Fed Lines Up Another Quarter-Point Rate Cut by Nick Timiraos at Wall Street Journal. “Federal Reserve officials are gearing up to reduce interest rates at their next policy meeting in two weeks, most likely by a quarter-percentage point…The idea of an aggressive half-point cut to battle the slowdown hasn’t gained much support inside the central bank…” WSJ subs.
Private sector hiring rebounds in August with 195,000 added at Fox Business. “…surging past analyst expectations of 149,000 even as recession fears continue to mount.” Read more
U.S. judge approves CVS purchase of insurer Aetna at Reuters. “But (the judge) took aim at the common practice of companies’ closing multibillion-dollar deals while the court review, required by the Tunney Act, was still in process. “If the Tunney Act is to mean anything,” Leon wrote, “it surely must mean that no court should rubberstamp a consent decree approving the merger of ‘one of the largest companies in the United States’ and ‘the nation’s third largest health-insurance company,’ … simply because the Government requests it!” Read more
Lands’ End Q2 US operated stores comp sales +7.5% “Net revenue for the second quarter decreased 3.1% to $298.3 million as compared to the same period last year reflecting 110 fewer Lands’ End Shops at Sears.” Press release
Kirkland’s Q2 comp sales -11.2% “CEO Woodward: ‘Store traffic remains challenging, and we expect near-term financial results to be impacted by promotional activity to bring inventory back into alignment and increased marketing spend to drive traffic, highlight new product and target new customers'” Press release
Sears laying off approximately 250 employees at HQ at USA Today. Read more
Neiman Marcus CFO to Depart After Less Than Two Years by Ezequiel Minaya at Wall Street Journal. “Neiman Marcus is on the hunt for a new finance chief…Adam Orvos, who has been chief financial officer at the Dallas-based company since April 2018, is scheduled to depart Oct. 11 to join another company, Neiman Marcus said this week. Mr. Orvos hasn’t disclosed his next position…” WSJ subs.
Michaels Q2 comp sales +0.3% Press release
American Eagle Q2 comp sales +2.0%: By brand, American Eagle’s comp sales -1.0%. Aerie’s comparable sales +16%. Press release
…American Eagle stock plummets after delayed back-to-school season led to disappointing same-store sales growth at CNBC. “The company said that sales were disappointing during the last two weeks of July…August was its strongest month in the quarter. The company’s also beat Wall Street’s estimates on profit and revenue.” Read more
Amazon announces new Fire TV devices, including first smart soundbar and more powerful Cube by Kurt Schlosser at GeekWire. Read more
The Buckle August comp sales +3.1% Press release
Buffalo Wild Wings joins forces with MGM Resorts International and its sports betting venture, Roar Digital…the partnership will deliver sports gaming experiences at a national scale inside Buffalo Wild Wings Press release
Duluth Trading Co. CEO named North American president at Under Armour at CNBC. Read more
Hurricane Dorian to help some retailers but hurt others at CNBC. “Foot traffic at apparel stores is expected to fall 25%, while visits to outlet centers will decline 32%. Restaurant traffic is expected to decrease 14%.” Read more
Signet Jewelers Q2 comp sales -1.5% Press release
Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Walmart, speaks at Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference on Wednesday by Kim Souza at Talk Business. “Bratspies: ‘We have a meeting of all the U.S. officers every Monday afternoon. And the first topic is the customer, all the time, and it’s data on NPS scores on our Clean, Fast and Friendly scores, which is a core metric coming out of our stores. And we look at them in total at a macro level and we look at them on a micro-level…'” Read more
Additional comments from Walmart’s Steve Bratspies at Barclays 2019 Global Consumer Staples Conference
- Right now all of our data and all of our surveys with our customers are saying that they feel pretty good about the economy and where they are.
- (Millennials are more) receptive with private brands because private brand offerings out there, not only ours, but even competitors are just better than they used to be in the past.
- Our electronics program is called Entertainment of the Future. It’s rolled out to a lot of stores. It will be in the vast majority of the chain by the end of next year.
- …we’re testing a new layout in home, a new layout in sporting goods.
- We’re going to be combining seasonal space in our stores. So if you think the traditional think Halloween, for example, and think the traditional set in our stores where we do costumes and all the décor, but candy is often in a — over in a different part of the store. We’re going to be building sections inside the store to put seasonal together.
- We’ve combined a service counter in the back of our stores. So traditionally, we had the paint counter, we had the sporting goods counter, and in many stores we had the auto care center desk. And we’re moving now towards combining all of those into one desk.
- …our national meeting with all of our store managers (is) in two weeks in Indianapolis. We have all the store managers there and we’re going to show them Produce 2.0.
- (Produce 2.0 is) a lot about visual set and experience inside the store that the customer will see directly.
- My wife’s a big user of our private brands, so she tells me all the time. So I’m sending texts to the team all the time. This one’s good. That one needs work.
- Neighborhood Markets is doing great. They’re running strong comps continue to improve.
Highlights from Lowe’s Marvin Ellison & David Denton presentation at Goldman Sachs 2019 Global Retailing Conference
Q: Is there one initiative that’s driven the most traction with pros so far?
- I will say probably it’s the investment in job lot inventory
- One of the first things that we did as a team is we started to do focus groups of pro customers that were loyal to us and pro customers that had defected over the years…
- I will say in addition to that, basic things like having loading assistance. If I heard from one – probably I heard from 50 pros that the ability to leave your job site without having to take someone from the crew with you…
Q: Craftsman & brand partnerships
- …when we look at the customers that come to Lowe’s to buy CRAFTSMAN product is roughly 60% of those customers are new to Lowe’s. So to me, it’s irrelevant about being exclusive.
- …we have the best lineup in outdoor power equipment with CRAFTSMAN, Husqvarna, John Deere…
- We have some other announcements (regarding other brand partnerships) we’ll be making in the latter part of the year.
- One thing that’s been interesting about bringing CRAFTSMAN into this footprint is that you’ve looked at it and it’s actually not cannibalizing other brands.
Q: Macro environment
- …roughly two-third of what we sell we view as nondiscretionary…we feel very confident that those discretionary categories are holding up really well to levels that give us confidence that the consumer feels good about their economic situation.
- We do watch a little bit, I’ll say, at the high price points, are people trading down from, let’s say, $1,000 purchase to an $800 purchase. We’re not seeing – we’re actually seeing demand in high-ticket items actually accelerate, not decelerate.
Q: Do you expect your store base to be larger or smaller over the next two years?
Ellison: …we don’t see the growth of Lowe’s being driven by square footage…so very few new stores.
Q: Data initiatives behind pricing
- …we’re developing a new price management system…it is going to be ready and implemented in Q4.
- In the first half of next year, we’re going to take the data analytics portion of the Boomerang acquisition and we’re going to merge that with our price management architecture.
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