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Discount Factor Pulling American Consumers To Walmart, Costco, Target& America’s Dollar Stores

Although most retail stocks have fallen over the course of the last few weeks, some have managed to keep it together and come out unaffected. One statistic might explain why American dollar stores, Walmart and Target are successfully going ahead, whereas apparel chains and department stores have fallen.

Frugal customers now have increased spending powers, which is something retailers should factor in. Merrill Lynch and BOA stated that purchases by households with below $50000 income levels have grown by 6% during April when compared to last year. This is more than high-income and middle-income household spending growth rates.

Despite the China-US trade war, consumer confidence is still high due to low unemployment rates. Low-income household shoppers also went a lot to stores during the year’s start. However, instead of Nordstrom or Tiffany, they prefer Dollar Tree and Walmart.

This is the main reason discount stores are currently thriving even under unfavorable conditions elsewhere.

Outdated and enclosed shopping malls will be hit the most by this move. This will benefit Target and Walmart as competition in this sector shrinks even further.

Sears and JC Penny and other departmental stores have had to close stores in huge numbers. Forever 21, Dressbarn, Gap, A&F are all struggling currently. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Costco, Target, and Walmart’s shares have gone up over 11%, 20%, 20%, 30% and 12% respectively this year. Web Smith, the founder of 2PM, a retail platform, stated that Americans had moved to empty lands filled with stores with the highest capita globally. The period including 1950s and later decades saw an explosion in suburban malls. People were convinced that this bubble wouldn’t ever pop.

However, it is going down for this sector rather quickly. 7150 closures have so far, been announced in 2019 by US retailers, as per reports from Coresight Research. Victoria’s Secret, Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, and Dressbarn were most affected.

However, BOA stated that low-income household spending was still going forward.


Amazon’s Bezos Brings Top Brass Into Public Limelight—Report

Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon’s consumer business globally has spent 2 decades at Amazon so far. Yet investors and consumers had never seen him in public. Wilke’s interview by CNBC was the first public appearance on behalf of Amazon since his promotion in 2016. This is in line with Bezos’ attempts to introduce his core team publically.

Bezos has become identifiable with Amazon, like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Few of Amazon’s leaders are recognized outside company walls, unlike other companies, whose leaders are prominently known. Andy Jassy of AWS is now better known but most top execs are pariahs. However, Bezos is changing that. Investors have to know the execs handling their investments and Bezos is increasingly occupied by his other ambitious projects. Tom Forte of DA Davidson stated that Amazon was trying to shed its Bezos only image. He was surprised by Wilke’s interview.

Dave Limp was also interviewed by CNBC. The duo stated Amazon’s commitment to customer satisfaction in its businesses. Jeff Blackburn, Jay Carney, Dave Clark are all part of Bezos’ core team who are now making regular appearances at public events on behalf of Amazon. Forte stated that the company was preparing itself for operations after Bezos leaves.

While Bezos will lead for at least another decade, his bigger-than-life personality could cause a succession issue. However, due to its number of powerful execs and Bezos’ young age, relatively speaking, the company won’t have a big problem. Expansion is at all-time highs at Amazon. Drone delivery and voice tech, movie production, and retail have been under focus at Amazon. It is the 2nd highest valued company, behind Microsoft.

Over time, top executives are expected to turn brand ambassadors, promoting Amazon through public events and meetings. Bezos has his plate full, with Blue Origin, Washington Post and other start-up investment activities. He wants to reassure investors of Amazon’s abilities to survive without him. However, it is tough to see Amazon without Bezos at the driving wheel. When Bezos was asked if he ever got told no, he jokingly stated he did not. However, he then stated that he actively seeks out positive criticism.


Good Times Predicted For Beyond Meat; Share Price Soars By 36%

Beyond Meat’s shares saw a surge for over 36% on Friday. Analysts had increased their share price targets after the company posted a healthy Q1 profit, the first report after it went public. Valued at over $7.8 billion, the company’s shares have risen by over 400% ever since their IPO in May. The shares hit $136.81 on Friday, which was its highest ever price point.

Robert Moskow of Credit Suisse set Beyond Meat’s price target at $125. This is more than double its initial target of around $70 a share. The price target is close to the stock’s current market price. Beyond’s IPO sale had been at $25 a share. Annual revenue was expected to be more than $210 million, which is double of the last year’s total net sales. However, Moskow puts this year’s sales at over $224 million.

Interest from restaurants has increased after Beyond Meat’s IPO exceeded all expectations, providing positive publicity, he said. Only post-trial distributions were included for restaurants in forecasts of the company, as per executives who informed analysts via conference call.

Tim Hortons was currently testing breakfast sandwiches made with Beyond Breakfast Sausages, adding around $23 million in expected revenue during the current year. Goldman has increased his share price target from $97 to $120.

The CEO of Beyond Meat Ethan Brown stated that they were extremely conservative while discussing various guidance policies. Investors were informed that foodservice customers wouldn’t be included on any guidance until testing stages have been passed successfully, as per Goldman.

Adam Samuelson of Goldman Sachs increased his share price target from $67 to $76. Kevin Grundy of Jefferies increased his share price target from $85 to $105.Q1 revenue of around $40.2 million has been reported by Beyond Meat, which is about 215% more than the previous year. It has a $0.14 per share net loss on proforma basis.


Walmart To Soon Start Home-Delivery Services—Report

Walmart is all set to deliver groceries to their shoppers’ homes into kitchen refrigerators. Kansas City, Vero Beach, Missouri, and Pittsburgh will be able to access this option. Based on inputs from here, it plans to expand to other states and countries accordingly. No plans have been released so far.

Bart Stein is leading this project. The project has been undergoing testing so far and is a product of Walmart’s own tech incubator. Walmart is competing with Amazon for enabling faster delivery periods. Walmart has promised to attract 75% of Amazon customers by offering next-day delivery, while Amazon is launching features that allow delivery to garages, homes, and cars.

The online grocery shopping market is competitive and is expected to widen further. Around 37% of US consumers bought their groceries on the Internet in these 12 months, compared to 23% in 2018, which meant an increase of 35 million people. However, beverage and food sales were less than 2.2% in 2018.

Walmart has seen a 6.9% growth in online grocery sales this year. Walmart’s new system will work by customers have a smart sensor lock installed in their homes. When groceries are ordered, an employee will walk into the house and place groceries in the consumer’s fridge. Access will be granted via the lock, with consumers monitoring employee behavior.

Pricing hasn’t been announced as of now. Workers in this project will undergo thorough training and vetting procedures, which will ensure they treat customer’s house with respect. Returns can also be accepted this way, by leaving items on countertops. Marc Lore of Walmart stated that as its popularity grows via early adopters, more people would start using it like Airbnb. Walmart would do batch deliveries to reduce delivery costs. Boxes could also be eliminated this way, ensuring significant cost-savings. The company had announced a similar service in 2017. However, that failed soon. This current service would incorporate those efforts too, Lore said.


New Step-Stool Versions From Walmart Help Save $30 Million In Costs

Walmart is a massive entity. Making even the tiniest changes to its operations can help the company save lots of money. Doug McMillion, the CEO of Walmart, stated at an annual shareholder meet of Walmart, current stools in use at Walmart’s distribution centers would be swapped out for a lighter version. The meeting was held in Arkansas. The move is likely to save the company around $30 million a year, he said to shareholders.

Tractor trailers are loaded with items by workers who use stools to get this done. Items are packed to the top, said McMillion. With the goal being to maximize the number of items loaded into a trailer, this would cut costs and decrease road mileage. Since more items are loaded, this allows for lesser trips and saves valuable time.

However, the previous stools used at Walmart by workers were extremely heavy, clunky and big. People no longer wanted to carry the stool around with them, and therefore, items were not being packed to maximum capacity, since people were not using a stool. This was costing a loss of several million dollars to the retailer chain, whose sheer scale and magnitude makes even the smallest mistakes have massive consequences.

The latest version of this stepping stool is much lighter and easier to carry around. This has allowed Walmart to get better in packing trailers to maximum capacity. This would allow for saving the company over millions every year. Walmart has previously stated that it would save around $200 million by changing light bulbs installed in its parking lots & stores. It had also saved over $20 million, using different floor wax. This is in line with these adjustments. Walmart provides extremely low prices to all its customers, which is its tagline. This is only possible by minimizing costs.