Jun. 26, 2014, 11:44 AM
- Ikea says it plans to increase the minimum wage for its U.S. retail workers by an average 17% starting next year, a decision that may add to pressure on retailers and fast-food companies that have not raised wages, particularly the largest holdouts, such as McDonald’s (MCD -0.1%) and Wal-Mart (WMT -0.7%).
- Business opponents say raising the minimum wage would add as much as hundreds of millions of dollars to costs; Ikea is presenting the move as good for employee well-being, and says it will not raise prices to offset the new costs.
- Earlier this year, Gap said it would raise its minimum hourly rate for U.S. employees to $9 in 2014 and $10 in 2015.
- ETFs: XLP, XLY, VDC, XRT, VCR, RTH, FXG, RETL, IYK, FXD, FDIS, RHS, PMR, FSTA, RCD, UGE, SZK
Jun. 26, 2014, 8:31 AM
- Chinese authorities dismiss worker demands for additional compensation from Wal-Mart (WMT), potentially ending a three-month dispute between the retailer and union activists.
- Labor disputes are common in China, but the dispute has attracted attention because the country's labor unions are typically passive; the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, China's only legal union, is controlled by the Communist Party rather than by workers.
Jun. 24, 2014, 12:07 PM
- Channel checks from Deutsche Bank indicate the promotional cadence in the retail sector has been dialed back a notch from the level seen in Q1.
- The investment firm sees less promotional activity from retail beasts Wal-Mart (WMT +0.3%) and Target (TGT +0.2%) - while department store chains such as Kohl's (KSS +0.7%), Nordstrom (JWN +0.6%), and Dillard's (DDS -0.1%) have also shown some improvement.
- J.C. Pennney (JCP +1%) is a tougher nut to crack for DB with its radical changes in pricing strategy making the year-over-year comparison less informative.
- Related ETFs: XLY, XRT, VCR, RTH, RETL, FXD, FDIS, PMR, RCD
Jun. 20, 2014, 1:19 PM| Comment!
Jun. 20, 2014, 8:45 AM
- Carl Icahn sees massive synergies if a buyer steps up for Family Dollar (FDO) with the discounter sector quite crowded.
- The quick analyst take on Icahn's full-court press for a sale is that a buyout by Dollar General (DG) or Wal-Mart (WMT) is unlikely.
- A bid for Family Dollar from a consortium of P-E firms is viewed as a more likely scenario. In general, the go-private route provides an easier path to brutal cost-slashing.
- Icahn letter to Family Dollar
- FDO +2.1% premarket
Jun. 18, 2014, 11:52 AM
- Food stamp usage has fallen off from its peak in 2012, according to government data.
- At last count, 46.1M people are using food stamps, down 3.6% compared to the 47.8M people using the program at the high.
- SA contributor Collen Roche has some analysis on what to make of the trend.
- Stocks with food stamp relevance: DLTR, DG, FDO, FIVE, BIG, SVU, KR, WMT.
Jun. 17, 2014, 12:19 PM| Comment!
Jun. 17, 2014, 7:52 AM
- Count IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde as another proponent of raising the federal minimum wage in the U.S.
- Lagarde points to the 50M working Americans living below the poverty level in making her claim that "we" have to do something about it.
- Legislation on a minimum wage increase has been stalled in Congress, but is likely to be teed up as mid-term election issue.
- Related stocks: MCD, BKW, SONC, DENN, WMT, JACK, GTIM, WEN, TAST, PLKI, PZZA, YUM, NATH, CKEC, AMC, RGC.
- Bloomberg Lagarde interview
Jun. 17, 2014, 7:04 AM| Comment!
Jun. 13, 2014, 8:46 AM
- Wal-Mart (WMT) plans to launch a B2B e-commerce platform in India, according to a top exec in the region.
- The e-commerce service will start in two cities before slowly rolling out across the nation.
- The company has previously disclosed its intention to stick to wholesale and online in India instead of striking a large retail store presence.
Jun. 12, 2014, 10:17 AM
- UBS removes Wal-Mart (WMT -0.2%) from its Most Preferred List.
- The ratings action follows a general trend of caution on the Bentonville giant from Wall Street firms.
- Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales have decreased for five quarters in a row which has increased the importance of growing the e-commerce business. Last year, the company reported online sales of $10B.
Jun. 11, 2014, 9:34 AM
- ICSC forecasts comparable-store sales for retail chains will increase by 3.5% Y/Y in June.
- The pace is slightly less than the snap-back from a slow Q1 that some analysts forecast.
- The read on June from the research firm is that wholesale clubs (WMT, COST, PSMT) and furniture stores (PIR, BBBY, LZB, ETH, RH, HVT, KIRK, WSM) showed "outstanding strength" for the first full week of the month.
- Related ETFs: IYK, UGE, SZK
Jun. 6, 2014, 11:22 AM
- Wal-Mart (WMT -0.1%) picks Madrone Capital partner Greg Penner to be its vice chairman. The selection marks the first time the company picked a "chairman" outside of the Walton family.
- The retail giant's program in which consumers can buy online and pick up their items in stores gets considerable attention from speakers.
- CEO Doug McMillon talks a lot about innovation at Wal-Mart. 3D printing even gets some run.
- E-commerce sales for Wal-Mart are forecast to reach $13B this year.
- The company rolls out the usual impressive group of celebrities for the corporate pep rally.
- Wal-Mart Annual Shareholder Meeting webcast
Jun. 5, 2014, 8:38 AM
- Wal-Mart's (WMT) annual shareholder meeting commences today in Arkansas with the usual pep rally atmosphere expected.
- Inside the company is expected to sail past votes on instituting an independent chairman and clawback disclosures, while outside some organized protests over wages are already brewing.
- Quietly most of the execs tied to the bribery scandal in Mexico have resigned, reports the NYT. The total amount spent on the internal and external investigations into Wal-Mart's compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is now over $500M.
- Belus Capital initiates coverage on Wal-Mart with a Sell rating and $71 price target.
- Wal-Mart Annual Shareholder Meeting webcast
Jun. 4, 2014, 8:24 AM
- Sam's Club (WMT) plans to introduce a new credit card which will feature an embedded chip for security instead of a magnetic strip.
- The chip technology, known as EMV, is considered a more secure form of payment processing and is used broadly in Europe and Asia.
- Sam's will be the first large retail store chain in the U.S. to make the EMV move.
- The credit card will be co-branded between Sam's and MasterCard (MA).
Jun. 1, 2014, 9:57 AM
- Procter & Gamble (PG) is trying to balance its green initiative while securing as much profit as it can, as it caters to global sustainability while cutting company-wide costs.
- This spring, P&G promised to begin monitoring its entire palm oil supply by 2015, cut the water content in laundry detergent by a quarter (saving 45M gallons of water annually) by 2018, and rid oil from dirty suppliers by 2020. Procter & Gamble also joined with Wal-Mart (WMT) in the $100M Closed Loop Fund, which helps U.S. cities boost recycling programs.
- To balance its green initiative, the company is cutting 3,000 office jobs over the next two years, selling its pet food business, and is looking to cut $10B from costs by 2016.
WMT vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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