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R3: NKE, PSS, Barefoot Running, and more…

R3: REQUIRED RETAIL READING

August 30, 2010

 

Bold move by Nike in securing automatic lacing patent – remember the ‘Air McFly’ in Back to the future? Anecdotes on Sperry and Saucony remain positive. Real estate price divergences are becoming a reality.

 

 

RESEARCH ANECDOTES

  

- Price disparity between high-end real estate locations and just about anywhere else continues for retailers. While some management teams have waited for rates to drop at A center locations, the reality is that elevated prices are likely to persist. J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler surrendered that his team has “now accepted that” as the company looks to ramp store growth. On the other hand, B and C locations remain highly flexible to negotiations.

 

- Building on the success of its initial Kardashian launch, BEBE highlighted that inventory investment doubled for the second line in April, which continues to sell through at a similar rate. With the third line coming in September, stakes are even higher with the line now expanding beyond dresses to include sportswear layering product (i.e. pants, shirts, jackets, etc.).

 

- Add another layer to the deep discount value store hierarchy with Goodwill now looking to expand its footprint. Management recently commented that they expect to open five stores a year until 2014 – a noteworthy commentary for landlords given the higher than average traffic these stores typically generate.

 

- In a society increasingly demanding of instant gratification, it was only a matter of time before designers started offering lines straight off the runway - Burberry just happens to be the first. As part of its Prorsum collection to be shown in New York on September 13th, consumers willl be able to purchase select merchandise online and receive it within just 6-8 weeks. With online and mobile retail purchasing on the rise, you can expect designers to pick up on this trend quickly. 

 

 

OUR TAKE ON OVERNIGHT NEWS 

 

 

Nike Secures Automatic-Lacing Patent - Nike Inc. has secured a patent with the World Intellectual Property Organization for "automatic lacing system." Many stories circling around the Internet linked the product to the footwear worn by Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly in the 1989 film "Back to the Future II." <sportsonesource.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: We kid you not – take a look at the illustration from the patent application below as well as these prototype demos for kicks. Perhaps it’s a bit ironic with Nike’s CEO Mike Parker on the September cover of FastCompany magazine titled “The World’s Most Creative CEO”. Either way, these “Air McFlys” are the latest example of just how deep the Beaverton brain trust runs. While some may argue this takes innovation to the extreme, you don’t get dubbed “the most creative” without taking bold shots from time to time.

 

R3: NKE, PSS, Barefoot Running, and more… - 1

 

R3: NKE, PSS, Barefoot Running, and more… - 2 

 

 

Key Items Out of Atlanta Shoe Market - After a slow summer season, retailers at the Atlanta Shoe Market, held Aug. 13-15, told Footwear News they were depending on must-have items to propel sales in the coming season and into next spring. Todd Hill, VP of Hills Shoes in Cana, Va., noted that he was sticking with current bestsellers, such as Merrell, for spring ’11. Likewise, Saxon Shoes of Virginia, is going deeper with customer favorites such as The North Face which has been a big sales driver in the fall with boots and backpacks. Vibram FiveFingers and Sperry Top-Sider were two other brands that were high on retailers’ wish lists in Atlanta, though several buyers complained that Sperry was only accepting future orders due to overwhelming demand. <wwd.com/footwear-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Isn’t it amazing how Sperry is truly on fire, but no one really gives a hoot? Ditto for Saucony. We’ll have a PSS note out later today that adds context.

 

OR Panel Weighs In On the Barefoot Craze - As performance product continues to ignite the athletic footwear market, execs are betting that consumers are willing to pay more for less, according to a panel of experts at the Outdoor Retailer show, moderated by Footwear News. Their take: Barefoot, minimalistic and lightweight footwear styles are leading the running market, re-engaging consumers and spurring interest in running. “I’ve been selling shoes for 17 years, and I’ve never seen a movement like this, where people are so interested in how to run,” said Christopher Peake, director of performance for Henderson, Nev.-based Zappos Merchandising Inc., part of Zappos.com. There’s been a lot of marketing, especially in the toning and the wellness market, that has really driven consumers to come to these categories. The book “Born to Run” and the adoption of Vibram FiveFingers by a much wider population really kicked things off in a big way last summer. And with the recession, there were a lot of people scaling back to basics, stripping things down and thinking about products differently. <wwd.com/footwear-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: This statement is both comforting and ridiculous at the same time. First off, what is currently being billed as a ‘toning shoe’ does NOT, I repeat DOES NOT teach you how to run. On the flip side, Born to Run is an exceptional book, and it truly is a motivator for us to run the way mother nature intended. Barefoot running definitely works – a few thousand years of our ancestry can prove that. I’m surprised Nike hasn’t made a bigger push with its ‘Free’ technology, which was designed to mimic barefoot running. Keep your eyes peeled there. 

   

Shoemaking Gradually Shifts to Eastern Europe as Costs Hike - Due to hiking production costs, Austria’s footwear production dropped by 20% to 1.8 million pairs in 2009, with shoemaking companies beginning to transfer their production to mostly Eastern Europe. <fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: In light of EU anti-dumping measures on China expiring earlier this year expect this trend to continue as the competitive environment gets increasingly more challenging for domestic manufacturers who have historically exported ~70% of footwear to Eastern European countries.

 

Watch Maker Cartier Files More Lawsuits Against Web Sites - Three weeks after suing private sales site HauteLook.com, Cartier set its sights on two other flash Web sites. The company alleged that ILS Holdings LLC and Swiss Watch International Inc., owners of EditorsCloset.com and IvoryTrunk.com, sold “refurbished and/or damaged” Cartier watches. The watchmaker said the defendants did not disclose to their customers that the products were not backed by Cartier’s manufacturer’s warranty. The plaintiffs seek injunctive and monetary relief. <wwd.com/business-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Reminiscent of Tiffany’s battles with eBay over authenticity, the threat of brand dilutive activities online has unfortunately become the price of business for luxury retailers. With little help from the government policing counterfeit product, efforts to curb disingenuous online activity will remain squarely on the shoulders of the retailers looking to maintain brand integrity.

 

Sears Looks to Enhance its Online Shoe Offering - The retailer has just launched the Sears Shoe Experience website, where consumers can make purchases and get trend advice in the fashion, kids’, fitness and work categories via blogs hosted by Sears.com. Among the features on the site is a personal shoe-shopper program, where customers can receive personally selected shoes within 24 hours. The retailer also is tapping into social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.  <wwd.com/footwear-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Better known for selling appliances, Sears is the latest mass-merchant looking to capture a piece of the footwear business as Wal-Mart reduces its involvement. Not the most likely benefactor, but a sizeable one worth watching…

  

TJX Blames Buying Problems For Slump - TJX Companies, owner of off-price retailer TK Maxx, has blamed a “delayed transition” to spring 10 product for a slowdown in UK sales. <drapersonline.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: This is only the beginning - expect ‘transition/distribution’ delays to be the scapegoat du jour on Q3 calls.

 

Oriental Trading Files For Bankruptcy - Oriental Trading Co. Inc. is seeking Chapter 11 protection to reorganize debt. The retailer, which sells party and school supplies, crafts and gifts, has accumulated loans of nearly $272 million. Oriental Trading, which operates such e-commerce sites as OrientalTrading.com and TerrysVillage.com, didn’t list specific totals of its assets and debts. But the court filing does reveal that Oriental Trading owes significant amounts to its lenders and several key e-commerce and delivery companies. <internetretailer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: This is notable for the simple fact that it’s been a while since we’ve seen a retailer file.

    

The Finish Line Reduces Page Load Times by 50% - The Finish Line Inc., an online retailer of athletic shoes, has reduced page load times by 50% after implementing the Dynamic Site Accelerator from Akamai Technologies Inc. The technology makes web pages load faster by relying on web servers located across the country and world. For instance, a server located in Boston would deliver site data to consumers in that area, while servers located on the West Coast would handle shoppers there. <internetretailer.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: With spending primarily in back-end capabilities over the last few years, the company is shifting investments toward improving consumer facing, front-end functionality. FL, take note.

 

Zara to Sell Online Commencing Next Week - Zara is finally hoping onto the e-commerce bandwagon to be selling online to countries including France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the UK starting September 2. <fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: For a company known for lightning quick product turnaround, it’s hard to believe they’re just stepping into the world of e-commerce. With less than 50 stores in the U.S. this could prove disruptive for domestic fashion retailers indeed.

 

Children's Footwear Trend: Nautical - Nautical looks have sailed back into the kids’ market. Sandals, sneakers and ballet flats with anchor motifs, rope trims and classic color palettes of red, white and blue will have girls looking ship-shape next spring. <wwd.com/footwear-news>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Good for Sperry/PSS.

 

R3: NKE, PSS, Barefoot Running, and more… - 3

 


WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE

Last week, 7 of the 8 risk measures registered negative readings on a week-over-week basis and one was positive.  A summary table is shown at the top.

 

Our risk monitor looks at the following metrics weekly:

1. CDS for all available US Financials (29 companies)

2. CDS for large European Financials (39 companies)

3. High Yield

4. Leveraged Loans

5. TED Spread

6. Journal of Commerce Commodity Price Index

7. Greek Bond Spreads

8. Markit MCDX

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - table

 

1. Financials CDS Monitor – Swaps were mostly negative last week.  Swaps widened for 24 of the 29 reference entities, while only 5 tightened.    Conclusion: Negative.

 

Widened the most vs last week: BAC, WFC, SLM

Tightened the most vs last week: CB, TRV, AON

Widened the most vs last month: BAC, WFC, AXP

Tightened the most vs last month: PRU, CB, MBI

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - 1 us cds

 

2. European CDS Monitor – In Europe, swaps for 34 of the 39 reference entities widened and 5 tightened.   Conclusion: Negative.

 

Widened the most vs last week:  Hannover Rueckversicherungs, Assicurazioni Generali, Aviva

Tightened the most vs last week: Investor AB, IKB Deutsche Industriebank, EFG Eurobank Ergasias

Widened the most vs last month: Hannover Rueckversicherungs, Assicurazioni Generali, Aviva

Tightened the most vs last month: DnB NOR, Investor AB, Svenska Handelsbanken

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - 2 euro cds

 

3. High Yield (YTM) Monitor –High Yield rates rose 4 bps last week. Conclusion: Negative.

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - high yield

 

4. Leveraged Loan Index Monitor – The leveraged loan index fell 2 points last week.  Conclusion: Negative.

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - lever loan

 

5. TED Spread Monitor – Last week the TED spread continued to fall, closing at 16 bps versus 18 bps the prior week. Conclusion: Positive.

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - ted spread

 

6. Journal of Commerce Commodity Price Index – Last week, the index fell 3 points, closing at 9.16. This series last crossed zero on August 12th, 2008.  Conclusion: Negative.

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - joc

 

7. Greek Bond Yields Monitor – We chart the 10-year yield on Greek bonds.  Last week yields rose 70 bps, ending the week at 1145 bps versus 1075 bps the prior week.  Greek bond spreads are now just 84 bps off of their crisis-period highs in May 2010, when spreads topped out at 1229 bps. Despite an absence of media coverage, the market remains concerned with the prospect of a sovereign default. Conclusion: Negative. 

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - 7 greek bond

 

8. Markit MCDX Index Monitor – The Markit MCDX is a measure of municipal credit default swaps.  We believe this index is a useful indicator of pressure in state and local governments.  Markit publishes index values daily on four 5-year tenor baskets including 50 reference entities each. Each basket includes a diversified pool of revenue and GO bonds from a broad array of states. Our index is the average of their four indices.  Spreads rose last week, closing at 225 last Thursday versus 220 the prior Friday.  Pricing data was not available for last Friday.  Conclusion: Negative.

 

WEEKLY RISK MONITOR FOR FINANCIALS: TED SPREAD IS ONCE AGAIN THE SOLE POSITIVE - 8 markit

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Allison Kaptur


CHART OF THE DAY: G7 UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

One good metric for evaluating the economic leadership and their ability to know what they are pitching is the unemployment rate.  In the chart below, we’ve highlighted the unemployment of the G-7 over the past three years.  In order to further emphasize this point, we’ve highlighted directly below the increase (a positive number), or the decrease (a negative numbers), of unemployment for these nations over the past three years.

 

 

CHART OF THE DAY: G7 UNEMPLOYMENT RATES - chart1


Early Look

daily macro intelligence

Relied upon by big institutional and individual investors across the world, this granular morning newsletter distills the latest and most vital market developments and insures that you are always in the know.

THE DAILY OUTLOOK

TODAY’S S&P 500 SET-UP - August 30, 2010

As we look at today’s set up for the S&P 500, the range is 31 points or 2.59% (1,037) downside and 0.32% (1,068) upside.  Though off their earlier highs, equity futures are still trading above fair value in what has been a quiet pre-market session highlighted by news that Intel will acquire Infineon's wireless unit, and Sanofi-Aventis will acquire Genzyme.

 

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) may rise as the company boosts earnings with higher sales and reduced costs, Barron’s reported.

 

Benihana Inc. (BNHNA) posted 1Q EPS of $0.08, trailing the estimate of $0.11.

 

Intel (INTC) agreed to purchase Infineon’s wireless unit for $1.4b

 

Kensington Leasing (KNSL) agreed to buy WealthMakers for $15.7m

 

Level 3 Communications (LVLT) CEO James Crowe sold 2m shares of the network operator to certain board members for $1.05 each.

 

Unica (UNCA): Mario Gabelli’s Gamco Investors Inc. reported an 8.2% stake as of June 30.

  • PERFORMANCE ONE DAY: Dow +1.65%, S&P +1.66%, Nasdaq +1.65%, Russell +2.83%
  • PERFORMANCE MONTH-TO-DATE: Dow (3.01%), S&P (3.36%), Nasdaq (4.48%), Russell (5.24%)
  • PERFORMANCE QUARTER-TO-DATE: Dow +3.85%, S&P +3.29%, Nasdaq +2.1%, Russell +1.19%
  • PERFORMANCE YEAR-TO-DATE: Dow (2.66%), S&P (4.53%), Nasdaq (5.09%), Russell (1.38%)
  • NCE/DECLINE LINE: +2161 (+3018)
  • VOLUME: NYSE - 1097.83 (-5.02%) - Volume acceleration
  • SECTOR PERFORMANCE: Every sector traded up on Friday
  • MARKET LEADING/LAGGING STOCKS LAST WEEK: Lincoln National +10.27%, Western Digital +6.82% and Hartford Fin +6.44%/Sandisk -4.44%, Tiffany -3.16% and Urban Outfitter -1.49%

EQUITY SENTIMENT:

  • VIX:- 24.45 -10.67%        
  • SPX PUT/CALL RATIO: 1.11 down from 1.47  

CREDIT/ECONOMIC MARKET LOOK:

  • TED SPREAD: 14.98 -0.913 (-5.744%)
  •  3-MONTH T-BILL YIELD: .15% -0.01%
  • YIELD CURVE: 2.10 from 1.99

COMMODITY/GROWTH EXPECTATION:

  • CRB: 267.27 +1.22% - moved higher last week
  • Oil: 75.17 +2.47% -
  • COPPER: 338.45 +1.77% - Two week move higher
  • GOLD: 1,235 -0.08% - up 4 straight weeks

CURRENCIES:

  • EURO: 1.2763 +0.48% - moved higher last week
  • DOLLAR: 82.918 -0.02% - moved lower last week  

OVERSEAS MARKETS:

  • ASIA - Nikkei +1.76%; Hang Seng +0.68%; Shanghai Composite +1.61% - Asian markets followed last Fridays move, though some of the optimism was muted when the Bank of Japan disappointed investors in the country with its lunchtime announcement of tepid measures to weaken the yen.
  • EUROPE - FTSE 100: closed; DAX: +0.11%; CAC 40: (0.29%) - With London closed for the Summer Bank Holiday and the Continent enjoying the last week of August, Europe is quiet this morning. While M&A news and the BOJ's announcement that it will keep the overnight call rate target unchanged at 0.1% originally buoyed markets marginally higher, the CAC is now down on the day
  • Eurozone August economic sentiment 101.8 vs. consensus 101.7 and prior revised 101.1 

No More Bullets

“Show me a guy who can’t pitch inside and I’ll show you a loser.”

-Sandy Koufax

 

Keith is vacationing this week in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario.  As a result, various members of the Macro team will be batting leadoff and writing the Early Look throughout the week.  So, rather than just the McCullough fastball coming at you every morning, this week you will get an opportunity to see some other pitches from the Hedgeye Research Bullpen.

 

Sandy Koufax at his prime was one of the best pitchers the game of baseball has, and perhaps ever will, see on the mound.  He played his entire career with the Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers.  The peak of his career was from 1961 to 1966.  In that period, Koufax won three unanimous Cy Young Awards (the first three time winner in baseball), he pitched four no hitters (the first pitcher in baseball to do so), and on September 9, 1965 he became the sixth pitcher in the modern era to throw a perfect game.

 

Then in 1966, at 30-years old, after pitching in the Major Leagues for only nine years, Sandy Koufax retired. Many baseball pundits called it premature, but Sandy knew the truth.  He was out of bullets.

 

As I contemplate the economic leadership of the country, primarily Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Treasury Timmy Geithner, I have no doubts that they are smart men and have had some good seasons in their careers. Their challenge now, of course, is to play the game in front of them.  While 0% interest rates for an extended period is an interesting experiment, akin to playing around with the knuckleball in practice, it is not indicative of a Perfect Policy Game.

 

Chairman Bernanke gave us a bit of an inside look at his next pitches on Friday when he stated the following in his speech:

 

“Notwithstanding the fact that the policy rate is near its zero lower bound, the Federal Reserve retains a number of tools and strategies for providing additional stimulus. I will focus here on three that have been part of recent staff analyses and discussion at FOMC meetings: (1) conducting additional purchases of longer-term securities, (2) modifying the Committee’s communication, and (3) reducing the interest paid on excess reserves. I will also comment on a fourth strategy, proposed by several economists–namely, that the FOMC increase its inflation goals.”

 

The Chairman indicated he would only use the additional policy bullets above if the U.S. economy slowed further and that he is expecting the U.S. economy to pick up in 2011. 

 

The economic view from Hedgeye remains quite divergent from Chairman Bernanke’s.  We are pretty sure we couldn’t see a Koufax fastball, and we definitely don’t see an economic recovery in 2011.  The implications of Bernanke’s hope for a recovery in 2011 being wrong is the likelihood of more monetary pitches being thrown at the U.S. economy.

 

Unfortunately, we aren’t sure we have the right pitchers on the mound.  As Sandy Koufax said:

 

“A guy that throws what he intends to throw, that’s the sign of a good pitcher.”

 

One good metric for evaluating the economic leadership and their ability to know what they are pitching is the unemployment rate.  In the chart below, we’ve highlighted the unemployment of the G-7 over the past three years.  In order to further emphasize this point, we’ve highlighted directly below the increase (a positive number), or the decrease (a negative numbers), of unemployment for these nations over the past three years:

 

-          Canadian unemployment increased by 1.9%;

-          French unemployment increased by 1.7%;

-          German unemployment decreased by (1.3%);

-          Italian unemployment increased by 2.0%;

-          Japanese unemployment increased by 1.6%;

-          U.K unemployment increased by 2.5%; and

-          U.S. unemployment increased by 4.9%.

 

The scoreboard obviously doesn’t lie.  The score as it relates to the one critical factor of unemployment suggests that the economic leadership team of the United States needs to go down to the minors for some seasoning to work on their ability to hit the strike zone.  Most disconcerting, of course, is that one core objective of the stimulus plan was to offset an increase in unemployment.  When we see unemployment set to accelerate and government debt growing, it’s pretty clear our pitchers in Washington “didn’t throw what they intended.”

 

The one key takeaway from Chairman Bernanke’s speech should be that he remains somewhat naïve about how much the U.S. economy has slowed, and its ability to regain trend line growth.  But even if he does find economic faith and begin to understand the economic reality of the United States, the fact remains, the Chairman’s out of bullets.

 

Daryl G. Jones

Managing Director

 

No More Bullets - sandy


SJM 1H 2010 CONF CALL NOTES

Not surprisingly, SJM reports strong results.

 

 

“Our strong balance sheet provides a solid platform for the group to pursue its strategy of growing our mass market and VIP businesses. In addition to our flagship casinos Grand Lisboa and Lisboa, the restructured third party-promoted casinos are contributing nicely to the revenue and earnings of the group and our newest casino Oceanus is ramping up to meet our expectations.  We expect that the year 2010 will be a rewarding one."

 

--Ambrose So, CEO of SJM Holdings


 

MANAGEMENT COMMENTARY

  • SJM grew faster than market in 2Q
  • Oceanus performing close to expectations
  • Will expand Portuguese school site, which SJM is pursuing

Q&A

  • Grand Lisboa results--2Q driven by volume, not hold.
  • Satellite casinos margin decrease QoQ
    • Lower margin because of better volume from VIP business, which has lower margin
  • Provision for losses attributable to junket is the lowest in the industry
  • Oceanus walkway has support from government authorities  
  • Grand Lisboa 32 tables--migration from other properties, not new tables
  • Mr. Fok appointment-- contribution to cultural and non-gaming activities
  • Interim dividend: more cautious.... Full-year 2010 dividend will continue 50% payout policy
  • Capex YTD: $305 MM; $500MM-600MM for 2nd half of 2010, used for Oceanus, Grand Lisboa, and Ponte 16; for 2011, less than 2010 until movement on Cotai
  • Cotai: negotiating one of the plots with adjacent owner; hopefully, will be settled by 1Q 2011. No land premium has been paid, still waiting for land grant from Government.
  • Expecting some pressure on labor costs with new products coming online on Cotai
    • Some promotions and then backfill those positions; may see up to 10% rise in labor costs
    • Will have a retention plan in 4Q 2010
    • For 2Q 2010, 8.1% YoY increase in labor costs
  • 3rd party casinos
    • VIP business least susceptible to downturn
    • 3-5% revenue share contracts--3-4 year contracts
    • If in a downturn, they will close down tables and give them to SJM, which it can use for expansion purposes
  • Dr. Ho is recovering well

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