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Weekly Ramblings of an Australian Stock Trader - incorporating
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Category — Retail

Clothing For All: The Slow But Relentless Revolution.

I was out shopping for a new winter coat, hopping from store to store looking for a good deal. To my astonishment, it was almost impossible not to find a good deal.

In times when most everything has gone up in price and down in quality, clothing seems like an outlier. It made me curious about what’s happened in the world of clothing over the last 25 years or so. In this time, we’ve seen several major trends happen.

Anytime between the Great Depression and the end of the Reagan years, the clothing you bought mostly came from the local department store. Or you could order through a gigantic catalogue delivered to your home. That was about it.

Today, discount and secondhand stores are everywhere. You can get designer labels at prices that are surprisingly low. Or you can head to the local big box and pick up just about any sports clothes for a song.

Or you can decide to shop online, where you can get anything from sports clothes for next to nothing to high-end suits and shirts for $100 or so. If you know what you are doing, you can dress like Savile Row on a pauper’s budget. [Read more →]

November 27, 2012   Comments Off

Why Myer is the One Retail Stock You Don’t Want in Your Portfolio.

Was anyone really surprised at Myer’s [ASX:MYR] recent profit downgrade?

Instead of losing $16 million in the second half of the financial year, CEO Bernie Brooks reckons the firm will lose $24 million.
As the share price tanked on this news, The Australian wrote:

‘That is an effective 13 per cent cut in forecast second-half earnings and, if it is as bad as Brookes fears, will push down earnings before interest and tax to about $225m this year, about 17 per cent below 2010 year levels.’

Importantly, the article also notes ‘Myer has not grown sales per square metre for more than a decade and in the past two years these have fallen so the latest blip is not exactly a surprise.’

Clearly, this was something shareholders forgot when they forked out $4.10 a share when Myer floated back in 2009. [Read more →]

May 27, 2012   Comments Off

Why Price Fixing Will Be the End of the Retail Industry.

According to a National Australia Bank survey, Australia’s retailers raked in $216 billion last year.

Online shopping made up just $10 billion of that amount.

And only $2.5 billion, or just 1.2%, of all retail spending by Australians went to international websites.

But importantly, overseas buying accounts for 25% of all online retail sales.

If you’re the one who opens the Visa bill at home, then you know online shopping is growing.

NAB estimates web shopping is growing at 30% a year…compared to 3% for traditional “bricks-and-mortar” retailers. [Read more →]

May 19, 2012   Comments Off

Westfield – The Aussie Retail Stock That Could Make You Money.

If you look at this chart from the Reserve Bank of Australia, you can see the the Australian retail market looks like the bony back plates of a stegosaurus… Jaggedly climbing up and then dropping down all the way along the line…

retail sales growth

The growth in the dollar value of Aussie spending has halved. And based on the decrease in the volume of sales, no matter how hard K-Mart tries to flog $5 t-shirts, we aren’t buying as much stuff as before.

Take a look at the train-wreck performance of some Aussie retailers… [Read more →]

April 26, 2012   Comments Off

Retail: The Coming Change Is Clearer.

April 20th 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

Slowly, the shape of retailing is changing around the world.

More of the world’s biggest groups are abandoning the ‘big is best’ approach in favour of smaller stores, more savvy internet offerings and a slower rate of new store openings.

Saving money is the mantra (although not directly stated), improving weakened profit lines is another under-stated intention, and trying to keep and attract customers who have started using stores as showrooms for buying products on line is perhaps the overriding ambition.

Helping drive this change are government spending cuts and austerity measures (in the UK and France and other parts of Europe), political indecision and unease (the US) and consumers who have grown cautious as the world recovers from the GFC and have decided to save rather than spend (Australia, the US, Europe and elsewhere).

In the US in particular, credit rationing is still keeping consumer spending back, but saving is taking precedence, although car sales are rising much faster than in the rest of the retailing sector. [Read more →]

April 20, 2012   Comments Off

Feature: Consumer Electricals The New Dead Zone For Retailers, Except Apple.

April 05th 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

Hoist on an Apple?

Some commentators, analysts and retailers suggest the slow retailing conditions and cautious consumers hurting the likes of Harvey Norman and JV Hi-Hi and Dick Smith are limited to Australia.

They are not; it is part of a worldwide change in this once premier growth sector.

Local commentators ignore these trends from offshore and especially what is happening in the US and European retail markets.

They also ignore the way many of these products, such as flat screen TVs, mobile phones, laptops, netbooks and the like are enduring intense price deflation, innovation changes and the impact of currency changes, such as the yen, the Aussie dollar and the South Korean won.

It is a structural change for this sector, with the added, unwanted factor called Apple, and the way its rapid growth is at the expense of competitors and many retailers.

The ills for Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi and others selling consumer electronics in this country are well known, but what is less well known is the way offshore markets are feeling the same change. [Read more →]

April 5, 2012   Comments Off

The Economy: Retailing Again Weak.

April 04th 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

No joy for retailers from the latest sales data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday which showed a rise of just 0.2% in February.

That was down from the unchanged 0.3% rise in January according to the ABS.

A better guide from the trend series (which attempts to smooth out the month to month variations of the seasonally adjusted series) shows sales growing at just 0.1% from December through February.

Coming after the weak building approvals for February, it’s clear the economy’s sluggish tone is continuing into 2012.

But it will confirm to the RBA that consumers are still being cautious, which is what the central bank wants to see as it prepares to think about rate cuts, almost certainly in May. [Read more →]

April 4, 2012   Comments Off

Retail: It’s Tough, But Not As Bad As The Under Performers Say.

March 23rd 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

With the reports in the past week from Myer, David Jones, Kathmandu and OrotonGroup we know Australian retailing had a tough six months or so at the back end of 2011 and early this year, but has it been as tough as much of the reporting and commentary suggested?

Yesterday, in the wake of the poor reports from David Jones and Kathmandu, media reports talked about the dismal state of the Australian retail sector having been laid bare by those updates.

But is that the case?

Interim results from the retail sector this half year have not been uniformly bad or terrible, nor have they been overwhelmingly positive.

But they have ended for now the sharp rebound in retail stocks (David Jones up 15% till a week ago for the year for example, Kathmandu up 9%) that out ran the broader market.

The key ASX index for retailers, the Consumer Discretionary Index was up around 10% this year to its peak last Friday, before this week’s slide.

The broader market was up around 5.7% and much of the out performance happened as retailers started their reporting in early February. [Read more →]

March 23, 2012   Comments Off

Retailing: Kathmandu Down On Big Fall, Oroton Punished For Profit Rise.

March 22nd 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

And as we have seen, David Jones wasn’t alone in delivering bad news to investors yesterday.

NZ-based clothing and outdoor goods retailer Kathmandu has reported a slide in first-half profit due to lower margins, putting pressure on its shares.

And Australian luxury products chain, OrotonGroup actually produced a modest lift in earnings, but the shares fell any way

Kathmandu posted a net profit of $NZ6.0 million ($4.68 million) for the six months to January 31, compared with $NZ10.5 million last year.

The company said sales rose 15.4% to $NZ146.7 million, but these were achieved at lower margins while costs rose.

The shares fell 24c or more than 15% to $1.25, after hitting a day’s low of $1.23 in Australia. [Read more →]

March 22, 2012   Comments Off

Retailing: David Jones Looks At Earnings, Sales Fall, Has New Online Ideas.

March 22nd 2012 - Australasian Investment Review – (AIR)

David Jones hasn’t been competitive with the emerging online retailing sector for years, and in the past six to eight months, its efforts in the analogue retailing space haven’t been too flash either.

In fact the company has looked weak and without any idea as sales fell and earnings dropped.

And drop they have, in the six months to the end of January sales were off more than 6%, earnings almost 20%.

And there’s worse to come with earnings for the full 2012 financial year likely to be as much as 40% down on those for 2011. [Read more →]

March 22, 2012   Comments Off