“Lowe’s Q3 Comps Up 6.2%” “Sales for the quarter increased 7.3 percent to $13.0 billion from $12.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012, and comparable sales for the quarter increased 6.2 percent. For the nine month period, sales were $41.8 billion, a 5.8 percent increase over the same period a year ago, and comparable sales increased 5.1 percent.” Read more
“Hundreds Stand in Line for New Costco in Melbourne, Australia” by Emma Hastings at Herald Sun. “The grocery giant opened its second Melbourne store at 8am, with a ribbon-cutting and speech by Minister for Employment and Trade Louise Asher. Costco spokeswoman Kyla White said some shoppers had lined up since 6am today to be the first inside the Ringwood store.” See the pics / Read more
“Debate emerges (again) on spinning off Sam’s Club” by Kim Souza at City Wire. “Robb Voss, a retired executive and one of the original team members to found Sam’s Club, told The City Wire he begged Wal-Mart co-founder Sam Walton several times between 1983 and 1990 to move Sam’s headquarters out of Bentonville…Long said Sam’s Club is “good” and will likely remain so as long it operates under Wal-Mart. “But if the retailer aspires to be best-in-class and delight the consumer they should give serious consideration to separating Sam’s Club from Wal-Mart,” Long said.” Read more
“Walmart CEO Bill Simon Appears on Neil Cavuto / Fox Business News (from 11/18)” “Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon on being open Thanksgiving Day, employee pay and unions.” See the video interview
Home Depot Q3 Earnings Call Highlights:
Frank Blake, Chairman & CEO
* Mid-South, Southeast and Pacific North regions had our strongest comp performance with double-digit gains.
* 10 consecutive quarters of transaction and ticket growth.
* The recovery of our pro business continues in the third quarter, our pro business slightly faster pace than our consumer business.
* Sales from our online channels, including those picked up in our stores, were up over 50% and are now approximately 3% of our total sales.
* Mexican business positively comped for the quarter. That makes 40 quarters in a row for 10 years of quarter-over-quarter positive comp growth.
* Canadian business had positive comps for the eighth quarter in a row.
Craig Menear, EVP Merchandising
* All merchandising departments posted positive comps. Kitchens, lighting, décor, lumber, electrical, indoor garden, paint and bath were above the company average.
* Comps above the company average in categories, such as lighting, countertops, floor tile, window coverings, faucets, vanities, fixtures, and special order carpet.
* Double-digit growth for appliances both in-store and online in the third quarter.
* Exterior stains and water sealers, pressure washers and exterior paint, all posted comps above the company average.
* Transactions for tickets under $50, representing approximately 20% of our U.S. sales were up 3.1% from third quarter. Transactions for tickets over $900 also representing approximately 20% of our U.S. sales, were up 10.3% in the third quarter.
* We’re seeing customers willing to step up (with) things that we tested, for example a 100 gallon Japanese maple tree for $3,000 this spring. And we were actually quite surprised at how that sold.
* Brand call outs: Nest detectors, Kevo Deadbolt from Kwikset, Cree TrueWhite LED bulb, Ryobi, Makita, Milwaukee, Rigid & Husky.
Carol Tome, CFO
* During the third quarter, we opened two new stores in Mexico for an ending total company store count of 2,260.
* We now expect fiscal 2013 sales to increase by approximately 5.6%, with positive comps on a 52-week like for like basis of approximately 7%.
* We think home price appreciation has been the biggest contributor of our sales growth this year…home prices are up 10% year-on-year and if you look at the composite index maybe up closer to 13%, but still 25% lower than their peak. So we think that there is a lot of room for recovery and it’s not going to stop in the short term.
* People who have positive equity in their home spend three times as much as those who have negative equity in their home.
* We beat our sales plan by about $700 million and we beat our earnings plan from an earnings per share perspective by about $0.10 per share.
“Home Depot Registers 50% Rise In Digital Sales” by Mark Walsh at Online Media Daily. “Online sales now account for 3% of the company’s total sales, which is double the share from a year ago. The number of overall transactions overall were up 13 million in the quarter, with 1 million of those coming through its online channels.” Read more
“Amazon Expanding Its Own Private Label Offering to Supermarket Goods” by Jason Del Rey at All Things D. “One of the (job) listings, for a financial analyst, mentioned the “launch of the Private Label Business in Consumables.” In another, for a “Senior Product Manager, Consumables Private Label,” Amazon said it is looking for the new hire to help “launch new high quality Amazon-branded products to our global customers.” Read more
“Wal-Mart CIO’s Advice For Women In IT” by Laurianne McLaughlin at Information Week. “Karenann Terrell has a passion for developing female IT leaders and encouraging young women to study science and math. As executive VP and CIO for Wal-Mart, she speaks to this topic from a high-profile position, but with a level of candor and practicality that’s unusual among C-suite executives.” Read the interview
“Walgreen’s Set for HQ Layoffs – Could Cut Up to 17% of Workers” at Chicago Business Journal. “While it’s not clear if the layoffs are related, Raymond James & Associates said today it was downgrading Walgreen shares, saying, “we have a tough time envisioning a material improvement in Walgreen’s core [earnings before interest and tax] considering the tougher generic comparisons this year…” Read more
“Heads Up Retailers: Best Buy Ready to Go ‘Bare Knuckles’ this Holiday Season” by David Phelps at Star-Tribune. “Best Buy Co. Inc. said Tuesday that it will resort to bare knuckles if necessary to gain sales and market share in the looming holiday season. In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Hubert Joly sounded combative as he exhorted his company into retail battle for the next six weeks. “We’re in this to play to win,” Joly said. “Best Buy is back. Our strategy is to be price-competitive. We will not be shy about investing in winning the holiday season.” Read more
“Staples quarterly sales fall 4 percent” at Reuters. “Sales fell to $6.11 billion from $6.35 billion.” Read more