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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)

  • Wed, Jan. 21, 7:06 AM
    • Morgan Stanley downgrades Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to Equalweight from Overweight.
    • WMT -0.6% premarket.
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  • Tue, Jan. 20, 10:56 AM
    • The Supreme Court passes on hearing a case over the level of swipe fees charged by banks to retailers.
    • The cap on swipe fees will stand at $0.21-$0.24 following the high court decision.
    • Intense lobbying from the financial services industry prompted the Fed to move off its original recommendation for a $0.12 cap.
    • The National Retail Federation and other consumer groups have vowed to keep the fight going.
    • Related stocks: V, MA, WMT, TGT, BBY, CVS, WBA, COST, HD, LOW, GPS, M.
  • Sat, Jan. 17, 8:25 AM
    • Cowen analysts this week offered a how-to guide for playing the oil price fluctuation, identifying more than 60 stocks that could benefit in a declining oil price environment.
    • Among the various nuggets of wisdom, the report notes that given the minimal contribution of petroleum to U.S. electricity generation, there is little, if any, displacement of coal burn; within the coal sector, lower crude prices mean lower diesel fuel prices, which Cowen thinks favors the operating cost structure of surface mining producers in the Powder River Basin, particularly Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI) given its diesel hedge strategy which protects it from elevated diesel levels and enables it to benefit fully in the downside of fuel costs.
    • Also best able to cope with falling oil prices: ARLP, CLD, CNX, FELP, HNRG, JEC.
    • Among airlines, American (NASDAQ:AAL) should not suffer the cost headwinds related to mark-to-market hedge losses, unlike peers that hedge jet fuel; Delta (NYSE:DAL) can expect a $2B hedge-related loss, Southwest (NYSE:LUV) should see a $500M loss and United (NYSE:UAL) a $200M loss.
    • Cowen thinks consumers are on pace for 2015 gas savings of $100B-$150B, but the upside will not be distributed equally among retailers; the firm sees broadline retailers, namely Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT), as best positioned to benefit from gas deflation.
  • Thu, Jan. 15, 10:33 AM
    • Target's exit from Canada has retail analysts re-evaluating the plans of a number of chains with operations in the region.
    • The list below includes companies just entering Canada with a light store count and some well-established chains which have already been trimming.
    • Specialty: Chico's FAS (NYSE:CHS), DSW (NYSE:DSW), Hennes & Mauritz (OTCPK:HMRZF), Jimmy Choo, TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX), Moncler, Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), Versace, Nordstrom.
    • Big-box: Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), Sears Canada (NASDAQ:SHLD).
    • Previously: Nervous feet for Nordstrom over Canada? (Jan. 15 2015)
    • Previously: Full exit from Canada for Target (Jan. 15 2015)
  • Fri, Jan. 9, 8:35 AM
  • Thu, Jan. 8, 8:18 PM
    • Holiday retail sales rose 4.6% vs. expectations for a 3.8% lift, according to a read from ShopperTrak. The growth rate is the highest since 2005 for the period.
    • The rush of positive reports from retailers on holiday sales comes off of some beaten-down expectations, notes Chain Store Age.
    • Concerns on mall traffic, a West Coast port slowdown, and a frenzied level of promotions drove consensus estimates lower before some macroeconomic factors improved and $2 gas entered the scene.
    • A cross-section of retailers that surprised on the upside includes Barnes & Noble, Pier 1 Imports, Walgreens, Urban Outfitters, and Sonic.
    • What to watch: Costco (NASDAQ:COST) put up a 5% comp for December, putting some pressure on Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) to show signs of late-quarter strength. Signs of weakness at dollar stores (DG, DLTR, FDO, FIVE) and electronics chains (HGG, CONN, BBY) are a concern. Retailers seen as on-trend for the holiday season include Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU), and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM).
  • Sat, Jan. 3, 7:51 PM
    • The intense competition in retail over free shipping policies is expected to bring some pain to Q4 margins as big box and e-commerce firms scrap for market share, warn analysts.
    • ComScore reports that free delivery on online purchases rose to 68% in 2014, up from 44% last year.
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN): 2014 shipping costs were up 32% through Q3. That mark comes before a holiday season in which the company says it saved customers a mere $2B in shipping fees.
    • Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT): The Bentonville giant has already warned investors it will spend heavily on e-commerce and fulfillment center expansion as it eyes +30% growth in online sales. The company may have difficulty dialing back its free delivery policies, say industry insiders.
    • Target (NYSE:TGT): Wolfe Research projects a 1% shift in Target sales to e-commerce cuts into the firm's profit margin by 5 bps.
    • What to watch: Online sales rose 16% in Q3 vs. 4% for broad retail, a differential that is expected to have widened in Q4. Retailers with a sharp shift in mix to online could have trouble hitting consensus EPS estimates.
    • Related stocks: BBY, DKS, CAB, SPLS, TJX, BIG.
  • Dec. 31, 2014, 7:14 AM
    • Wal-Mart de Mexico (NYSE:WMT) is having some success with its Bodega Aurrera Express concept.
    • Comps for the smaller-format 900-store grocery chain are up 12% this year, compared to the flat comp the Wal-Mart subsidiary delivered overall.
    • Bodega Aurrera Express stores compete in Mexico with traditional markets and street vendors.
    • Previously: New CEO at Wal-Mart de Mexico (Dec. 19 2014)
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  • Dec. 24, 2014, 10:16 AM
    • Wal-Mart (WMT +0.3%) says shoppers can exchange gift cards from more than 150 retailers for the company's own gift cards which can be used in stores or online.
    • The Bentonville giant has hinted the policy could be permanent if the holiday test run of the concept goes well.
  • Dec. 24, 2014, 3:15 AM
    • Minimum wage increases across the U.S. will prompt Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to adjust base salaries at 1,434 stores, impacting about a third of its U.S. locations, as minimum wage hikes hit 21 states on or around Jan. 1.
    • Wal-Mart and other employers, such as Target (NYSE:TGT) and McDonalds (NYSE:MCD), make these adjustments each year, but growing attention to the issue has expanded the scope of the change. Thirteen U.S. states lifted the minimum wage in 2014, up from 10 in 2013 and 8 in 2012.
  • Dec. 19, 2014, 11:05 AM
    • Wal-Mart de Mexico (NYSE:WMT) taps Enrique Ostale to be its new CEO.
    • Ostale served previously at the parent company as the top Walmex and Latin America exec.
    • He will take over the new role on January 1.
    • Wal-Mart de Mexico reported sales growth of 4.3% in Q3, while EBITDA fell 4.2% during the period.
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  • Dec. 19, 2014, 9:29 AM
    • The Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore & Warehouse Union are far apart in their negotiations on a new labor contract, according to reports.
    • The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have seen a loss of productivity due to worker slowdown actions as the stalemate continues.
    • FedEx (NYSE:FDX) warned yesterday that deliveries to retailers have been delayed more than expected. Both FedEx and UPS (NYSE:UPS) face extra logistical costs due to the shipping delays and could see a slight dip in total volume.
    • Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) is one of the few retailers to put a number to the shipment backup, saying Q4 revenue would be impacted by $10M.
    • Other companies viewed as having some risk associated with the slowdown include Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Ann (NYSE:ANN), Macy's (NYSE:M), Kohl's (NYSE:KSS), Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), and Carter's (NYSE:CRI).
  • Dec. 17, 2014, 12:59 PM
    • Online sales of beauty and personal care products are booming, according to a new report from A.T. Kearney.
    • A survey by the research firm indicated 47% of all shoppers increased the amount of beauty and personal care products they bought online this year.
    • The category is proving to be defined by online "replenishing" shopping after consumers become attuned to a brand.
    • The overall e-commerce penetration rate for prestige beauty/personal care is 11% vs 6% for mass products.
    • Companies benefiting from the trend include Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA), and Sephora (OTCPK:LVMHF).
  • Dec. 16, 2014, 11:43 AM
    • Wal-Mart (WMT +0.6%) is ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to pay $188M in a class-action lawsuit over pay for breaks.
    • The company says the ruling will reduce Q4 EPS by $0.06 unless an appeal is filed.
  • Dec. 11, 2014, 10:03 AM
    • The S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT) is up 2.3% off of today's strong read on retail sales in the U.S.
    • While the big boys are holding their own - Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) +1.1%, Target (NYSE:TGT) +2.0%, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) +1.0% - it's the apparel chains and specialty retailers doing the heavy lifting.
    • Retail standouts: Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) +3.3%, CST Brands (NYSE:CST) +3.3%, Ascena Retail (NASDAQ:ASNA) +3.2%, Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) +3.0%, Express (NYSE:EXPR) +2.9%, Stein Mart (NASDAQ:SMRT) +2.7%.
    • Previously: Retail Sales report, highlights
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  • Dec. 11, 2014, 9:51 AM
    • Another salvo was fired by Wal-Mart (WMT +1%) in the retailer's shipping promotions battle with Target, Best Buy, and Amazon.
    • The company says today (December 11) will be a totally free shipping day.
    • No minimum purchase requirement is in place for the promotion.
    • What to watch: The intense battle for holiday market share has some retail analysts concerned on what the impact on margins will be as they put pencil to paper on the free shipping hook.
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Company Description
Wal-Mart Stores Inc operates retail stores in various formats under various banners. Its operations comprise of three reportable business segments, Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club in three categories retail, wholesale and others.