Dec. 31, 2013, 1:07 PM
- Gift cards are a bigger part of the earnings matrix for retailers this year with usage rising to 23.7% of all holiday spending.
- Companies which have their fiscal quarter end in January stand a better chance of realizing gift card sales along with holiday sales, while those with a December 31 ending date could see sales slip into the next period.
- The volume of gift card sales can also factor in to how promotional firms decide to become during the post-Christmas season.
- Previous: Gift card sales data, Starbucks' cash cow.
- Related stocks: BBY, HAWK, AEO, ANF, ARO, BBBY, CHS, GPS, JCP, JWN, KSS, LB, M, URBN, WSM.
Dec. 26, 2013, 3:35 AM
- A last-minute surge in online shopping and bad weather left major retailers such as Amazon (AMZN), Kohl's (KSS) and Wal-Mart (WMT) unable to fulfill guarantees to deliver packages in time for Christmas. IBM estimates that Internet sales jumped 37% on year over the pre-Christmas weekend.
- UPS (UPS) was particularly caught out. "The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast," a UPS spokeswoman said. FedEx (FDX) was also affected, although the company said that it wasn't suffering significant delays.
- Amazon is refunding shipping charges to affected customers and providing a $20 gift card, while Kohl's will pay the full cost of all goods that arrive late.
Dec. 23, 2013, 9:03 AM
- Warnings on slow store traffic at retailers are being heard far and wide from analysts as more channel checks disappoint.
- Ground zero for promotional activity in the sector appears to be mall-based apparel sellers which are throwing "shocking" deals at consumers to stoke sales and clear inventory.
- Weather has been a factor, but forward-looking insiders also see a paradigm shift. Consumers enabled with mobile devices have taken a hatchet to the amount of their holiday season impulse buying which typically helps retailers drive margins higher on select items at stores.
- On watch: AEO, ANF, ARO, JCP, JWN, KSS, URBN, APP, TLYS, GES, BKE, CHS, ASNA, CWTR, ANN, CBK, NWY, CACH, BODY, WTSL, CATO, BEBE, DDS, LB, PSUN, EXPR.
Dec. 5, 2013, 10:35 AM
- Kohl's (KSS +0.8%) shares tick up after BofAML upgrades shares to Buy from Neutral.
- Others aren't as convinced by the retailer's prospects, musing whether its 100-hour stay-open move smacks of "desperation." Hedgeeye's Brian McCough is of that mindset, speculating "Only one reason [Kohl's] opens 24/7 for 5 days. It's simply sitting on too much inventory."
- Kohl's was hurt during the holidays last year due to a "huge excess of inventory" (CFO Wesley McDonald's words). Inventory fell 1% Y/Y on a per-store basis in Oct., but inventory turn was also slower, management noted on the last conference call.
Dec. 5, 2013, 9:13 AM
- 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?
Dec. 4, 2013, 7:12 AM
- The inventory levels of apparel retailers in the U.S. stand at alarming levels, according to Nomura Equity Research.
- By most accounts, the group didn't perform well over the Black Friday weekend after entering the holiday shopping season at high inventory levels.
- Retailers such as Macy's (M) and Gap (GPS) may have an edge with their strong online fulfillment programs, but the early starts to the shopping season exacerbate inventory issues. Some retail chains will start selling spring lines in late December forcing a more promotional stance on older items.
- On watch: AEO, ANF, ARO, JCP, JWN, KSS, URBN, LTD, APP, TLYS, GES, BKE, CHS, ASNA, CWTR, ANN, CBK, NWY, CACH, BODY, WTSL, CATO, BEBE, DDS.
Nov. 26, 2013, 4:57 AM
- Consumers who think they'll be getting huge discounts on Black Friday might want to think again. In the words of the WSJ's Suzanne Kapner, "those bargains will be a carefully engineered illusion."
- Retailers and suppliers first work out the lowest price they can sell a product at and still make the profit they want, and then they jack up the "suggested retail price" so that the retailer can later offer a big discount.
- Another tactic is for stores to raise selling prices just before the holiday season discount period kicks in.
- Retailers: WMT, JCP, M, SHLD, JOSB, MW, KSS, BBY, TGT, HD
- ETFs: XLY, XRT, VCR, RTH, RETL, PEJ, IYK, FXD, PMR, UGE, RCD, SZK, PSCD, FDIS, PEZ
Nov. 21, 2013, 7:08 AM
- The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety works out an agreement to implement a stricter set of standards in Bangladesh in order to improve working conditions at factories in the nation.
- The Rana Plaza factory building collapse in which more than a thousand workers died put the issue in focus.
- Participating retailers include Costco (COST), Kohl's (KSS), Target (TGT), Nordstrom (JWN), Gap (GPS), and Wal-Mart (WMT).
Nov. 14, 2013, 8:00 AM
- Management at Kohl's (KSS) is taking some heat from retail analysts after putting in a soft quarter which it blamed on the economy again. It's the same consumer spending backdrop that Macy's dealt with as it accelerated sales throughout the fall.
- An inventory rise of 2% at Kohl's in Q3 could be cause of concern and the company's claim that it's "well-positioned" to gain market share in Q4 is ringing hollow after a string of misses.
- KSS -8.9% premarket.
Nov. 14, 2013, 7:26 AM
- Kohl's (KSS) reports comp store sales fell more than anticipated during FQ3 which cut into its profitability noticeably.
- Gross margin as a percentage of total sales fell 60 bps to 37.5%.
- The company says it expects total sales to drop 2% to 4% for its FQ4 and lowers it outlook for FY13 EPS to $4.08-$4.23 from $4.15-$4.35. (PR)
- KSS -9.1% premarket.
Nov. 14, 2013, 7:11 AM
Nov. 14, 2013, 12:05 AM
Nov. 13, 2013, 5:30 PM
Nov. 13, 2013, 9:59 AM
- A powerhouse quarter and Q4 confidence from Macy' (M +7.9%) is providing a lift to the entire department store sector.
- Though the performance of Macy's seemed to be a direct result of strategic moves by management with its omnichannel initiatives and licensing partnerships, investors are assuming that the chill over retail has defrosted slightly. At least a few retail analysts warn that the Macy's recipe of giving away some margin with promotional activity to add comp growth won't go so smoothly for peers.
- Advancers: Dillard's (DDS) +3.5%, Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) +3.3%, Kohl's (KSS) +1.5%, J.C. Penney (JCP) +1.0%, Nordstrom (JWN) +2.6%.
- Even the S&P Retail ETF (XRT) is feeling the Macy's Effect - adding 0.5% on a down market day.
Nov. 8, 2013, 11:12 AM
- Some retail analysts aren't getting giddy about the powerful sales reports turned in by Gap and L Brands.
- Though management of both firms pushed the right levers to cut costs and drive sales with promotions, the gambit could run its course with underlying sales trends weak, warn skeptics.
- The other side of the argument is that Gap and L Brands won market share at the expense of downtrodden mall rivals that failed to see their promotions click. The pair are also well-positioned to take advantage of the trend toward e-commerce shopping in apparel.
- Related stocks: AAP, AEO, ANF, JCP, JNY, JWN, KSS, LTD, M, URBN, PSUN, BKE, WTSL, GPS.
Nov. 4, 2013, 6:57 AM
KSS vs. ETF Alternatives
Kohl's Corp operates department stores that sell moderately priced exclusive and national brand apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and home products. Itswebsite includes merchandise available in stores, and merchandise available only on-line.
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