The dollar store group (DLTR, FDO, DG, BIG) and select grocery store chains (KR, SWY, SVU) are slight out-performers on the day after Wal-Mart's (WMT +0.1%) Q2 report indicates it lost some market share in the U.S.
Edward D. Jones analyst Brian Yarborough attributes the limp sales growth for Wal-Mart in the U.S. to the retailer's inability to nab the quick "milk and bread" runs by consumers due to the massive size of its stores.
That line of thought is consistent with the stronger growth numbers put up lately by convenience store operators such as Circle K (OTCPK:ANCUF), 7-11, Pantry (NASDAQ:PTRY), BP Connect (NYSE:BP), On the Run (NYSE:XOM), Speedway America (NYSE:MPC), Kwik Shop (NYSE:KR), and Qwiktrip.
Kroger (KR) should fare better due to its strong price positioning and weighted average market share positions, and natural/organic specialty players are better positioned to absorb AMZN’s expansion, with Whole Food (WFM) least at-risk due to its product mix, differentiated format, strong EBIT margins and very strong balance sheet.
Morgan Stanley, however, doesn't see online as a major threat to brick and mortar food retailers after its own survey showed consumers’ interest in online ordering - either to be picked-up at store, or delivered to home - is very low.
Republicans in the Senate have blocked a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour incrementally over 30 months.
The development sets up minimum wage reform as a major topic during November elections.
Consumer companies have mixed opinions on the topic. Though some larger employers could feel a pinch from a higher level of minimum wages (MCD, SWY, KR, WEN) - some analysts think retailers (WMT, DG, FDO, DLTR, TGT) selling to lower income brackets could get a boost. There's also some speculation that more mom-and-pop shops will be forced out of business if the minimum wage goes to over $10 per hour.
The $40-per-share offer for Safeway (SWY +0.2%) from Cerberus is the lowest valuation on a major food industry merger in the last ten years, according to Bloomberg. The deal price indicates low interest amongst major players for the struggling brand.
The "go-shop" period of 21 days is expected to be quiet with Kroger (KR +0.5%) seemingly unwillingly to come in over the top with a bid for the whole company.
Analyst take: Cantor Fitzgerald says the complicated Cerberus deal includes some risk for Safeway shareholders that the sale of property development centers won't generate the estimated returns. If that's the case, shareholders will earn less than the $40 bid price.
As rumored, Supermarket chain owner Albertsons, controlled by an investor group led by P-E firm Cerberus, is acquiring Safeway (SWY). Investors are unhappy with the specific deal terms. (PR)
Albertson's will pay $32.50/share in cash, distribute proceeds from the sale of Safeway's real estate subsidiary assets and Casa Ley stake (estimated value of $3.65/share), and distribute Safeway's 37.8M Blackhawk Network (HAWK) shares (current value of $3.95/share).
The deal is expected to close in Q4, has a $400M termination fee, and comes with a 21-day go-shop period. Albertsons plans to fund the deal with the help of $7.6B in debt financing.