MARKET UPDATE

01.12.21

JENSEN GUTZWILLER

Holiday Season Spending

The Saturday before Christmas is usually one of the busiest in retail, however, as with most things, there was an exception due to COVID-19.

 

Possibly due to earlier pre-holiday spending or tighter wallets, turnout in physical stores fell by 39.1% on Super Saturday (December 19) and was down nearly 40% for the entire weekend. This notable Saturday was hoped to be the beginning of the return to brick and mortar activity, but time proved otherwise. 

Mail carriers, on the other hand, could not keep up with the influx of business. If you were not a part of the last minute online ordering that had retailers promising longer than expected delivery dates, I sure was. ShipMatrix estimated that about six million extra packages a day were being added to the Postal Service because of the restrictions imposed by the large private carriers. However, Amazon did not experience the shipping difficulties that other companies did. With its own delivery service and network, Amazon was able to avoid UPS and USPS delays to be almost exempt from issues meeting the last minute demand.

  • The National Retail Federation expected holiday sales to rise 3.6% to 5.2% compared with last year, despite a slow start.

  • Post holiday numbers indicated that U.S. retail sales fell below predictions, at 2.4%.

Brexit


A “Once-in-a-generation political opportunity to reshape the U.K.”

On June 23rd, 2016, the British electorate voted 52% in favour of leaving the EU. It has taken 4 years for the departure to finally transpire. 

 

On December 30th 2020, negotiations concluded and the exit of Britain from the European Union solidified a new framework for businesses. This frees the British Parliament from constraints imposed by EU membership. Departing from the EU will provide British representatives greater flexibility and freedom, as well as allow the UK to negotiate deals with countries that are better suited for Britain’s service-focused economy.

 

What does Brexit mean for Retail?

 

Leaving the European Union can mean experiencing greater freedoms, but also greater restrictions. Financial institutions have already removed around $1.6 trillion out of the UK because of Brexit. Some of the possible implications that could impact retail and fashion are as follow:

 

  • The positive promise: A zero-tariff and zero-quota trade for luxury goods between the EU and Britain.

  • For international buyers, tax or “duty” free shopping will cease to exist, which is predicted to lead to a loss of around £1.8 billion in sales.

  • Imports from the EU could be more expensive and delivery times could be extended (due to new implications introduced by trading over EU/UK borders).  

  • The cost of labor (and thus general pricing) could increase.

  • Supply chains could face disruptions if tariffs are imposed. 

  • The Tariff and quota-free trade agreement does not apply to the financial sector. This could affect the pricing and attractiveness of publicly traded UK based companies. Brexit has also led firms to take investments and jobs out of London (a financial hub) as the UK is no longer a part of the EU market.

Gucci: 2020 Luxury Marketer of the Year
 

Gucci was accredited for its creativity and adaptability in luxury marketing throughout the pandemic. Through a strong social media presence and digital foundation along with brand collaborations, Gucci has continued to reach new customers and maintain relationships with those already tied to the brand. Collaborations with artists, actors, and film have demonstrated the brand’s versatility and allowed Gucci to not only stand out, but gain a newer and younger audience. Adaptive and creative marketing strategies from Gucci and other luxury brands can be credited in part for luxury fashion’s strong position and performance throughout the pandemic. 

How will Gucci continue to maintain this innovation in the future?

Leading Luxury


Forbes noted that consumers’ expectations from luxury brands are radically different from previous generations. The three game changers in luxury fashion are as follows: brand collaborations, the lessening of second-hand luxury stigmas, and the influence of sustainability.

 

  • In 2018, millennials accounted for 32% of the consumers in the global luxury goods market.

  • Millennials and Gen Z are expected to represent 55% of total luxury consumers by 2025.

 

 

Supreme Sale or Big Loss?


Between Christmas and NYE, Supreme was officially added to the VF Corporation portfolio. If you aren’t familiar with the previous updates, VF Corporation is an american apparel and shoe corporation owning 30 of the US’s most beloved brands. From Northface to Vans, Dickies to Timberland and Wrangler Jeans, to say the acquisition of Supreme seems slightly out of place would be an understatement. VF Corporation paid $2.1 million for the New York Streetwear Brand, but will mass production and ties to brands with far less Gen Z appeal take from the original vision James Jebbia began in 1994? Far from the single brick and mortar store on the corner of Lafayette and Prince, we are just as interested as you are to see where Supreme will go.

Fire-Away Facts
 

  • This past month, Instagram launched shoppable reels and an update that makes it just a little too easy to shop and save……..Have you found yourself participating in this new feature?

  • Prada bounced back from the pandemic by returning to profit largely driven by sales and recovery in Asia……..Does this provide optimism for other luxury brands?

  • Copenhagen fashion week (February 2-4) will be fully digital…Will you be watching?

  • Macy’s announced it will close 45 stores this year……..Was this downsizing inevitable even before the pressures of COVID-19? 

  • Tiffany & Co’s online sales surged more than 80% between Nov 1 and Dec 31. The brand is also soon to be a part of the acclaimed LVMH luxury goods conglomerate……..Why is jewelry such a hot commodity during such difficult times?

  • J.LO has launched makeup brand “JLO Beauty,” and Halsey has announced the launch of “About-Face”…….. Will these successful artists in the music industry be able to pivot into the art of beauty?

Stocks to Watch


Inditex (ITX)
SHARE PRICE: €25.75  |  MARKET CAP: €79.94B

Backstory:  In 1963, the business was born in western Spain, starting as a gown and dress distributor. Twelve years later, founder Amancio Ortega pivoted to open his first retail location,  Zara. Zara saw early success due to affordable prices and a close customer-to-designer feel. International expansion and the development of the Inditex brand to include more than Zara has allowed it to grow storefronts in over 202 markets and become the world’s largest clothing retailer.

Zara, Pull&bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, and more are included in their portfolio (traded on Bolsa de Madrid Stock Exchange).

 

Current news:  During the worst of the lockdowns in April and May, three-quarters of Inditex’s world-wide shops were forced to close, leading to a 62% drop in sales. Although Inditex’s digital sales have already grown by 75% in 2020, investors and followers alike are worried about the fate of such an established brand with the possible continuation of lockdowns abroad and in the US.

Target (TGT)
SHARE PRICE: $191.10  |  MARKET CAP: $95.7B

Backstory:   In 1962, The Dayton Company opened its first Target store, its first attempt to incorporate upscale discount retailing into its midwestern chain. Throughout the years, Target went through hundreds of adaptations, some of its most notable ones include the formation of its brand promise “Expect More. Pay Less” to reflect the unique retail experience offered at Target and the shift to online with Target.com in 1994.

 

Current news:

  • Target has announced a new partnership with Ulta to create destinations in Target stores located near the beauty section to highlight and showcase Ulta products and an Ulta experience.

  • Target has committed $1 million to supporting small businesses in its hometown of Minneapolis. 

  • The company also rolled out a contactless and at-home delivery service throughout the holiday season until 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Mytheresa (MYTE)
SHARE PRICE: TBD  |  MARKET CAP: Unknown

Backstory:   Mytheresa is a German online luxury retailer that sells clothes from 250 of the world’s largest fashion brands like Prada, Gucci, Burberry and Dolce&Gabbana. They reported net sales of €126.4 million ($154.32 million) from July to Sept 1.

 

Current news:

  • Their parent company MYT Netherlands has filed for an IPO in the US of up to $150 million. 

  • Accounting to Bloomberg reports, they may seek a valuation of $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

  • The business was purchased by Neiman Marcus in 2014.

  • Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy earlier last year and handed over a part of Mytheresa to its creditors to exit Chapter 11.

  • Rival company Farfetch brought in more than $1 billion in investments from Alibaba and Richemont.