|Bid||119.10 x 1200|
|Ask||119.30 x 800|
|Day's Range||119.13 - 120.60|
|52 Week Range||85.78 - 120.71|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.65|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||26.94|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.12 (1.78%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
National Vision Holdings has been the fastest-growing U.S. optical chain for a decade, with just about every broker calling the stock a Buy. Shares have fallen by half over the past year, however, and bearish investors are taking aim.
Walmart Inc. is in talks with Duke Energy's N.C. utilities to secure renewable energy from independent power producers through Duke's controversial Green Source Advantage program.
The Walmart (NYSE:WMT) stock price has risen 28% so far in 2019, reaching a new all-time high. But the rally of Walmart stock doesn't yet seem justified by the performance of its business.Source: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com Indeed, Walmart's growth this fiscal year, even after it raised its guidance a few months ago, hardly looks impressive. The company expects its annual earnings per share, excluding certain items, to be little changed versus last year's EPS.Losses from India's Flipkart, in which Walmart acquired a majority stake last year, are hurting its bottom line. Excluding those losses, the company's post-Q2 outlook suggests "mid-to high single-digit percentage"growth of its EPS for the full year.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsStill, Walmart stock is trading at about 24 times that EPS guidance. That's the stock's highest earnings multiple in at least a decade. And it can be argued that 24 times earnings for 8% or so growth is too expensive. * 7 Reasons to Buy Canopy Growth Stock In fact, I've expressed some skepticism towards the current valuation of Walmart stock. And I still don't feel compelled to buy WMT stock. But the case for buying Walmart stock at $120 is stronger than its headline earnings multiples might suggest. Still, buying WMT stock at its current levels requires trust not only in the company, but in the American economy. WMT Has Become a Better CompanyThe bullish view of WMT stock is that Walmart simply is a much better company than it's been in years. Its grocery business has been re-energized, and clearly has taken market share from the likes of Kroger (NYSE:KR) and Albertsons. Kroger is guiding for same-sales growth excluding fuel this year of 2%-2.25%. Based on Walmart's outlook.its U.S. business should come in closer to 3% growth,Meanwhile, Walmart has moved heavily into e-commerce, both through acquisitions and by expanding its own online business. Walmart's Marketplace is becoming a serious rival to Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).And WMT seems to have finally cracked the code of the online grocery business, which had been a graveyard for capital going back to the failures of Webvan and Peapod in the beginning of the last decade.It's probably an exaggeration to call Walmart's efforts a turnaround. But it's easy to forget that Walmart's sales stagnated in the first half of this decade and so did the WMT stock price. The stock was dead money for about four years between 2013 and 2017. It's now risen 40% in the last two years, thanks to an accelerating top line and increasing confidence in its ability to grow its earnings going forward. The Story Sounds FamiliarWhat's interesting about Walmart stock at the moment is that its journey sounds similar to that of other U.S. large-cap consumer companies. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) traded sideways from about 2012 through the end of 2015.Its future seemed at risk amidst the growth of "fast casual" competition and a focus on healthy eating. But CEO Steve Easterbrook, hired in early 2015, rolled out "all day breakfast", refranchised owned restaurants, and MCD stock doubled.Last year, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) stock was unchanged versus early 2013. The external pressures on it seemed intense, as private-label products sold at the likes of Walmart and Kroger were hurting PG's results. Neither an aggressive cost-cutting plan nor a move to sell off smaller brands had worked. But P&G finally managed to accelerate its revenue growth to 5%, excluding acquisitions, in fiscal 2019. PG stock, too has soared. It gained a whopping 75% from its 2018 lows before its recent pullback.What we've seen is that if a U.S. large-cap company can convince the market that it is well-positioned, its stock is going to climb. And it's likely to move farther, and often faster, than fundamental analysis might suggest. The WMT Stock Price Is Partially Built on TrustIf that trend holds for Walmart stock, it can rise well above its current level. But that's a big "if" for two reasons.First, in terms of the other large-cap stocks, the obvious worry is that their valuations have gone too far. Like WMT stock, PG, for example, trades at 24 times its earnings, and it's modestly growing. The valuation of many "safe" stocks, including WMT stock, look potentially stretched.Second, Walmart's strategy has to pay off. The long-running worry about WMT stock has been that its e-commerce and omnichannel growth will be good for sales - but won't necessarily boost its profits.The ability of Target (NYSE:TGT) to deliver bottom-line growth after spending billions on its omnichannel business likely eases that fear. Still, an investor buying WMT stock at $120 has to believe that its e-commerce growth will add to its earnings and not just its top line. The Case for Walmart StockThat said, an investor reasonably could see both risks as overdone. As far as valuation goes, it's clear that long-term interest rate expectations have come down. If Walmart can grow its earnings even 6% per year, while the ten-year U.S. government bonds yield less than 2%, investors are going to pay for that growth. 24 times EPS for a company that's growing at 8% sounds high to those of us who have invested for decades. But it may no longer be high.As far as the concerns about its omnichannel business go, the rebuttal is simple: it's working. Walmart is a legitimate rival to Amazon. The latter company is valued at almost $900 billion, and perhaps close to $500 billion excluding its Amazon Web Services business. In that context, is the $337 billion market capitalization of Walmart stock too high? An investor could quite easily argue that it's too low.Still, an investor needs to have a lot of trust in WMT stock to buy its at its highs. She needs to trust the company's strategy and the market. If that trust is justified, there's a path for WMT to follow MCD, PG, and other stocks higher.As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Reasons to Buy Canopy Growth Stock * 7 Restaurant Stocks to Leave on Your Plate * 4 Turnaround Plays to Buy Now The post At the Highs, Walmart Stock Comes Down to Trust appeared first on InvestorPlace.
A landmark trial over the U.S. opioid epidemic is on track to begin on Monday after drug companies and local governments failed to agree on a settlement on Friday that had been expected to be valued at around $50 billion. Top executives of the largest U.S. drug distributors and drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd left a Cleveland courthouse on Friday and lawyers for states and thousands of local governments said there was no agreement. Paul Hanly, a lawyer for local governments that brought the bulk of the thousands of lawsuits stemming from the addiction crisis, said his team "fully expect" a trial to begin Monday.
Full disclosure: I've been an outspoken bear on shares of struggling home merchandise retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) for the better part of the past two years. See here, here and here. During that stretch, BBBY stock plummeted from above $40 to below $10.Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com More recently, however, I took off the bear hat, and sounded a bullish tone on Bed Bath & Beyond stock in early October 2019. The reason for the flip? The stock had fallen very far, very fast. And given the company's reasonable opportunity to stabilize sales and profits over the next few years, BBBY was just too cheap for its own good.Month-to-date, BBBY stock is up more than 20%. From their 52 week lows reached in August, shares are up more than 70% -- meaning that over the course of the past two months, BBBY stock has gone from big-time loser, to big-time winner.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsWill the winning persist? Or will shares get back to their losing streak soon?At this point, it's tough to say. Bed Bath & Beyond stock does have an opportunity to surge towards $20 in a hurry. At the same time, the stock could drop back to $10. The latter looks more likely than the former, at present, so I think this is a rally to sell. But, I also understand the bull thesis here, and wouldn't want to be stuck short the stock in the not-that-unlikely event that the bull thesis does materialize. Bed Bath & Beyond Stock Could Surge to $20The good news for bulls: Bed Bath and Beyond stock has a somewhat realistic pathway to a $20 price tag.Over the past several years, BBBY's sales, margins and profits have been eroded by intensifying competition and the lack of an appropriate response from management to that competition. Specifically, management didn't build out a great digital business, didn't develop robust multi-channel capabilities and didn't hone in on maximizing the uniqueness of the product assortment. Ultimately, they failed to convince consumers that they should go to Bed Bath & Beyond as opposed to Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or Target (NYSE:TGT).That management team is gone. Now, there's a new sheriff in town. His name? Mark Tritton. His significance? He was the chief merchandising officer at Target, where he is credited as one of the key brains behind Target's enormously successful multi-channel retail transformation over the past few years.Quick history lesson. A few years back, Target was getting its butt kicked by Walmart and Amazon on multi-channel commerce. Tritton and company were tasked with ending this butt-kicking. They did that. Target has since gone from struggling retailer to retailer firing on all cylinders.Bulls are betting Tritton can lead a similar transformation at Bed Bath & Beyond. He has less resources than he had at Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond is in a far worse starting position. But, he could pull off some semblance of turnaround through an enhanced multi-channel strategy, which could lead to slight revenue growth and margin stabilization.If so, Bed Bath & Beyond could be on track to earn $3 in earnings per share by fiscal year 2025. Based on a historical 11-times forward earnings multiple and a 10% annual discount rate, that equates to a FY19 price target for BBBY stock of just over $20. It Could Also Fall Back Below $10The bad news for bulls: Bed Bath & Beyond stock is more likely to fall back below $10, than to rally to $20.What Tritton did at Target should not be underplayed. The multi-channel transformation that happened over there was impressive and should be a blueprint for retail success. But Bed Bath & Beyond is not Target, and there are certain secular challenges here which may prevent BBBY stock from staging a huge turnaround.Of note, Target has way more cash and cash flow to invest into developing multi-channel capabilities. Less cash and cash flow at Bed Bath & Beyond means less money pumped into multi-channel development, which means less robust multi-channel capabilities, which means lower consumer convenience. Ultimately, then, even if Bed Bath & Beyond does enhance its multi-channel game, that multi-channel game will still lag what Amazon, Walmart and Target offer.In that world, customers will continue to flow out of BBBY stores and into others. Sales will remain challenged. Margins will remain under pressure. Profits won't move higher.If profits don't move higher, BBBY stock won't move higher, either. Bottom Line on BBBY StockBulls have reason to be optimistic on BBBY stock following its huge rally off the lows over the past two months. But, such optimism may be misplaced, because Bed Bath & Beyond is still staring at secular challenges which don't project to go away anytime soon.The investment implication? I wouldn't chase the rally. I wouldn't short the stock, either. Let new management show what they can do, and then re-assess after the numbers arrive.As of this writing, Luke Lango was long AMZN. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Reasons to Buy Canopy Growth Stock * 7 Restaurant Stocks to Leave on Your Plate * 4 Turnaround Plays to Buy Now The post Could Bed Bath & Beyond Stock Power Toward $20? Maybe. appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Walmart Inc. disclosed Friday that it will record a $2.2 billion charge to earnings, after the retail behemoth's U.K. subsidiary Asda Group Ltd. announced a plan to secure the benefits of members of Asda's pension. Walmart and Asda said the plan secures a £3.8 billion ($4.9 billion) "buy-in" in anticipation of a full "buy-out" of the pension scheme, and will be enabled by a one-off final pension contribution by Asda of about £800 million ($1 billion). After the buy-in, pension members will be provided individual annuity policies issued by Rothesay Life, which will be responsible for paying benefits in full. Walmart's stock, which rose 0.4% in morning trading, has rallied 29.2% year to date, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 15.5%.
(Bloomberg) -- Walmart Inc. plans to offload the cost of a retirement plan for employees of its British subsidiary Asda, incurring a pretax charge to earnings of about $2.2 billion.Under terms of the deal, Rothesay Life Plc will take over managing pension liabilities for about 12,000 members going forward. The transaction will simplify “the business at a cost which is significantly below the expected future cost of funding internally,” the companies said in a statement.Offloading the pension costs at Asda could be a step in preparation for a sale or an initial public offering. The charge will be incurred at the completion of the buyout in late 2020 or early 2021.For Walmart, having a large employee retirement plan sitting on its balance sheet is a problem if it plans to divest the unit, according to James Biggs, a partner at Employee Benefits Collective LLP, a U.K. pension consulting firm.“Rothesay takes responsibility for paying benefits to employees. In essence, it shifts the liability,” Biggs said. “Letting these liabilities rumble on into the future brings risk and potential cost creep, and can be a millstone around the neck of an employer.”Buyer CertaintyAntony Barker, a managing director at the Pension Superfund, a consolidator of British pension plans, said that transferring the pensions will tidy up the company’s balance sheet and give any buyer certainty.“Anyone looking to acquire them knows they are not buying a black hole,” Barker said.Large pension liabilities have weighed on other British retailers, most notably department-store chain BHS. In 2017, retail magnate Philip Green agreed to pay as much as $450 million to compensate 19,000 former BHS workers after months of haggling with the country’s Pensions Regulator. BHS had a massive pension deficit when it failed in 2016, a year after Green sold the chain for a pound to a former race-car driver with no retail experience.Judith McKenna, Walmart’s international CEO and a former Asda executive, said in May that Walmart is “seriously considering” an eventual IPO for Asda. A month earlier, U.K. antitrust regulators blocked J Sainsbury Plc’s bid to buy Asda, saying it would bring higher prices and less choice to shoppers. British supermarket chains have been whipsawed by economic concerns related to Brexit and pressure from German discounters Aldi and Lidl, which continue to grab market share.Walmart shares were little changed, up 0.3% to $120.17 at 10:14 a.m. in New York on Friday. The stock had gained 29% this year through Thursday’s close, outpacing the S&P 500 Index.(Adds context and comment from pension consultants beginning in fourth paragraph)\--With assistance from Benjamin Robertson.To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at email@example.com;Anne Riley Moffat in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at email@example.com, Jonathan Roeder, Lisa WolfsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Walmart's Asda has agreed a 3.8 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) 'buy in' with Rothesay Life to secure the benefits for 12,300 members of one of its pension schemes, in a deal that simplifies its balance sheet ahead of a possible standalone listing. Walmart CFO Richard Mayfield said the company was delighted to be able to secure the pensions of its members with a leading, well financed insurer such as Rothesay Life. "This transaction is good news for members of the scheme, simplifies the Asda balance sheet and will transfer our pension liabilities at a competitive price," he said.
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) remains in an expensive technology arms race against McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). It's also in an expensive creativity race with Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR).Source: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com Consumers, however, are reading a different story. They're reading that Yum! unit Taco Bell recalled 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef over possible contamination. It reminded some of a decade-old battle over whether there was much meat in the tacos at all.People are chuckling over that debate with their lattes this morning. For investors, that story is a classic nothingburger. But if it reminds you of how Yum! has scored a 21% gain so far in 2019, it's going to be tasty.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips The Tech RaceThis week Yum! spirited away Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Chief Information Officer Clay Johnson, naming him chief digital and chief technology officer.Johnson was recently named CIO of the Year by CIO Dive. He has a reputation for "a maniacal focus on cost" and being "a good coach for his team." At Yum! he will be working alongside Chief Strategy Officer Gavin Felder. Felder had been chief financial officer for the KFC unit. The duo's charge is to integrate technology across all operations and automate the restaurants. * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy It's going to be an uphill climb. Starbucks began the automation trend early in this decade. McDonald's got a shout-out during the recent Democratic debate for getting rid of cashiers.McDonald's has also been increasing its presence in Silicon Valley. It bought Dynamic Yield to automate its drive-thru menus based on weather, traffic and time of day. It is buying Apprente for its voice ordering technology. The company has also bought a piece of Plexure, a mobile app vendor. The Yum! Brands Menu RaceThen there's the menu race. This went into overdrive when Restaurant Brands' Popeyes unit pushed out a chicken sandwich to match that of privately held Chick-fil-A. Restaurant Brands also brought Impossible Foods' burgers to its Burger King units.Yum! has responded with a successful test of faux chicken at a Georgia KFC unit, alongside Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND).The strategy is to move alongside other brands, as in 2012's Doritos Locos Taco at Taco Bell -- Doritos is part of PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP). Now Pizza Hut is rolling out a "Cheez-It" pizza, a calzone made with the Kellogg's (NYSE:K) snack cracker. Via KFC, Yum! Brands is also launching a "Doughnut Sandwich," a riff on chicken and waffles.This creativity extends to grocery stores, where Taco Bell will soon sell chips made with cheddar cheese. The idea of making cheese into chips has been around a while. (Try making them with mounds of good ground Parmesan, on a silicone mat, in the oven for 6 minutes at 400 degrees). Taco Bell already sells a variety of chips in convenience stores. The new crackers will be a follow-on to its toasted cheddar chalupa, with cheese baked into the taco shell. Buy YUM Stock LaterWith its current gains YUM is selling at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 26.3. The 42 cent per share dividend yields just 1.5%. That's expensive. The one-year price target for analysts is just $120 per share, $8 higher than its Oct. 17 opening price.Adding technology and rolling out new menu items is going to cost money, which is why some analysts think the shares should be avoided. But both tech and menu creativity get a big reward from customers, who have tired of the same old thing. Improving fast food's technology is especially valuable because it locks customers into the brand while lowering overall costs.If you're in your 30s and can wait for a return, then YUM stock should be on your radar, at least as a means of diversification. Put it on your list, wait for your opening and buy a few days after everyone screams "sell."Dana Blankenhorn is a financial and technology journalist. He is the author of the historical mystery romance The Reluctant Detective Travels in Time available now at the Amazon Kindle store. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @danablankenhorn. As of this writing he owned shares in QSR. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy * 7 Bank Stocks to Avoid Now at All Costs * The 10 Best Mutual Funds for Your 401k The post The Fast Food Arms Race Makes Yum! Brands Stock Look Extra Tasty appeared first on InvestorPlace.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Fury is the prevailing feeling of 2019. People are angry much of the time about so many things. Sometimes, though, I wonder whether the anger is misdirected.Often, the targets are companies. There’s pressure on retailers like Walmart Inc. to restrict gun sales. There’s anger at Facebook Inc. for running a misleading political ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign. Some people are furious at oil companies for not doing more to slow climate change, and at Uber Technologies Inc. for taking advantage of drivers or worsening traffic-clogged cities.I get it. Actions of powerful companies or their failures to act can have a profound impact. They are legitimate targets for popular pressure, and companies can’t simply sell potentially harmful products or run their businesses in destructive ways and ignore the consequences.But this rage is not only about those individual companies. It’s also redirected fury about inaction by policy makers.People are mad about government inaction on gun violence, but policy makers are paralyzed and anger gets channeled at Walmart. People are mad about nonsensical political speech rules, failures to make laws on personal data privacy or corporate tax avoidance, but few Americans believe Congress or regulators will do anything. Instead, people are left to vent at companies.Have we gotten to the point where U.S. elected officials are so impotent that the only recourse is to hope profit-minded companies do the right thing — and then get angry when we believe they don’t? There are policies that companies can improve on their own, including employee pay and sexual harassment prevention. There is also a need for clarity from elected officials — either on their own or in concert with big companies. Rules about political ads are one such example. I don’t want politicians to be able to mislead voters on Facebook, but the company is not solely responsible for the half-truth political attack ads that run on its services. Laws and tough regulation are a better approach than always relying on the wisdom of individual internet companies or television networks to make the tough calls.Gun policy, corporate tax avoidance, labor laws and protecting elections from cyberattacks are also matters policy makers are best placed to tackle. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Matt Levine wrote about the oddity of members of Congress being angry at failures by the Federal Trade Commission to restrict Facebook’s data collection practices when Congress could impose those restrictions by passing a law.I don’t want policy paralysis to absolve companies of responsibility for doing bad things or preventing harm. And companies are not innocent here, either. They fight against laws and regulation, which effectively gives themselves more responsibility — and they sometimes use government inaction to justify their own.Facebook for years fought to exclude itself from rules that mandate disclosures of who is behind political ads on other media such as broadcast television. And Amazon.com Inc.’s history includes advocating for a national sales tax law — which it knew was unlikely to happen — while it employed aggressive tactics to avoid charging sales tax in many U.S. states. (Amazon gave up fighting state sales taxes around 2012.) Facebook, Google and Amazon are now advocating for federal laws that sometimes feel like self-serving attempts to muzzle state or local rules they don’t like or to pass the buck on controversial company policies. When California recently did act to pass a law that could force Uber and other companies to treat contract workers as employees, Uber vowed to fight it and made a technical legal argument that a law tailor-made for Uber doesn’t apply to the company. Those tactics aside, it is hard to thread the needle between saying companies like Facebook and Amazon are way too powerful and also relying solely on them to always make hard policy decisions. That’s why we have elections and a government.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Retailers will surely be looking for green shoots of consumer spending in hopes for improved business activities during the festive period.
KidHQ was created by New York-based internet video technology company Eko and features child actors touting various toys from Mattel and Walmart.
Best Buy Co. Inc. is loosening up its in-store dress codes, letting staff wear blue or black jeans instead of slacks and widening the range of allowable shoes.
Don' t let doom-and-gloom retail news cause you might miss out on a big S&P; 500 opportunity — in retail of all places.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. just released its annual holiday toy guide, telling customers the Lego Disney castle, VTech’s Magical unicorn and more than 1,700 other items were “thoughtfully curated to help shoppers quickly tackle even the lengthiest holiday shopping lists.”What Amazon doesn’t mention are the millions of dollars it charges the toy industry just to be considered for a spot on the popular gift guide.Amazon sells Holiday Toy List sponsorships for as much as $2 million, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The more sponsors pay, the more products they can nominate to be on the list and the more prominently their own products will be featured on the popular website. Amazon aimed to sell at least $20 million in sponsorships for this year’s list, the documents show. Amazon also published a summer toy list with lower sponsorship prices.It’s perfectly legal for Amazon to sell advertising on its site. It becomes a problem when the world’s largest online retailer tells shoppers recommendations are curated by experts but doesn’t disclose the money it gets from the toy industry, said Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Because consumers place more value on recommendations from independent sources, he said, companies prefer to keep their financial involvement hidden.“They don’t write ‘paid ad’ on it because it completely changes how consumers perceive the information,” Weissman said. “If the list is entirely or in part paid advertising, people have a right to know.”Amazon likened the payments it received to the money brands pay stores to be included in advertising circulars or to get prominent shelf space. In an emailed statement, the company said: “Every product on our annual Holiday Toy List, which features family gift ideas from new releases to customer favorites, is independently curated by a team of in-house experts based on a high bar for quality, design, innovation and play experience. We source product ideas from many places, including our selling partners who have an opportunity to nominate their best toys for the season and increase visibility of those toys.”Gift lists are a time-tested way for toy manufacturers to stand out in the critical holiday rush when busy parents are desperate for ideas. Toymakers are eager to appear on these lists because the companies generate about half their annual sales during the holiday season.Walmart Inc. charges toymakers $10,000 monthly per product to appear on its “Buyer’s Picks” toy list in November and December, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The company produces other lists, including “Top Rated by Kids,” which uses feedback from children who test and rate more than 100 toys in July. Walmart and its toy suppliers partner to determine which 100 toys will be tested. Spokeswoman Leigh Stidham said suppliers and brands cannot pay to be included on the latter list, but didn’t comment on “Buyer’s Picks.”Parents looking for independent recommendations can turn to toy lists produced by third-party reviewers such as Toy Insider and Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM). But in an era when customer reviews can be gamed and social-media influencers push products without always disclosing that they’re getting paid, consumers sometimes struggle to distinguish between objective online recommendations and paid promotions.The law is murky about precisely what should be disclosed and when. The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces deceptive advertising laws, issues general guidelines. A full-page magazine photo of a thirsty runner guzzling from a glistening bottle of Fiji water is so obviously an advertisement it doesn’t have to be disclosed. If the same water brand pays the magazine to publish what appears to be a news story about the health benefits of its product, it must be clearly labeled an advertisement so consumers aren’t confused.While federal regulators are taking a closer look at advertising these days, they can’t possibly monitor all the promotional activity out there. So the FTC occasionally cracks down to send a message, as it did in 2017 with letters to more than 90 influencers and marketers reminding them about the need to disclose paid promotions in social media. The spotty enforcement presents a big gray area for the toy industry.The lists are a powerful negotiating tool for retailers, according to industry insiders familiar with the process. Toymakers are led to understand that if they buy marketing space on the lists they will get bigger orders, the people said. Sometimes manufacturers get better visibility if they agree to sell a product exclusively through the retailer, they said. Retailers include only toys on the list that they are actually selling.Lists are a fast-growing part of Amazon’s advertising business. Amazon holiday gift guides promoting toys, electronics and home goods combined to generate more than $120 million in revenue in 2017, up about 40% from the previous year, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg.What sets Amazon apart from other retailers is how much it charges for space on its toy page over the holidays. A narrow strip across the top of the web page costs $500,000 per month in November and December, up from $150,000 the rest of the year, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. A billboard ad atop the toys page runs $300,000 per month, up from $75,000 the rest of the year.Similar spots atop Walmart’s toy page cost $180,000 in November and $132,000 in December. According to Comscore, Amazon generates about twice as much web traffic as Walmart, which could explain the discrepancy in pricing.Public Citizen, the watchdog group, in July lodged a complaint with the FTC about Amazon’s annual summer sale Prime Day, alleging the retailer didn’t do enough to help shoppers differentiate between paid promotions and genuine recommendations. The FTC confirmed receiving the complaint. The annual toy list presents similar concerns, Weissman said.“When Amazon presents a top 100 toy list,” he said, “it’s a mistake to assume that shoppers understand this is just paid billboard space versus a list Amazon curated itself.”To contact the reporters on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at email@example.com;Matt Townsend in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at email@example.com, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is understood to support backing an amendment to a new vote on a withdrawal agreement that UK PM Johnson hopes to put before parliament on Saturday. - Britain and other developed economies are sitting on a corporate debt timebomb that could trigger another global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
Amazon stock is down 11% in the last three months heading into its Q3 earnings release on Thursday, October 24. So let's see what to expect from the e-commerce giant, including AWS, Prime, and advertising...
As U.S. President Donald Trump hammers out a partial trade deal with China, Washington is moving forward on another front: India.
Ordinarily, you'd imagine that a trade war with the world's second-biggest economy would be net negative for the retail industry. But for big-box retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT), 2019 has been one of the best years so far. Since January's opening price, Target stock finds itself up over 71%, while WMT has gained a respectable 29%.Source: Robert Gregory Griffeth / Shutterstock.com That said, not all big-box retailers have found the current environment favorable. A notable example is Big Lots (NYSE:BIG), which appears to have finally found a bottom. However, it took a loss of nearly 20% before investors apparently saw some contrarian value in its shares. So, what makes TGT stock stand out in what should be a broader headwind in retail?Primarily, I believe that Target owns a moat in the big-box space. Like sector king Walmart, TGT offers discounts to shoppers thanks to its vast scale. It's also a one-stop shop for various needs, including groceries, health and wellness products, clothing, and electronics. Unlike Walmart, though, Target caters to a more affluent customer. Therefore, Target stock levers an economic cushion similar to Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST).InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsFurthermore, because Target owns a moat, it's able to dictate favorable terms with its suppliers. While other retail companies desperately explore ways to minimize customer impact from the U.S.-China trade war, Target imposes its solution: bluntly, management tells its suppliers to foot the bill. * 10 Hot Stocks Staging Huge Reversals While that might sound like a net negative for TGT stock due to a combative relationship, Target has been doing this for years without recourse, as the charts demonstrate.But before you think Target stock is unstoppable, you might want to consider the retailer's inventory overflow situation. Target Stock Vulnerable to Operational RiskEarlier this month, Business Insider broke a disturbing story about Target's in-store operational efficiency, or lack thereof. Recently, management quietly cut overnight and backroom shift hours in stores across the nation. Apparently, this was done to increase floor support for customers.However, this move had an unintended consequence. With fewer workers - which Target refers to as "team members" - manning the backroom, the inventory overflow has become untenable. In some cases, heaps of products are stacked on top of each other, making the backroom a fire hazard. Also, guest photographs reveal that excess inventory sometimes spills out into the salesroom floor.Here's the dirty little secret: even in the best of times, Target's backrooms - where I once worked during my college years - were shoddy. In order to get thing done on time, many workers cut corners on safety protocols.Ordinarily, such a situation shouldn't impact TGT stock. After all, I'm fairly certain that all big-box retailers experience these inefficiencies to varying degrees. However, I've never seen anything like what Business Insider recently reported.The magnitude of this problem is such that I believe it can negatively impact Target stock if left unchecked. While most folks consider backroom duty as a lowly job, it's an important one for Target. Without hardworking and competent backroom team members, a store will constantly encounter inaccurate inventory counts. Eventually, that leads to very angry guests, who may take their dollars elsewhere.Plus, let's talk about the obvious: these are large-scale worker's comp cases ready to drop Target stock at a moment's notice. During my Target tenure, I witnessed team member injuries occur in clean backrooms. What we're seeing here is beyond the pale. The Root of the Problem Remains UnresolvedTo be fair, Target responded immediately to the backroom overflow problem. However, responding to a situation doesn't necessarily equate to forwarding an effective solution. Instead, the root cause - cutting overnight and backroom hours - remains unresolved.Indeed, Target's response - sending safety inspectors and demanding changes - may exacerbate the inventory overflow. That's because the team members responsible for the clean up are probably overworked as it is. With headquarters raising wages but cutting hours, the company is forcing out many well-trained employees.And with the craziness that the remaining team members are tasked to resolve, the attrition rate will surely spike. Thus, an effort to cut overhead will negatively affect operational efficiencies and accuracy.Let's also note that the busy holiday shopping season is only a month away. If Target doesn't get their act together quickly, TGT stock is at risk for completely dumb and avoidable reasons.As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Hot Stocks Staging Huge Reversals * 7 Under-The-Radar Growth Stocks That Could Benefit New Investors * 5 Excellent High-Yield Dividend Stocks to Buy The post The Really Dumb Reason Why Target Stock Is at Risk appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Retail sales dropped for the first time in seven months in September. Unexpectedly falling 0.3% last month. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had estimated a 0.3% increase. Charcy Evers, Retail Trends analyst joins Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita to discuss.