Consumer

  • Saturday, May 19, 2018
    • Meghan Markle walked down the aisle this morning at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in a Givenchy haute couture dress designed by Clare Waight Keller.
    • The minimalist gown is drawing high marks from both fashion designers and the media in what could be a positive development for Givenchy.
    • Last year, Keller became the first female artistic director of Givenchy.
    • Givenchy is a French luxury fashion owned by LVMH-Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTCPK:LVMHF, OTCPK:LVMUY).
  • Friday, May 18, 2018
    • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took a shot at Campbell Soup (CPB -11.9%) by claiming that the company is blaming tariffs for its lack of profits. While Campbell didn't point to tariffs as the reason behind its $393M net loss in Q1 as indicated by Ross, the subject did come up on the post-earnings conference call.
    • Here's exactly what Campbell CFO Anthony Disilvestreo said on the call (transcript): "At this stage, given what we know about accelerating cost inflation, in part due to the anticipated impact of import tariffs and the continuing headwind on transportation and logistics cost, we expect our margins will be down in fiscal 2019."
    • Previously: Packaged food stocks follow Campbell Soup lower (May 18)
    • Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) is down 10.01% after the company's weak performance in the off-price channel offset momentum in the digital business.
    • While some analysts are pointing to the lower-than-anticipated gross margin rate recorded by Nordstrom as a warning sign for upcoming quarters, Atlantic Equities analyst Daniela Nedialkova has a different takeaway.
    • "We see a strengthening full-line vs off-price trend as a positive indicator — both for overall consumer health and demand for softlines and for JWN itself. FY18 should be an inflection point for margins at JWN, and full-line is a big part of the inflection story," she writes.
    • Shares of Nordstrom are at their lowest level since December.
    • Previously: Nordstrom lower after sales guidance arrives light (May 17)
    • Though the Supreme Court this week paved the way for states to allow betting on individual sporting events, as things stand now, you can't use a credit card to make that bet.
    • The largest U.S. issuers--such as JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and American Express (NYSE:AXP)--don't allow credit card use for sports gambling.
    • Banks will have to revise policies, decisioning tools, and merchant classification codes to allow sports gambling using credit cards, Bloomberg reports.
    • Processors, including Worldpay Inc., and payment networks Visa (NYSE:V) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA), though, are educating banks on how to change systems to authorize gambling transactions and ways to limit losses when borrowers can't repay the bets gone bad.
    • Previously: What they're saying about sports betting (May 14)
    • Ferrari N.V.  (RACE -0.9%) appoints Antonio Picca Piccon as Chief Financial Officer of the Group.
    • Antonio will start in his new role in Ferrari on July 30, replacing Alessandro Gili who has decided to leave the company effective May 31 to pursue other career opportunities.
    • Most recently, Antonio served as CFO of the Ariston Thermo Group.
    • Press Release
    • Primo Water (PRMW +4%) prices underwritten public offering of 4.643M shares of its common stock at a price of $14.00/share to the public.
    • The offering is expected to close on or about May 22, 2018, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
    • Press Release
    • Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) is down 1.66% after a report from Bloomberg News indicates that the automaker discussed using illegal software to cheat emissions tests as far back as 2010.
    • A Fiat employee tried to convince an exec at a supplier in e-mails that the software shouldn't be considered a mechanism to fool emissions tests.
    • The e-mails were release today in testimony at a federal court in San Francisco.
    • JetBlue (JBLU -1.1%) announces the appointment of Joanna Geraghty to the chief operating officer position.
    • Geraghty, who will report to CEO Robin Hayes, will manage the day-to-day airline operation.
    • Geraghty was most recently executive vice president, customer experience at JetBlue.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Texas Roadhouse <<(TXRH>> announced that Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations, Tonya Robinson, has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer.
    • “Tonya brings unmatched experience, knowledge and understanding of Texas Roadhouse and the investment community. Tonya has and will continue to have a big impact on our company,” said Scott Colosi, President of Texas Roadhouse.
    • Press Release
    • Blackstone Group (BX -0.4%) is selling off the last of its position in Hilton Worldwide (HLT +0.2%) with a deal to unload 15.8M shares. The Blackstone stake to be sold is 5.79% of all the Hilton shares outstanding.
    • The long association between Blackstone and Hilton includes a go-private deal in 2007 and IPO in 2013.
    • Shares of Hilton, which are up 31% over the last 52 weeks, will provide Blackstone with a significant profit.
    • GameStop (NYSE:GME) is down 5.85% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterates an Underperform rating on the retailer.
    • The investment firm points to weak software sales data for April in staying negative on GameStop.
    • BAML's price target on GameStop is $10. The 52-week low on GameStop is $12.20.
    • Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) is down 11.9% on a post-earnings slide that worsened during the company's conference call when it warned of the negative impact of tariffs on margins this year.
    • The tariff warning and soft overall Q1 report from Campbell Soup is dragging parts of the packaged foods sector down.
    • Notable movers include B&G Foods (NYSE:BGS-6.1%, General Mills (NYSE:GIS) -3.8%, J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM-3.3%, McCormick (NYSE:MKC-3.1%, Kellogg (NYSE:K-2.6%, Flower Foods (NYSE:FLO-2.2%, ConAgra Brands (NYSE:CAG) -2.2% and Hostess Brands (NASDAQ:TWNK-1.5%.
    • Previously: Campbell Soup CEO retires (May 18)
    • Previously: Campbell Soup lower by 5% after results, CEO exit (May 18)
    • Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment (NYSE:DDE) is up 12.38% on a volume spike without any corporate news or SEC filings out in the wild.
    • The share price jump appears to be related to news out of Delaware that sports betting will be allowed within weeks.
    • Dover Downs is reportedly hiring new employees to handle the expected rush.
    • Shares of Dover Downs are up 123% YTD.
    • Ctrip Group (CTRP -0.4%) collaborates with leading global hospitality brand, Hyatt, to open its first flagship store on its website and mobile application.
    • The online flagship store allows over 300M Ctrip members to access Hyatt hotels in the Greater China region and will extend to Hyatt hotels globally in the near future.
    • Press Release
    • A large block of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) shares being sold by an undisclosed shareholder has priced at $13.06, according to Bloomberg.
    • The 24.9M block of shares being sold is 3.6% of the total number of Caesars shares outstanding.
    • The company's won't receive any of the proceeds from the share offering.
    • Caesars Entertainment (CZR -1.9%) CEO Mark Frissora is the latest gaming executive to talk about the upside potential with legalized sports betting on the way.
    • In a post on Seeking Alpha, Frissora points to the strong balance sheet of Caesars and the "highly opportunistic" culture in place ahead of the gaming industry reset.
    • The company has already been making digital investments that could be used to build a sports betting platform.
    • "We’ll have more specifics about our plan of attack soon, but wanted to let you know that we are ready to be a big player in the space," notes Frissora
    • Value Exchange International (OTC:SNPY): Q1 Net income of $251.78K.
    • Revenue of $2.17M (+31.5% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    • The insider buying of Hennes & Mauritz (OTCPK:HNNMY, OTCPK:HMRZF) Chairman Stefan Persson this year is drawing attention to the potential of a go-private buyout, according to Bloomberg.
    • Persson has spent 3.5BB kronor this month and 6.4B kronor YTD is a steady wave of purchases.
    • Shares of H&M are up almost 5% in Stockholm this week.
    • Tenneco (NYSE:TEN) promoted Jason Hollar as CFO, effective July 1.
    • Hollar joined Tenneco in 2017 as senior vice president, finance, having previously served as chief financial officer for Sears Holding Corporation.
    • Press Release
    • Perry Ellis International (PERY -1.7%) shareholder George Feldenkreis is keeping up the pressure on the company's board.
    • The investor wants negotiations over an acquisition to progress and has nominated Oscar Feldenkreis, Mary Ellen Kanoff, Scott LaPorta and Matthew McEvoy for election to the board.
    • Feldenkreis holds a stake of 10.8% in Perry Ellis.
    • The Board of Directors of Patrick Industries (NASDAQ:PATK) approved an increase in the amount of the Company's common stock that may be acquired over the next 24 months under the Company's current stock repurchase program to $50M, including the amount remaining under the previous authorization.
    • "The increase in our stock repurchase authorization reflects the confidence that our Board of Directors and management team have in Patrick's outlook and market conditions, and is consistent with our capital allocation strategy and our commitment to driving shareholder value," said Todd M. Cleveland, Chief Executive Officer.
    • Press Release
    • Post Holdings (NYSE:POST) announces that it confidentially submitted to the SEC an amended draft registration statement for the proposed IPO of its its private brands business.
    • The number of shares of stock and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
    • The Post plan is to combine its private brands businesses, which produce nut butter, healthy snacks and pasta, and explore a range of strategic alternatives for the combined private brands business including the IPO option.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) announces that CEO Steve Temares voluntarily agreed to waive $500K in salary for a one year period starting on May 13.
    • In other corporate news, Chief Merchandising Officer Arthur Stark stepped down from his position on May 17. Stark will work as an uncompensated advisor to the CEO.
    • SEC Form 8-K
    • Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) rejected an offer from MGA Entertainment without getting far enough into deal discussions to talk about a price, according to MGA CEO Isaas Larian.
    • MGA made the approach near the end of April.
    • Larian indicated to the WSJ that he may take an offer directly to Mattel shareholders.
    • Shares of Mattel are up 3.08% in premarket trading to $15.75.
    • German automobile regulator KBA asks Porsche (OTCPK:POAHF, OTCPK:POAHY) to recall 60K Macan and Cayenne diesel SUVs to remove a defeat device that masks true emissions levels.
    • The recall actions covers Porsche Cayenne and Macan models with Euro-6 diesel engines.
    • Imperial Capital downgrades Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) to an In-line rating after having the gym operator set at Outperform. The reset is a valuation call after shares of Planet Fitness have run up 97% over the last 52 weeks.
    • The investment firm assigns a price target of $40 to Planet Fitness.
    • PLNT -0.88% premarket to $40.54.
    • Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) reports net sales increased 15% in Q3, driven by a 14-point benefit from the recent acquisitions of Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods and a 1-point favorable impact from currency translation.
    • Total volume and mix +1% for the period.
    • Revenue by segments: Americas simple meals and beverages: $1.01B (+5%); Global biscuits and snacks: $862M (+35%); Campbell fresh: $251M (+1%).
    • Adjusted gross margin rate squeezed 390 bps to 32%, primarily driven by cost inflation and higher supply chain costs, as well as the dilutive impact of recent acquisitions and higher promotional spending.
    • FY2018 Guidance: Net sales: +10% to +11%; Adjusted EBIT: -8% to -6%; Adjusted EPS: $2.85 to $2.90 (-6% to -5%).
    • CEO Denise Morrison is out effective today, replaced on an interim basis by board member Keith McLoughlin.
    • CPB -5% premarket.
    • Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ:ODFL) announces that its board has approved a new $250M stock repurchase authorization.
    • The new repurchase program will commence upon the expiration of the previously authorized two-year repurchase program announced on May 23, 2016.
    • "Old Dominion’s strong balance sheet and cash flow have enabled us to return value to shareholders through share repurchases and our quarterly cash dividend, while at the same time continuing to strategically invest in the long-term growth of our business," says CEO Greg Gantt.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB): Q3 EPS of $0.70 beats by $0.09.
    • Revenue of $2.13B (+15.1% Y/Y) misses by $10M.
    • Shares -0.18% PM.
    • Press Release
    • Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) announces that CEO Denise Morrison has decided to retire effective today.
    • Board member Keith McLoughlin has been named interim CEO in order to facilitate an orderly transition in management.
    • The company says COO Luca Mignini will focus on the integration of newly acquired Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods, as well as stabilizing the company’s U.S. soup business.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Park Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:PK) says it closed on the sale of the 601-room Hilton Berlin located in Berlin, Germany.
    • The gross proceeds from the sale is €297M million and Park’s pro rata share of gross proceeds is ~$140M.
    • The sale was executed at price ~20X the hotel’s 2017 EBITDA.
    • The sale of the Hotel marks the 13th hotel that Park has sold in 2018.
    • CEO update: "We are excited to announce the execution of another non-core asset sale at extremely favorable pricing. We have been laser-focused on reshaping our portfolio and maximizing value for our stockholders, and we are pleased that this sale helps to reduce our exposure to international markets, while further simplifying the ownership structure of our assets."
    • Source: Press Release
    • Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE:VSI) announces that CFO Brenda Galgano has resigned to take a position at another company.
    • The resignation is effective on June 5.
    • The company says Bill Wafford, currently SVP business development and strategy will be named the new CFO.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Shenzhen E-Sun Sky Network Technology, a subsidiary of a consolidated affiliated entity of 500.com Limited (WBAI) and the Hunan Provincial Sports Bureau Sports Lottery Administration Center entered into a cooperation agreement.
    • As per the agreement, Hunan Sports Lottery Center shall support E-Sun Sky to assist in developing physical sales channels in Hunan Province, in order to enhance the convenience of sports lottery ticket purchases, enlarge customer base and optimize user experience for lottery purchasers.
    • Press Release
  • Thursday, May 17, 2018
    • Valvoline (NYSE:VVV) has a definitive deal to acquire Great Canadian Oil Change -- its first international quick-lube acquisition.
    • That will add 73 stores in five Canadian provinces, primarily British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The company is the third-largest quick-lube system in Canada.
    • Terms weren't disclosed.
    • The move will expand Valvoline's entire quick-lube network to more than 1,200 locations both company-owned and franchised.
    • The deal's expected to close within 60 days.
    • Boot Barn (NASDAQ:BOOT) has dropped 3.6% in postmarket action after launching a 7.21M-share public offering for selling stockholders.
    • Those will go for $23.50-$24/share, a source tells Bloomberg -- about a 2-4% discount from close. Shares settled at $24.49 on Nasdaq today.
    • The stockholders include funds managed by Freeman Spogli & Co., offering its entire stake of 7,021,771 shares, and some directors who are offering 190,042 shares.
    • J.P. Morgan Securities and Jefferies are underwriters for the offering.
    • The company isn't selling shares and won't receive proceeds.
    • United Continental (NYSE:UAL) says CFO Andrew Levy is leaving the company and appoints Gerry Laderman as its acting CFO while the company conducts a search to permanent fill the position.
    • Laderman is UAL's senior VP of finance, procurement and treasurer, and has held financial positions of increasing responsibility at the company for nearly 30 years.
    • Levy became UAL's CFO in August 2016 as part of a management makeover by CEO Oscar Munoz.
    • Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) reports comparable sales rose 0.6% in Q1 vs. +1.0% consensus estimate.
    • Comparable sales were up 0.7% at full-price stores and 0.4% at off-price outlets.
    • Digital sales rose 18% Y/Y to carve out 29% of all sales, compared to 25% a year ago.
    • Gross profit fell 21 bps to 34.1% of sales as higher occupancy costs nipped.
    • SG&A expenses were up 32 bps to 32.3% of sales.
    • EBIT came in at $153M or 4.4% of sales vs. $151M and 4.6% of sales a year ago.
    • Nordstom ended the quarter with 373 stores vs. 353 stores a year ago, led by a net gain of 16 Nordstrom Rack stores.
    • The company reiterates full-year revenue guidance of $15.2B to $15.4B vs. $15.64B consensus. The forecast for EBIT is trimmed just slightly to $885M to $940M from $895M to $940M and $907M consensus.
    • Shares of Nordstrom are down 5.16% in AH trading to drop back below $50.
    • Previously: Nordstrom beats by $0.07, beats on revenue (May 17)
    • Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN): Q1 EPS of $0.51 beats by $0.07.
    • Revenue of $3.47B (+5.8% Y/Y) beats by $10M.
    • Shares -2.5%.
    • Press Release
    • Shares of Square (NYSE:SQ) are down 2.6% after Sky News tips that PayPal may be acquiring iZettle.
    • Square is off its session low of $54.60.
    • Previously: PayPal said to be pursuing iZettle (May 17)
    • Local media in West Virginia is reporting that a worker at a McDonald's (MCD -1.1%) restaurant in the city of Hurricane has a confirmed case of Hepatitis A.
    • West Virginia is one of the six states identified by the CDC as having a Hepatitis A outbreak.
    • In the past, shares of McDonald's have been less sensitive than those of Chipotle to employee health issues or food poisoning incidents.
    • Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) says its SUV plant in Alabama will resume production next week after a halt due to a parts shortage caused by a fire at a key supplier.
    • The needed parts are expected to start coming in next week.
    • PayPal Holdings (PYPL +1.1%) is in advanced talks to acquire iZettle, according to Sky News.
    • Sources indicate that an announcement from PayPal could arrive as early as tomorrow morning on a deal for the financial tech firm.
    • Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK) is down 8.03% after the company reports disappointing earnings and pushes off issuing long-term guidance until August as the post-Qdoba arrangements become clearer.
    • The restaurant operator says it has engaged an outside firm to help it identify cost-savings opportunities and analyzing new financing structures.
    • Previously: Comparable sales miss at Jack in the Box (May 16)
    • Where Food Comes From <<OTCQB:WFCF>> acquired privately held software maker Sow Organic, Inc., for $0.9M including $0.45M in cash and $0.45M in WFCF common stock.
    • The two companies will work together to further develop the organic business opportunity and collaborate on a broader rollout of the solution to other certification markets.
    • Jeff Dlott, CEO of SureHarvest, said, “We welcome Sow Organic to the team.  Our companies share tremendous synergies and a common vision for using technology to improve efficiencies for our customers. We look forward to a smooth integration process and to collaborating on strategies to accelerate development of the organic market and introduce Sow’s SaaS solution to the broader verification and certification market.”
    • Press Release
    • Official at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory confirm that an explosive eruption has occurred at the summit of Kilauea sending ash over 30K feet in the air.
    • The volcanic activity on the Big Island is a considered a potential disruption in the short term for Alaska Airlines (ALK -0.7%) and Hawaiian Airlines (HA +1.8%).
    • Tesla (TSLA -0.2%) secures a three-year lithium supply agreement with Kidman Resources when the Australian miner begins producing battery-grade materials - likely not before 2021 - highlighting the scramble for raw materials needed to meet the anticipated demand for electric vehicles.
    • The agreement is for an initial three-year term on a “fixed-price take-or-pay basis” from the first product delivery, and features two three-year term options.
    • The deal comes just days after Kidman chose a site to develop a lithium processing plant in Western Australia with joint venture partner Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM).
    • B&G Foods (BGS +2.6%) says it will raise list prices for the first time in three years and cut back on promotions. The action is being taken in part due to higher freight costs.
    • The company says $0.10 increases are expected across the board by the end of May.
    • B&G revealed the strategy during a presentation at BMO’s Farm to Market Conference in New York.
    • B&G's conference presentation
    • Marriott International (MAR -1%) discloses that one of its subsidiaries sold old Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel to a private investor for ~C$92M.
    • The company still has a long-term management agreement for the 825-room property located in downtown Montreal.
    • SEC Form 8-K
    • Chegg (CHGG +1.4%) acquires WriteLab for ~$15M, in an all cash transaction. An additional payment of $5M may be paid to key employees over the next three years, in cash or stock at Chegg's sole discretion, contingent upon the continued employment of such key employees.
    • WriteLab is an AI-enhanced writing platform that teaches students grammar, sentence structure, writing style, and offers instant feedback to help students revise, edit, and improve their written work.
    • As a result of this acquisition, Chegg does not expect any material effect on operations, Q2 guidance, or full year 2018 guidance issued on April 26, 2018.
    • Press Release
    • Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ:FARM) is up 4.3% in what could be a delayed reaction to RBC analyst Nik Mondi's prediction that the company could be acquired by Cott (COT -1.1%) if shares fall off again.
    • Shares of Farmer Brothers are down 17% YTD.
    • Sources: Bloomberg, Marketwatch
    • Escalade <<ESCA>> today announced it has sold it's 50% equity share of STIGA Sports Group AB to a Swedish private investor
    • The wholly owned subsidiary of Escalade Sports entered into a long-term licensing agreement for the STIGA brand on table tennis tables and accessories in North America.
    • Dave Fetherman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Escalade said, "Our journey with STIGA began twenty-three years ago, and in that time, we have helped our retail partners in sporting goods and other channels, grow their table tennis business by developing and delivering a comprehensive range of table tennis products. STIGA Sports AB has been an excellent partner for us and we look forward to continuing our work together to deliver the most innovative products for consumers under the STIGA brand."
    • Source: Press Release
    • Hasbro (HAS +0.5%) announces that its board authorized a new buyback allowance of $500M.
    • The company says at the end of Q1 it had $139.2M available in the current share repurchase authorization.
    • CFO update: "Hasbro is committed to strategically investing in our business for long-term profitable growth and returning excess cash to our shareholders. The Board’s additional $500 million stock authorization reaffirms this commitment and demonstrates confidence in the future value of Hasbro’s strategy. Hasbro is executing from a healthy financial position, with an operating cash flow target of $600-700 million this year and a solid balance sheet."
    • Source: Press Release
    • Wolfe Research updates on Target (TGT +0.8%) after a round of channel checks in Houston, Atlanta, Washington DC and Philadelphia
    • Analyst Scott Mushkin: "We have seen a marked improvement in store conditions, including in-stock. We believe the change is driven by an adjustment in the way stores are run, with managers now assigned to key areas such as food and apparel. These departments also have dedicated staff to make sure the area is well maintained and stocked. Our research suggests the change is having a dramatic impact. Add to this the company’s efforts to remodel and emphasize signature categories such as beer and wine."
    • Wolfe lifts Target to an Outperform rating from Peer Perform based off the positive momentum.
    • Target is due to report Q1 earnings on May 23.
    • Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) is up 3.19% with some insider buying activity in the background.
    • The company discloses that CEO Jan Zijderveld picked up 250K shares at $1.93 and Global President Miguel Angel Fernandez Calero nabbed 100K shares at $1.89.
    • The insider buying comes with Avon trading just slightly above its multi-year low of $1.85.
    • SEC Form 4s
    • Goldman Sachs estimates that Tesla (TSLA +0.6%) will need $10B in fresh capital by 2020 to fund operations.
    • "We believe this level of capital transactions may be funded through multiple avenues, including new bond issuance, convertible notes, and equity," says GS analyst David Tamberrino.
    • "We see several options available to the company to refinance maturing debt and raise incremental funds, which should allow Tesla to fund its growth targets," he adds.
    • Tamberrino is firmly in the Tesla bear camp, with a Sell rating and price target of $195 on the EV automaker, although he was not one of the analysts shut down by Elon Musk during Tesla's Q1 earnings call. He was three for three in asking questions and getting answers (transcript).
    • BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) files for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
    • The retailer was taken private in PE buyout by Leonard Green and CVC Capital Partners in 2011.
    • Last year, BJ's reported revenue of $12.8B and adjusted EBITDA of $534M.
    • The company says recent changes have "delivered results rapidly, evidenced by positive and accelerating comparable club sales over the last two quarters and net income growth of over 109% and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 31% in aggregate over the last two fiscal years."
    • SEC Form S-1
    • Investors and analysts are seeing a match made in grocery heaven after Kroger (NYSE:KR) announced a partnership with e-commerce specialist Ocado Group (OTCPK:OCDGF, OTC:OCDDY).
    • RBC Capital says the Kroger-Ocado partnership "dwarfs" the e-commerce efforts of other U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers due to the large fulfillment and distribution capabilities.
    • The deal is also seen as a nice countermeasure by Kroger to Amazon's (AMZN -0.1%) grocery ambitions.
    • Today's development has significance for grocery chains Supervalu (SVU +1.2%) and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM +0.9%), as well as Target (TGT +0.9%).
    • Shares of Kroger are up 3.36% in morning trading, while Ocado is up 48% in London. Bloomberg reports that Ocado is now a candidate to be included in the U.K.'s benchmark FTSE 100 index after the moonshot.
    • Previously: Kroger partners with Ocado (May 17)
    • Diana Containerships Inc. (DCIX N/A) through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, signed a Memorandum of Agreement to sell to an unaffiliated third party the 2009-built vessel “Hamburg” for $21M before commissions, with delivery latest by July 31.
    • Net proceeds from the sale of the vessel are expected to be used by the Company to prepay part of the existing indebtedness.
    • Upon completion of the sale, Diana Containerships Inc.’s fleet will consist of 5 container vessels (3 Post-Panamax and 2 Panamax).
    • Press Release
    • Restaurant same-store sales were up 1.5% in April, according to data from TDn2K. The mark is the highest since September of 2015 and follows the 0.8% increase in March..
    • Comparable traffic was down 1.4% during the month, a deceleration from the 2.1% drop in the prior month. Guest spending has been up about 3% in March and April to offset the drop in restaurant guests.
    • "In April, to-go, delivery, catering and banquet sales each outperformed sales growth for dine-in sales. Across industry segments, the percentage of total restaurant sales represented by these off-premise food categories has been growing. Consumers behavior is shifting and 'on-the-go' has become an extremely important component of restaurant demand," reports TDn2K.
    • Despite the positive signs for the industry in April, TDn2K issues some caution. "Stronger economic conditions and high consumer confidence are certainly factors. However, this performance has to be considered against last year’s soft sales. A longer view suggests there are still significant challenges for the industry," warns the research firm.
    • Restaurant stocks: CAKE, CBRL, DNKN, DPZ, DRI, EAT, JACK, MCD, RRGB, SONC, WEN, BWLD, QSR, CHUY, BLMN, PZZA, TXRH, DENN, BBRG, DFRG, RUTH, DIN, HABT, NDLS, BOJA, LOCO, TACO, PZZA, KONA, PBPB, BJRI, CHUY, CBRL, WING, BOJA, ZOES, ARCO, YUM, CMG, SHAK, TACO, WING, FAT, ARKR, LUB.
    • Stifel Nicolaus downgrades Molson Coors (NYSE:TAP) to a Hold rating from Buy.
    • The investment firm expects beer consumption per capita to decline and an unfavorable shift for Molson in consumer preferences to wine and high-end beer.
    • "Managers are focused on improved trends across price points, but consumption patterns favor smaller, more premium brands," writes the Stifel analyst team.
    • Stifel lower its price target on the beer stock to $65 from $71.
    • Shares of Molson Coors are down 1.01% in premarket trading to $59.50.
    • Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE:APRN) announces the appointment of Tim Bensley as the company's CFO.
    • Bensley brings to Blue Apron over 30 years of diverse finance and strategy leadership experience, including most recently serving as CFO of Acosta after a long stint at PepsiCo.
    • APRN -1.53% premarket to $2.58.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) says it has completed a round of engine inspections across its fleet.
    • CEO Gary Kelly confirms that small number of engine fan blades were sent back to the manufacturer for more testing out of an abundance of caution. The fan blades were not sent back due to metal fatigue.
    • Shares of Southwest are up 0.66% premarket to $53.36. LUV is -19.01% YTD.
    • Xerox (NYSE:XRX) announces the appointment of John Visentin as the company's new CEO.
    • Visentin was also elected vice chairman of the Xerox board. Keith Cozza was elected chairman of the board.
    • Xerox also announced that it will hold its annual shareholder meeting on July 31.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Loop Capital initiates coverage on Costco (NASDAQ:COST) with a Buy rating.
    • The investment firm assigns a price target of $224 on the retailer to rep 13% upside potential for shares.
    • There are now 22 Buy equivalent recommendations from Wall Street analysts on the books vs. 8 Hold equivalents and no Sells, per Bloomberg.
    • COST +0.42% premarket to $199.55 vs. a 52-week trading range of $150.00 to $199.88.
    • Flower Foods (NYSE:FLO) expects full-year sales of $3.92B to $3.98B. The midpoint of the guidance range is $3.95B, which is slightly short of the consensus estimate of $3.96B.
    • The company expects EPS of $1.04 to $1.16. The midpoint of the profit outlook matches the consensus estimate of $1.10.
    • Shares of Flower Foods are down 0.79% in premarket trading to $21.45.
    • Previously: Flowers Foods misses by $0.01, beats on revenue (May 16)
    • Dillard's (NYSE:DDS) reports a 2% increase in total merchandise sales and comparable sales during Q1.
    • Strength in home and furniture, ladies' accessories and lingerie and juniors' and children's apparel helped to offset some weakness in men's apparel and shoes.
    • The company says gross margin from retail operations fell 66 bps, compared to a year ago. SG&A expenses were down 10 bps to 27.9% of sales.
    • "Our positive sales momentum continued into the first quarter. We believe this indicates our customer is more comfortable spending in this economic environment, and we hope the positive trend continues," says Dillard's CEO  William Dillard.
    • DDS +1.56% premarket to $73.12.
    • Previously: Dillard's beats by $0.12, beats on revenue (May 17)