept aimed squarely at the dollar stores (which is doubtful given the sheer amount of boxes Wal-Mart would need to roll out to move the needle), it will likely take years of testing before anything comes to realistic fruition. However, given Wal-Mart’s strength in consumables retailing and price leadership, it would not be inconceivable to expect something centered around this core merchandising capability. Therefore, while it’s easy for us to make light of the Journal’s highly speculative and fluffy article this morning about future growth in new formats, it’s also worth keeping a close eye on any clues that may arise from such initiatives. This could have meaningful implications for companies like SWY, KR, SVU, FDO, and DG at some point. The last time we went through this exercise in a meaningful way, the Supercenter went from test to dominance in a decade and put the supermarkets in a position of permanent defense. For now, the “tell” signs are still unclear.


Eric Levine






- While some may still think of Under Armour as a company that remains heavily reliant on its first product, “compression”, the results paint a different picture. As the company continues to grow its loose and fitted apparel, footwear, and accessories, compression is shrinking as a percentage of the product mix. In 1Q, two thirds of apparel sales were non-compression.


- In a sign that soft-home continues to improve, Iconix noted strength with the company’s direct-to-retail brand, Charisma. Sales of Charisma, which is sold exclusively at Costco more than doubled year over year. Adding to this growth is additional “pallet” space, which was visible during a recent visit to a local club.


- Office Depot noted that while the Florida market continues to lag the overall company averages for growth, it is showing signs of improvement. On the flip side, California is a laggard and “remains a major concern”. Management noted that weakness was consistent in both its consumer and business-direct divisions.





R3: WMT-Unclear Tell Signs - Calendar





Footwear Companies Issue Last Chance Warning to Brazilian Leather Suppliers - Footwear giants Adidas, Clarks, Nike and Timberland have issued a last-chance warning to Brazilian leather suppliers, saying that they will drop suppliers which use cattle farms which are not registered with the domestic government by July.  <>


Spanish Optimism in Footwear Despite Economic Crisis - A report published by the INESCOP technological center confirmed that in Spain 83.1% of businessmen in the footwear sector expect sales to increase or remian stable during 2010. The study carried out amongst 374 companies reflects the fact that there is most confidence in the development of foreign markets. Another piece of interesting data in the survey was that 78% of the participants thought that factory prices would remain the same during 2010 compared to 19.1% who predicted rising prices.  <>


Puma Reports Strong Earnings - Puma AG expects 2010 full-year pre-tax profit to increase by at least 70 percent on an estimated low to mid single-digit sales gain as a cost reduction program and an uptick in orders are expected to work in the company’s favor. “We had a good start into the new year from a bottom line perspective which highlights the effectiveness of our comprehensive restructuring and reengineering efforts,” stated Jochen Zeitz, Puma’s chief executive officer. “We are now looking forward to the upcoming Word Cup and to a successful integration of our newly acquired Cobra Golf business.” <>


R3: WMT-Unclear Tell Signs - PUMA SIGMA


US, India, WTO - The U.S. called on India Tuesday to list which export subsidies it would scrap on a range of textiles and apparel products found by the World Trade Organization to be ineligible because they have reached a “competitive” level of world market share. During a session of the WTO’s committee on subsidies, the U.S. asked India to identify the subsidy programs that would be phased out over eight years, trade officials said. The U.S. also expressed concerns about recent reports of new subsidy programs the Indian government is providing to its exporters in the sector. <>


Macy's Upped Guidance at Investor Day - Macy’s Inc. has elevated its outlook for sales and earnings this year and will retrain 100,000 selling associates this summer to help reach its goals. “We have never trained 100,000 people before. This will be a big subject for us,” Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman. Earlier in the day, the $23.5 bn, 850-unit Macy’s forecast same-store sales for fiscal 2010 to grow 3 to 3.5 percent, compared with previous guidance of 1 percent to 2 percent. Earnings per diluted share for fiscal 2010 are now projected at $1.75 to $1.80, compared with previous guidance of $1.55 to $1.60. Aside from retraining sales associates, Macy’s expects momentum from the My Macy’s field organization, enabling the chain to get a better read on what consumers want and don’t want at each store, multichannel integrations and exclusive merchandise. The department store is also stepping up efforts to cater to younger demographics. “We don’t discount any area where we are looking for opportunities but definitely in the young area…there is an opportunity,” said Timothy Adams, chief private brand officer. <>


Saks Works with Young Labels - Saks commissioned six youngish labels, including Doo.Ri, Aquilano.Rimondi, Christian Cota, Erdem, Marios Schwab and Gurung. Each designer conceived three new styles — except for Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, who created two dresses — that range from $700 (Erdem) to $7,059 (Aquilano.Rimondi) and will be available in a run of sizes at Saks’ New York flagship, with 10 percent of sales going to the Whitney Museum of American Art, another New York bastion of creative patronage. An in-store party will take place Thursday night to celebrate the dresses and their designers, all of whom, aside from Schwab, whose schedule was compromised by volcanic ash, will be there to toast Saks and hopefully sell some clothes. <>


Fortune Brands Raises 2010 Estimate - Fortune Brands, Inc. raised the low end of its 2010 earnings estimate Tuesday citing first-quarter results that are substantially higher than the year-ago quarter. The company said its home products and distilled spirits brands drove the growth, but that sales at its Acushnet golf unit also exceeded expectations. <>


UPS’ Package Volume, Revenue and Income All Increase - UPS today reported a 2.7% rise in average daily package volume for the first quarter versus a year ago, a 7.2% jump in revenue and a 32.9% increase in net earnings. <>


Kohl's Extens Elle Line into Home Décor - Lagardère Active and Kohl's have entered into a multi-year licensing deal to expand the retailer's Elle-branded lifestyle products into a range of home décor, inspired by its sister publication Elle Decor. The exclusive Elle Decor range for Kohl's will feature home and domestic products, including decorative pillows, frames, accent items, candles and holders and small furnishings. The line will retail from $9.99 to $149.99 and be available in 350 doors and in September.



Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.45%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.38%