Monday, November 30, 2015

The Complex Landscape of Holiday Shopping

It's clear that holiday shopping is no longer greatly concentrated on specific days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday;but is rather a rolling phenomenon beginning after Halloween,with surge points to be sure,but not as pronounced as in the past.A lot of this is due to the proliferation of mobile devices and the ascendance of digital commerce in general.
Over Thanksgiving weekend,103 million consumers shopped online versus 102 million at brick-and-mortar stores,Prosper Insights&Analytics reported to the National Retail Federation.ComScore reported that digital sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday totaled four billion dollars,up 20% on the year,and with desktop and mobile bringing in 25% of all sales.Brick-and-mortar sales for the same two days fell a bit on the year to 12.1 billion.
Hudson's Bay Co. CEO Gerald Storch told CNBC that the Thanksgiving period was a pretty good weekend.In North America,Hudson's Bay owns upscale department stores such as Lord&Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue,as well as their associated outlet stores.
On the negative side of digital,online glitches,especially on mobile,are common bugbears and can devastate a retailer's sales figures as impatient consumers bolt for the exits.A lack of enough machines to handle unexpectedly high traffic or new and complex site construction can lead to this pitfall.
Much of the Internet sales was by retailers practicing omnichannel retailing,coordinating their online and in-store business,Mr.Storch said.Although mobile is growing rapidly,many consumers either do not own appropriate phones or just enjoy the Black Friday in-store experience,keeping brick-and-mortar stores relevant even as online purchases grow.*
Macy's (M),Nordstrom Inc (JWN),Hudson's Bay Co (TSX:HBC),(PINX:HBAYF),Amazon (AMZN)

St Andrews Day - Official greeting

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hudson's Bay Co. Reduces Debt - a good investment now?

On 18 November,the Hudson's Bay Company sold 533 million dollars of equity in its stake of HBS Global Properties Joint Venture (properties in the US and Germany) to three third party investors:real estate investment trusts Ivanhoe Cambridge (250 million) and Madison International Realty (150 million);plus a large US pension fund (133 million).Ivanhoe will have a seat on the Hudson's Bay board of directors.Proceeds of the sale will pay down Hudson's Bay's 1.085 billion dollar loan to 500 million.The company will retain a 63% stake in HBS Global Properties,which it said it may sell more of for further deleveraging or acquisitions.*
Hudson's Bay,of Toronto,Canada,began as a fur trader in 1670,and is the oldest North American company.It evolved into a department store titan with more than 460 stores and 65,000 employees worldwide.Its major banners include Hudson's Bay,Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in North America;GALERIA Kaufhof in Germany;and Galeria INNO in Belgium.Hudson's Bay other retail holdings are FIND@Lord & Taylor,Home Outfitters and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH in North America;and SPORTARENA in Germany.*
In addition to retail,the midcap growth company has acquired a substantial real estate portfolio consisting of its remaining stake in the aforementioned HBS Global Properties Joint Venture and the RioCan - HBC Joint Venture (Canadian properties).*
Keeping pace with change in the industry,Hudson's Bay has increased its digital sales by a substantial 30% as it increasingly invests in online sales.It will also benefit from the synergies generated by its acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue,which are expected to appear in this quarter.This synergy,coupled with the weakness of the Canadian dollar,should result in better returns through 2016.Hudson's Bay is looking to be a retail momentum story backed by large real estate holdings.*
Hudson's Bay Co (TSX:HBC),(PINX:HBAYF)

Monday, November 16, 2015

McDonald's Catches Up With Consumer,Industry Trends

We serve the vast majority of the population in all our markets,McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook,who is British,told CNBC.There are some who come in for a burger,but we can also innovate at the premium end of the menu.What we're seeing is,incremental purchase of all day breakfast food.It's growing margins and generating a lot of enthusiasm amongst our customers and out team.We have very ambitious plans in tech and across the whole area of helping to make consumers' lives more convenient and more fun.*
In relation to McDonald's as a company,we made the conscious decision to go one dollar above the minimum wage.With health care inflation,it's tough.That's why we've got to increase the bottom line.We're seeing a reduction in crew turnover.That improves the customer experience.*
We're going to cage-free eggs in the US.It's going to take us 10 years to get there because of supply.We use two billion eggs a year.*
Our owner-operators are wonderful,an animated bunch that helps us make the decisions,and we help them make their decisions.When we took the all day breakfast,we got a 98% approval by the owner-operators.Traditional industries are being transformed,and we should not be blind to that.We have a 1+ billion dollar delivery business in Asia.We are building up our digital programme to offer more ordering and payment options and customer loyalty programmes.A number of our regions have been selling mozzarella sticks and they do sell well,Mr.Easterbrook observed.*
McDonald's (MCD)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Visa Inc. Acquiring Long Lost Visa Europe

Visa Inc. announced in a press release today that it is acquiring privately held Visa Europe Ltd. for up to 23.4 billion dollars,depending on how many benchmarks are achieved.The deal will add to Visa Inc. about 3,000 European issuers and more than 500 million accounts that pay more than 1.5 trillion euros.The transaction reunites the two companies that had been one until 2004.Subject to regulatory approval,the cash and stock deal is expected to close in Visa's fiscal third quarter of 2016.
The move will result in a more seamless experience for Visa's global customers,with those in Europe getting access to the innovative technology,products and services of Visa Inc.European transactions are still 37% cash or check,so Visa Inc. will be able to grow substantially there.*
Visa Inc. is a global payments technology company connecting consumers,businesses,financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast,secure and reliable electronic payments,Visa Inc. said.Visa Europe is also a payments technology company,but is owned and operated by member banks and other payment services in 38 countries,rather than shareholders.It services the more than 500 million cardholders in Europe.Benefits from revenue synergies,cost savings and increased repurchases of Class A common stock will begin to accrue in fiscal full-year 2017,Visa Inc. projected.*
Visa Inc (V)