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October 15, 2010

 With Wal-Mart now clued in to mobile commerce, dare we say it is on the cusp of becoming mainstream?  If Japan is any indication, then this could be a big retail opportunity. 


- CNN named Nordstrom one of the top 100 best companies to work for.  This clearly comes as no surprise, as the overall happiness of its employees shines through to its differentiated customer service model.  In fact, we believe this unique service proposition is part of driving force behind JWN’s outperformance over the past year.  Recall that JWN has not had layoffs over the same time frame.


- Keep an eye on the trend of mixing old and new.  Recently launched UK ecommerce site,Upstyler.co.uk, mixes vintage clothing and accessories with more contemporary (new) merchandise.  Given that fashion repeats itself, the opportunity to present “originals” next to modern interpretations makes for an interesting and creative offering.  Recall that American Apparel as well as Urban Outfitters have previously dabbled in vintage.


- In a unique marketing effort, Tommy Hilfiger has launched an online digital radio station.  The broadcast is available 24/7 and is called LOUD radio.  The station was created to promote the launch of a new fragrance also called LOUD which launches in the Spring.  The station is available online as well as over the air waves in 18 countries and 9 languages. 



Leather Sector Strength - Total manufacturing output in the Philippines increased in July compared with the same month last year, with leather and leather gods leading the way, according to the national statistics office. Manufacturing growth was at double-digit rates for the seventh consecutive month. Keather and leathergoods saw strong growth of output at 47% compared with 34.4% in June. Four manufacturing sectors experienced negative growth, including footwear and apparel (-19.9%). <Fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take: Both a resurgence in accessories on the higher end along with China’s crackdown on unsafe tanneries are likely to be the driving factor behind this growth.  Additionally, we note that footwear remains one of the strongest categories in all of retail. 

Spanish fast fashion retailer Mango plans to open 220 stores in China next year to boost its sales threefold in the country within three years. Mango opened its first store in China in 2002 and built a distribution hub in Shanghai in 2006. It now owns 431 franchised stores in the world. The company purchases about 45% of goods from China. In addition, Mango started online sales last year and hopes to increase revenue from the channel to 7% of the total sales by 2013, sources reported. <Fashionnetasia.com>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Recall that Mango management also recently stated that it expects to have a presence in every major city in the world.  Bold statement, but one that a privately held, family owned business can say without getting into too much trouble. 

Mobile Payment Adoption Rising - Consumers may be most likely to use their mobile phones to check store locations and pricing, but they’re showing an increasing interest in using their phones to make a purchase, says Hung LeHong, research vice president for retail at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. LeHong, during a presentation at this week’s Mobile Commerce Forum in Chicago, noted that purchasing via mobile phones came in at the bottom of a list of things consumers said they were likely to do this fall and next spring with their mobile phones.The Gartner study found that 17% of U.S. consumers said they were likely to make a purchase from a mobile app or mobile commerce site, and that 16% said they were likely to make an in-store purchase through a mobile phone. These figures compared to 42% of consumers who said they were likely to use their mobile phone to check a store location, 34% who said they would check product prices while in a store, and 31% who said they’d receive promotional messages on their phones. But though the percentages were smallest for making purchases via mobile phones, those percentages showed the strongest growth over prior surveys, LeHong says. <internetretailer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  While still in its infancy stateside, mobile commerce has grown into a big business in other countries like Japan.  Approximately $19 billion worth of goods are purchased from mobile devices in Japan.

Domestic Shipping Duopoly Accused of Price Fixing - DAFMS Logistics Management Group, a shipping consultant to retailers and other shippers, has filed a complaint in federal court charging United Parcel Service of America Inc. and FedEx Corp. of antitrust violations by refusing to work with AFMS and similar firms to revise rate contracts on behalf of shipping clients. AFMS, based in Portland, OR, charges that UPS and FedEx have “induced and persuaded” shippers not to deal with it, and that UPS and FedEx have threatened to raise the rates of any shipping clients who share their shipping data with outside consultants for the purpose of seeking re-negotiated rates from the two carriers. UPS will vigorously defend itself against the AFMS complaint, a spokeswoman says. “Our take is that the lawsuit is trying to require UPS to deal with its customers through an intermediary—and that only adds costs for our customers,” she says. <internetretailer>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  Whether this is true or not, battling with FedEx and UPS is probably not going to come easily or cheap.

NFL Scores Again Singing Supermodel Miller as New Spokesperson - Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Marisa Miller is teaming up with yet another legendary sports organization: the National Football League. The supermodel has signed on as the new spokesperson for the NFL's 2010-2011 season, The Hollywood Reporter confirms exclusively. "I'm so excited to have this incredible opportunity to partner with the NFL," Miller says. "I've grown up watching football my whole life." The "SuperFan" will be promoting the league's special events, including the Oct. 31 International Series game airing on CBS between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos in London. "Marisa's love for the NFL and our sport made her ideally suited for this role," said Chris Parsons, NFL Vice President of International. "We look forward to working with her." <BrandWeek>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  The opportunity to target female fans is a clear opportunity and focus for the NFL as the league has extended licenses to  retailers including Victoria’s Secret.  Look to see more of this as NKE takes over in 2012, especially on the sportswear side.

Luxury Spending in Hong Kong Robust - Chinese shoppers visited Hong Kong in record numbers last week to splurge on $130,000 watches, vintage wine and diamonds, boosting sales for Sotheby’s and retailers including Omega retailer Hengdeli Holdings Ltd.  Merchants’ sales gained as much as 30 percent from a year ago during China’s Golden Week holiday, according to the Hong Kong Retail Management Association. Sales jumped more than 60 percent in the Oct. 1-7 holiday, Hengdeli Board Secretary Tan Li said in an interview.  Swatch Group AG partner Hengdeli and Emperor Watch & Jewellery Ltd. are opening shops in Hong Kong as record tourist arrivals and a stronger yuan boosted sales for 12 straight months. Hong Kong, host of the second-most expensive retail rent district after New York’s Fifth Avenue, stands to benefit from China’s drive to boost domestic consumption as the nation’s households accumulate $16.5 trillion of assets. <Bloomberg>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:  This comes as no surprise following the extremely positive results coming out of the casinos in Macau over the same holiday. 

H&M September SSS Positive - Hennes & Mauritz AB said same-store sales in September increased 8 percent, compared to 14 percent in August. Including new stores, total revenues for the month of September grew 16 percent, versus 24 percent in the previous month. The September figure was up sharply from a 1 percent increase in the same month last year. <WWD>

Hedgeye Retail’s Take:   While still early in forming a trend, the acceleration (similar to what we saw across all of retail) is noteworthy as H&M looks to build sequential momentum.