Today - Thursday, December 5, 2013
10:04 AMSmith & Wesson jumps on Lake Street upgrade, firm sees earnings as catalyst
- Smith & Wesson (SWHC +4.2%) jumps after Lake Street upgrades shares to Buy from Hold and raises its PT to $17 from $12.
- The firm thinks downside risk is low going into next week's earnings report and that an in-line performance would be a catalyst for shares. Analysts expect EPS of $0.21 on revenue of $137.5M (+0.7% Y/Y).
10:03 AMKroger lower after steady Q3 earnings and guidance| Comment!
9:54 AMConn's and Best Buy: Two retail turnarounds using different approaches
- Conn's (CONN +12%) lifts its forecast for full-year EPS to $2.75-$2.80 from $2.50-$2.56. Same-store sales at Conn's are expected to rise 22% to 25% for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2014.
- Best Buy (BBY -0.1%), on the other hand, has cut costs and focused its message to consumers on service and expertise. The company has stuck with electronics and mobile, but refined its selling channels.
- Sector watch: Though Best Buy has done a fine job with its turnaround in 2013, the soaring margins and momentum at Conn's from furniture and mattress sales are hard to ignore. The retail chain also derives a good chunk of its business by offering customers favorable credit terms, a temptation that Best Buy has resisted in the past due to the risk it brings into the equation.
9:35 AMHeard during Unilever's presentation to investors
- Unilever (UL +0.4%) wants to reduce the number of specific products it sells by 30% before the end of 2014, according to CFO Jean Marc Huet.
- Though some pruning of brands has been tipped off by the company previously, the 30% forecast is sure to raise some eyebrows.
- The goal from Unilever is that the "sharpened" portfolio of brands will help boost gross margins closer to peers.
- Execs also say their marketing spend will be tightened and the company is reigning in expectations for emerging markets.
- Unilever investor seminar webcast
9:19 AMFurniture and mattress sales boost Conn's| Comment!
9:13 AMGood news for 3:00 A.M. shoppers, so-so news for Kohl's investors?
- Kohl's (KSS) says it will keep its stores open around the clock from December 20 to 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve in a 100-hour effort to boost traffic and sales.
- The big picture: Despite the frenzied competition amongst retail chains to have their stores open earlier and longer, analysts aren't convinced the companies are getting the bang for the bucks they are pouring into employee overtime hours and maintenance costs. Bespoke asks if the measure smacks of desperation?
9:01 AMRite Aid sees sales rise against Sandy-influenced comparable
- Rite Aid (RAD) reports sames store sales rose 2.8% Y/Y in November.
- Front-end same store sale registered a 0.4% gain, while pharmacy sales increased 3.9% despite a negative impact from new generic drugs on the market.
- The comparisons for the month were boosted by the negative impact of Superstorm Sandy during last year.
8:37 AMCostco lower after November sales tallies underwhelm
- Costco (COST) fall in premarket action after falling a bit short of analyst estimates with its report on November sales.
- After peeling back the impact of foreign exchange and lower gas prices, retail analysts say the fundamental strengths of the company and its brand are still in play. If Costco is giving up market share it might be online with Wal-Mart and Target reporting strong Black Friday week traffic to continue their e-commerce momentum
- COST -1.1% premarket.
8:25 AMDollar store group may be benefiting from consumers trading down
- Shares of Dollar General (DG) rally in early trading after the company pulls off the rare feat in this retail environment of increasing traffic and average transaction size during its Q3.
- The biggest quibble from the report might be the higher mix of perishables which drove down margins.
- Dollar General's performance adds some credence to the theory that consumers are trading down from big box and department store chains. On watch: DLTR, FIVE, FDO.
- DG +2.4% premarket.
8:18 AMBuzz builds over global unveiling of new Ford Mustang
- Ford (F) officially unveiled the sixth version of its iconic Mustang model at the New York World's Fair. The model's roots trace back to 1964 when it was designed under the supervision of Lee Iacocca.
- The sport car will go on sale globally next year - including an entry into Europe and Asia for the first time.
- Quick look from Motor Trend: "It is lean-looking, longer, lower and wider."
- Previous: Halo effect of Ford Mustang.
8:04 AMJos. A. Bank improves margins amid promotional retail scene
- JoS. A Bank (JOSB) put in a powerhouse quarter for direct marketing sales which almost pulled it up to a positive comp for Q3.
- An impressive trend from the retailer is that it has managed to improve its gross margin rate for two consecutive quarters as the non-promotional side of the business has been resilient.
- JOSB +0.2% premarket.
7:54 AMTandy Leather Factory reports Nov. sales up 8%
- Tandy Leather Factory's (TLF) Nov. sales were $7.6M, up 8% compared to November 2012 sales of $7.1M. YTD sales are up 9% to $70.9M.
- Retail Leathercraft: +9% to $4.5M. Comps +9%.
- Wholesale Leathercraft: +5% to $2.7M. Comps +5%.
- International Leathercraft: +7% to $379,000.
- CEO Jon Thompson: "We were pleased with our November sales and the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, despite the bleak forecasts for retailers overall. We met our internal sales goals for Black Friday weekend and did so without significant discounting."
- Source: Press Release
7:44 AMAnother retail dud: Dismal outlook from The Wet Seal| Comment!