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Dec. 2, 2013, 2:24 AM
- The amount of money that consumers spent over the Thanksgiving weekend is estimated to have slipped 2.7% to $57.4B, the National Retail Federation says.
- The drop is in contrast to estimates that Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales at brick-and-mortar stores rose 2.3%.
- The average consumer spent $407.02 over the whole weekend, down 3.9% from last year.
- The number of shoppers increased to 141M people from 139M.
- The fall in spending came after retailers warned of a difficult holiday season and was due to the aggressive bargains on offer, a trend that is expected to continue.
- However, the NRF maintained its forecast that retail sales will grow 3.9% for the whole holiday whole season.
- Online sales climbed 17.3% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, ComScore estimates, noting that the latter day attracted a record $1.2B in spending. The research firm expects Internet sales to rise 16% for the whole of the holiday season.
- The most visited sites on Black Friday were those of Amazon (AMZN), eBay (EBAY) Walmart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY) and Target (TGT).
- Total e-commerce sales hit $20.6B in the first 29 days of this holiday season, up 3.1% from last year, although this year includes more days.
- Today is Cyber Monday, which the NRF reckons will attract 131M shoppers vs 129M last year. But as with Black Friday, Cyber Monday has started a day early, with J.C. Penney (JCP) and Macy's (M) among those who began related promotions yesterday. Target has gone further and created "Cyber Week."
- More on Thanksgiving sales.
- Tickers: FDO, DG, DLTR, FIVE, TGT, SHLD, BIG, GME, COH, GPS, LULU
- ETFs: XLP, XLY, VDC, XRT, VCR, RTH, PBJ, RETL, PEJ, IYK, FXG, IYC, SCC, FXD, RHS, UCC, PMR, UGE, RCD, PSL, PSCC, SZK, FDIS, FSTA, PSCD, PEZ
Dec. 1, 2013, 1:38 AM
- Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales at brick-and-mortar stores rose 2.3% on year to $12.3B, ShopperTrak estimates.
- The research firm reiterates its forecast that sales for the whole of the holiday season will increase 2.4%, the weakest growth since 2009.
- Foot traffic for both days grew 2.8% to over 1.07B store visits.
- Online sales +20% on Thanksgiving and +19% on Black Friday, says IBM.
- Mobile traffic accounted for almost 40% of all online visits on Friday. Mobile sales rose to 26% of total online sales on Thursday and were around 22% on Friday.
- Increased store openings on Thanksgiving seem to have eaten into sales on Black Friday, while online transactions again took business away from physical purchases.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that consumers came with plans of what they wanted to buy, with the result that there was much less impulse shopping. (PR)
- More on Thanksgiving Black Friday sales.
- Tickers: AMZN, EBAY, FDO, DG, DLTR, FIVE, TGT, BBY, WMT, SHLD, BIG, GME, COH, GPS, LULU, JCP, M.
- ETFs: XLP, XLY, VDC, XRT, VCR, RTH, PBJ, RETL, PEJ, IYK, FXG, IYC, SCC, FXD, RHS, UCC, PMR, UGE, RCD, PSL, PSCC, SZK, FDIS, FSTA, PSCD, PEZ
Nov. 29, 2013, 2:45 PM
- IBM estimates mobile devices accounted for 25.8% of U.S. Thanksgiving e-commerce sales (up 49% Y/Y), and have accounted for 21.5% of Black Friday e-commerce sales thus far.
- Given mobile accounted for an even larger share of e-commerce traffic (42.6% and 37%, respectively), its conversation rates still notably lag PC levels. But the weakness entirely lies with smartphones (9% of Thanksgiving sales vs. 26.6% of traffic) rather than tablets (16.5% vs. 15.3%).
- Google (GOOG -0.3%), which has been trying to strengthen its tablet search ad prices via Enhanced Campaigns (requires joint PC/tablet ad campaigns), is probably happy to see that.
- On the other hand, Google is probably less happy to see that Android accounted for only 12% of of e-commerce traffic and 4.6% of sales, compared with 30% and 21% for iOS (AAPL). Monetization figures such as those are a key reason why many developers still write for iOS first, in spite of Android's burgeoning market share lead.
- Meanwhile, PayPal (EBAY +2.7%) says its mobile payment volumes rose 114.7% Y/Y on Thanksgiving, and that mobile shopping activity rose 91%. The online payments giant has already predicted its 2013 mobile payments will reach $20B, up from a 2012 level of $14B.
Nov. 29, 2013, 9:55 AM
- eBay (EBAY +1.9%) and Amazon (AMZN +1.1%) are up in early trading after data from ChannelAdvisor indicates strong gains in Thanksgiving e-commerce traffic for the two companies.
- A quick read from ChannelAdvisor showed eBay client same-store sales were up 20.3% Y/Y on Thanksgiving while Amazon's client SSS rose a blistering 48.5%.
Nov. 26, 2013, 11:15 AM
- E-commerce sales this holiday season will rise 14% to 17% this year to top the marks of the last three years, forecasts Jefferies. Cyber Monday sales are tapped to see +20% Y/Y sales growth.
- The ongoing channel shift away from brick-and-mortar becomes even more pronounced when auto, restaurants, and gas are backed out of retail sales tallies. Apparel sellers are forecast to be the hardest hit, although on-trend names such as Under Armour (UA), Macy's (M), Gap (GPS), and Lululemon (LULU) should outperform.
- The strong Cyber Monday rush could hurt foot-traffic reliant chains such as TJX Companies (TJX), J.C. Penney (JCP), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Ultra Salon (ULTA), and DSW (DSW) - according to some trends dug up by Placed.com.
- The positive read on e-commerce sales bodes well for Amazon (AMZN), Retailmenot (SALE), eBay (EBAY), Overstock. com (OSTK), and Blue Nile (NILE) - although high expectations are already likely factored into share price.
- Related ETFs: XLY, VCR, IYC, SCC, FXD, UCC, RCD, FDIS, PSCD, PEZ.
Nov. 25, 2013, 10:40 AM
- Janney thinks Cyber Monday same-store sales growth for eBay (EBAY -3.6%) merchants could be in the mid-to-high single-digit range. That would be notable worse than the same-store sales growth ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -2%) has been reporting for its clients' eBay sales.
- eBay missed Q3 revenue estimates and issued weaker-than-expected Q4 guidance last month, and largely blamed it on U.S. e-commerce softness. But the company later backtracked a bit on its remarks.
- Fears have been running high that eBay's Marketplaces ops are once more losing share to Amazon, which beat its Q3 revenue estimates and offered relatively healthy Q4 top-line guidance.
Nov. 22, 2013, 5:18 PM
- The Commerce Department estimates U.S. e-commerce sales rose 17.5% Y/Y in Q3, and made up 5.9% of total retail sales (up from 5.7% in Q2 and 5.2% a year ago). The growth rate is down a bit from Q2's 18.2%, but up from Q1's 16.4% and Q4 2012's 15.5%.
- comScore previously estimated U.S. PC e-commerce sales rose 13% Y/Y in Q3, and that mobile sales rose 26%.
- Amazon (AMZN), which soared last month following its Q3 report but gave back some of its gains in early November, managed to make new highs today. Shares are now up 48% YTD. eBay (EBAY +0.2%), which has been range-bound this year after a very strong 2012, closed up fractionally.
- comScore forecasts U.S. holiday season e-commerce sales (both PC and mobile) will be up 14%-17% Y/Y, even though retailers have six less days to work with (26 vs. 32) than in 2012.
- Amazon plans to cope with the shorter season partly by starting its Black Friday promotions a day early. eBay, meanwhile, plans to waive the $5 delivery fee normally attached to its Now same-day delivery service, and to also offer longer hours for delivering Now orders made with retail partners.
Nov. 20, 2013, 3:13 PM
- Silver Lake has hired investment banks to lead a potential IPO of payment processing company Mercury Payment Systems, reports Reuters. The news comes not far behind reports competitor Square is exploring an IPO.
- A source says the Mercury IPO could come in 2014 H1 and the company could be valued at $2.5B - a funding round last year valued Square at $3.25B. Mercury booked revenue of $203M in 2012 vs. Square's expectation of $550M this year.
- Silver Lake purchased about 60% of the company in 2010, leaving founders Marc and Jeffrey Katz and existing investor Larry Stone owning the remainder.
- Other competitors include: EBAY (PayPal), GRPN, INTU, and PAY.
Nov. 20, 2013, 12:45 PM
- After launching four "shoppable windows" - giant touchscreens in high-traffic retail areas that can be used to buy various goods with the help of a smartphone - in NYC this spring, eBay (EBAY -2.8%) is planning a major expansion of the initiative.
- eBay has created screens measuring 10' by 10', and recently set up three units at a San Francisco Westfield mall that sell products from Sony, Rebecca Minkoff, and Toms. Westfield says it could install the screens at other malls (it has 100 globally).
- eBay, for its part, is looking to place the screens inside retail stores, and has filed patents related to the concept. It receives a cut on sales made through the screens, and also gets paid whenever a shopped clicks on a product.
- Other eBay offline efforts: same-day delivery, PayPal Beacon, retailer apps
Nov. 15, 2013, 2:20 PM
- Payments companies are ruining the online poker party in its infancy as major players such as PayPal (EBAY), American Express, and Bank of America have decided not to process transactions.
- Mastercard (MA +1.1%) and Visa (V +1.1%) are allowing the transaction in states where online gambling is legal, but card issuers have the final say.
- Related stocks: CZR, BYD, MGM, EIHDF, WYNN, IGT,
Nov. 14, 2013, 3:36 PM
- TechCrunch observes eBayHire (EBAY -0.3%), a local services marketplace that has been in testing in the U.K. the last few months, appears set to launch in the U.S. Angie's List (ANGI -5.1%), which sold off in July following a report about the U.K. test, is diving again.
- For the time being, only service providers are able to sign up. It looks as if eBay wants to do a gradual launch in an attempt to address the chicken-and-egg problem eBayHire is bound to initially face. Like Angie's List, eBay plans to let service providers establish profile pages were they can list services and provide rates, and also plans to sell ads that will appear alongside search results.
- As eBay itself can definitely vouch, unseating an incumbent online marketplace with a large installed base of buyers and sellers is no easy task. But even moderate success could be enough to exert price pressure on Angie's List. Angie's is only six weeks removed from doing a membership price cut test.
Nov. 11, 2013, 11:35 AM
- comScore estimates U.S. PC e-commerce sales rose 13% Y/Y in Q3 to $47.5B. That's down from Q2's 16% clip, and matches Q1 2013 for the slowest pace seen in the last two years.
- But the firm also believes U.S. mobile e-commerce sales rose 26% to $5.8B. That's a pickup from Q2's 24% clip, and gives mobile an 11% share of total U.S. e-commerce spend. comScore thinks mobile sales will be near $9B (+25% Y/Y) in seasonally strong Q4, and have "an outside shot of hitting $10 billion." 62% of Q3 mobile spending is believed to have come from smartphones, and 38% from tablets.
- Recent industry commentary has been mixed. eBay (EBAY -0.4%) provided light Q4 guidance while stating U.S. e-commerce growth was slowing, but the company partly backtracked on its comments. Groupon (GRPN -2.8%) partly blamed its Q3 revenue miss on seasonal weakness, but is optimistic about holiday season demand. Amazon (AMZN +0.7%), which has been gaining U.S. e-commerce share for some time (Q3 North American sales +31% Y/Y), has been fairly upbeat.
- Other firms with strong U.S. e-commerce exposure: OSTK, ECOM, SALE, NILE, FUEL.
Nov. 6, 2013, 10:21 AM
- Shares of ebay (EBAY +4.6%) move higher on a volume spike.
- Idle chatter linking Carl Icahn to the tech giant appears to have tempted some buyers.
- No stake by Icahn has been reported yet.
Oct. 25, 2013, 11:33 AM
- Raymond James has upped Amazon (AMZN +8%) to Strong Buy following its Q3 revenue beat, while setting a PT of $446. It's far from alone in raising its PT; RBC has set an upside scenario target of $500, while declaring the quarter "something of an inflection point."
- Jefferies observes Amazon's op. income has topped the high end of guidance for 8 straight quarters. Evercore likes the fact Amazon's North American 33% electronics & general merchandise (EGM) sales growth (~2x U.S. e-commerce growth) beat the firm's 27% estimate.
- Accelerating growth - Q3 rev. growth of 24% topped Q2's 22% - and ongoing gross margin improvement - Q3 GM rose 240 bps Y/Y to 27.7% - are getting attention. Global media revenue ($5.03B) +9% Y/Y in Q3 vs. +7% in Q2, EGM ($11.05B) +29% vs. +28%.
- Amazon's total Q3 paid unit growth was 29%, even with Q2, and 3rd-party sellers still made up 40% of unit sales. Active accounts +9M Q/Q to 224M after rising by 6M in Q2. Also, North American "Other" sales (dominated by AWS) rose 56% Y/Y to $1.01B.
- At the same time, Amazon's aggressive spending isn't letting up. Fulfillment spend rose to 11.5% of revenue from 10.5% a year ago, and tech/content spend to 9.2% from 7.8%. TTM capex +$320M Q/Q to $4.59B.
- Interestingly, eBay (EBAY -1.6%) is lower even as Amazon soars. When contrasted with Amazon's figures, eBay's Q3 Marketplaces numbers and Q4 guidance point to further share losses on a relative basis.
- Q3 results, details/guidance, CC transcript
Oct. 23, 2013, 9:30 AM
- FedEx (FDX) expects Cyber Monday shipments to increase 11% Y/Y as online orders boost shipments to over 22M for the day. The news helps temper some of the worries on e-commerce coming out of eBay (EBAY).
- The double-digit pace of online orders easily beats estimates for Black Friday store sales and sets up well for Amazon (AMZN).
- Other retailers with strong online businesses could pick up sales if online continues to grab steal market share away from mall traffic.
- On watch: Urban Outfitters (URBN), Zale (ZLC), Under Armour (UA), Vera Bradley (VRA), and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS).
Oct. 22, 2013, 11:56 AM
- eBay (EBAY +0.1%) has acquired Shutl, a U.K.-based provider of online same-day delivery services that uses a network of carriers to fulfill orders. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- Shutl's "technology, talent, and expertise" will be used to help eBay bring its Now same-day service to 25 markets by the end of 2014, including London (already announced) and other international markets.
- eBay, which has relied on local retail partners rather than couriers for fulfillment, has already done same-day launches in NYC and SF, and is now launching in Chicago. The company is also offering a local pickup service called Click & Collect (it first launched in the U.K.)
- Separately, eBay has overhauled its Marketplaces site and apps to improve item discovery (long a user complaint) and include social media-like tools. Users will be able to create Pinterest-like "collections" of items for sale, and the collections of 200 "curators" will be highlighted. eBay is also giving users the ability to create public profiles, and to follow other members.
- The changes come after eBay provided soft Q4 guidance that was blamed on macro, but fueled concerns Marketplaces is again losing share following a recent growth pickup.
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