The flood of tourists into Hong Kong from Mainland China looks promising to global retailers setting up shop in the region, although the tilt towards more bargain shopping could be a trend to watch for high-end sellers. Outlet malls have seen the biggest gains in traffic and sales in Hong Kong which sets up nicely for retailers that planned a strategy which pivots on squeezing profits from the channel. Hong-Kong watching: Nike (NKE), Limited Brands (LTD), Gucci (GUCG.PK), Prada, Louis Vuitton (LVMUY.PK), Coach (COH), Ralph Lauren (RL), Michael Kors (KORS), Swatch (SWGAY.PK), Burberry (BURBY.PK), and Tiffany (TIF).
Tiffany & Co. (TIF) declares $0.34/share quarterly dividend, 6% increase from prior dividend of $0.32. Forward yield 1.77%. For shareholders of record June 20. Payable July 10. Ex-div date June 18. (PR)
Third Point discloses new positions in: Anadarko Petroleum (APC), BE Aerospace (BEAV), Cabot Oil (COG), Chimera Investment (CIM), Hess (HES), Hilshire Brands (HSH), Tiffany (TIF), Thermo Fisher (TMO), and Virgin Media (MMED). It raises stakes in: AbbVie (ABBV) and International Paper (IP), and exits Abbott Labs (ABT), Capital One (COF), Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), Herbalife (HLF), Illumina (ILMN), MetLife (MET), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Tesoro (TSO). (13-F)
Retail sales numbers for April could be a tad weaker than expected after weekly reports from Redbook and ICSC-Goldman on chain store sales both came in a bit below expectations. Retail read-through: Weather and swings in gas prices seemed to impact store traffic to malls (KSS, DDS, JCP, LTD, GPS, ANF, AEO) and supercenters (WMT, COSTTGT), but economists think consumer confidence on the high end (TIF, RL, SKS, COH, BBBY) just might be on the rise. Also, with online sales de-emphasized in the weekly chain store reports - Internet whiz kids Macy's (M) and Urban Outfitters (URBN) could still outperform even if mall parking lots aren't packed.
Retail sales in Hong Kong rose 9.8% in March to 40.2B HKD ($15.8B) to come in significantly slower than the 15% consensus forecast of analysts. By volume, sales rose 10.2% compared to the forecast for 14% and the 21.9% pace seen in February when the Lunar New Year holiday hit the calendar. Luxury sellers in particular are looking for strong sales numbers from Hong Kong. On watch: Gucci (GUCG.PK), Prada, Louis Vuitton (LVMUY.PK), Coach (COH), Ralph Lauren (RL), Michael Kors (KORS), Swatch (SWGAY.PK), Burberry (BURBY.PK), and Tiffany (TIF).
Luxury retailers plan to start using junkets to bring wealthy Chinese consumers to Hong Kong stores. The practice has done wonders for the casino industry in Macau and could help spur sales with luxury and import taxes in HK lower than on the mainland. High-end China sellers: Gucci (GUCG.PK), Prada, Louis Vuitton (LVMUY.PK), Coach (COH), Ralph Lauren (RL), Michael Kors (KORS), Swatch (SWGAY.PK), Burberry (BURBY.PK), and Tiffany (TIF)
Luxury retail watch: If expensive apparel doesn't play well with Chinese high-end buyers, don't expect to see it in U.S. stores with the Chinese accounting for over 25% of the world's luxury market. An increased tendency in the U.S. for millionaires to dress down - instead of showing off opulence - is also factoring into the dominance of China. What to watch: High-end sellers such as Gucci (GUCG.PK), Prada, Louis Vuitton (LVMUY.PK), Coach (COH), Ralph Lauren (RL), Michael Kors (KORS), Swatch (SWGAY.PK), Burberry (BURBY.PK), and Tiffany (TIF) might become even more blatant with new designs on which market is the top priority.
Same-store sales at department stores in Japan rose 3.9% Y/Y in March, according to the Japan Department Stores Association. The increase was the third month in a row of improving sales and could give a lift to high-end sellers such as Tiffany (TIF) and Ralph Lauren (RL) looking to gain traction in the nation.
The LVMH read-through to luxury stocks: The LVMH report is consistent with the latest batch of retail sales data from China which indicates solid growth is still out there - but just not at the frothy levels of years past. An important trend to watch is that demand in Europe is getting considerable support from the steady string of tourists pouring in from China which magnifies the impact that Chinese consumers have on the sector.
Topeka Capital gives retailers a boost upgrading Tiffany (TIF +2.5%) to Buy and initiating Gap (GPS +1.9%), and Zumiez (ZUMZ +15.7%) at Buy. TIF's "earnings are poised for recovery", GPS has "returned to consistent sales growth," and ZUMZ is "one of the few retailers with growth in its core domestic business [and an] international expansion strategy." (Earlier: ZUMZ rips higher on strong sales)
The Forensic Accounting ETF (FLAG) drops Nike (NKE) and Wal-Mart (WMT) from its portfolio, giving each "F" rankings based on its forensic accounting model. Other "F's" include SNI, XLNX, MOS, and TIF. Those garnering an "A" include CHK, HES, EA and AKAM. Since its Feb. 1 inception, the ETF has matched the S&P's performance.
Tiffany (TIF) ticks higher in the post-session after 10% owner Qatar Investment Authority disclosed that it bought an additional 128,248 shares from 03/26-03/27 at prices from $68-$68.15. However, when you consider the fact that its stake in TIF runs at nearly 16M shares, it's somewhat interesting to see the stock move on the kind of trade that most would consider a paltry sum for the investment giant. Shares +0.7% AH.
Will Warren Buffett snack on another company this year to go along with the mega-sized purchase of Heinz with partner 3G Capital? SA contributor John McCoy thinks J.M. Smucker (SJM), W.W. Grainger (GWW), and McCormick (MKC) all fit the Buffett profile with their wide moat and strong brands. A longer shot for a Berkshire Hathaway play could be Tiffany (TIF), right-sized for acquisition in a luxury sector Buffett has dabbled with in the past.
An improved outlook from Tiffany (TIF) on sales in Asia follows upbeat projections from other high-end sellers such as Swatch and Coach for the region. Following a familiar pattern of other global luxury sellers, a high percentage of Tiffany's new stores are planned for Asia. Asia luxury watch: Prada, Louis Vuitton (LVMUY.PK), Coach (COH), Ralph Lauren (RL), Michael Kors (KORS), Swatch (SWGAY.PK), Burberry (BURBY.PK), Estee Lauder (EL).
Shares of Tiffany (TIF) move 3.1% higher premarket as investors look at the glass half-full on the company's mixed report for Q4. Retail analyst Stacey Widlitz acknowledges the retailer's improvement in Japan and stable guidance, but notes the two-year same-store sales comparisons look weak.
Tiffany & Co through its subsidiary, operates as a jeweler and specialty retailer. It also sells timepieces, sterling silver goods, china, crystal, stationery, fragrances, personal accessories and leather goods.