Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bright Spots in a Challenging Furniture Retail Landscape

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Department Stores' Sales Decline Continues as E-tailers Diversify

Chuck Grom holds responsibilities as managing director with Gordon Haskett Research Advisors in New York and provides knowledgeable analysis of consumer-facing sectors. Among the companies that Chuck Grom covers are traditional department stores such as Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom.

A recent Denver Post article pointed to broad demographic shifts in the way in which consumers purchase clothes, with social media more influential than store displays within a mall setting. Eating at stores’ core margins is an increasing number of niche online retailers that are able to leverage low overheads to emphasize discounts and a wider array of styles. 

Deloitte analysts estimate that curated brands such as Bonobos and Stitch Fix, as well as discounters such as thredUP, have taken approximately $200 billion in revenues from the market’s leading 25 retailers over the past five years. The 3 percent overall increase in US clothing sales to $218.7 billion in 2016 masked a 4 percent decline in sales among national department stores and mall-based chains. Increased sales among brick-and-mortar retailers were led by off-price stores such as Ross and T.J. Maxx, which achieved 5 percent growth. 

With Internet e-tailers quick to come and go, one emerging trend involves companies such as Bonobos, Warby Parker, and Blue Nile setting up showrooms and positioning themselves as hybrid retailing forces.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Walmart Partners with Google to Deliver Voice-Activated Shopping

The recipient of a bachelor's degree in economics and accounting from Holy Cross College, Chuck Grom is an experienced stock analyst who serves as a managing director with New York's Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. In that capacity, Chuck Grom watches a variety of department store stocks, including Walmart’s.

Despite being the world's largest retailer, Walmart's online shopping platform is pale in comparison to Amazon. However, in an effort to compete with the e-commerce company, Walmart has partnered with Google to expand its voice-activated shopping services. Walmart will make hundreds of thousands of its items available for ordering on Google Express, all of which can be purchased through Google Assistant via a smart speaker or smartphone. 

Beginning in October, United States residents who own a Google Home smart speaker can simply speak into the device to order from an extensive list of Walmart products and have them delivered quickly and free of charge to their home. The smart shopping system will integrate previous purchases made through Walmart retail locations and on, meaning Google Home owners will receive personalized shopping recommendations. Amazon has the advantage of being the first to market the notion of virtual assistants to help with online purchases, but the Walmart and Google partnership could help change the landscape of the e-commerce sector.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Costco Shares Drastically Decline over Three-Month Period

The recipient of a bachelor's in economics from College of the Holy Cross, Chuck Grom is an experienced stock analyst who has appeared numerous times on CNBC and been quoted by hundreds of news outlets. Since February 2017, Chuck Grom has served as managing director of Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, where he covers a variety of broadline and department store stocks, including Costco.

Despite scoring an A in VGM (Value, Growth, Momentum) from Zacks Equity Research, Costco's stock has been plummeting steadily for three months. The wholesale giant is still one of the most dominant in the industry based on its range of products and quality of merchandise, but Costco Wholesale Corporation shares dropped over 14 percent from June to the end of August. In contrast, the retail discount store industry declined just 5.9 percent on average. 

Shares began to be affected when it was announced that Amazon had purchased Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in a deal that totaled a reported $13.7 billion. Shares of Costco plunged nearly 7.2 percent that day and took another drastic dip in August. However, Zacks is not concerned with the stock's long-term potential, as Costco has continued to expand its presence with at least 20 new outlets in each of the past three years, accompanied by consistent increases in average transaction size and store traffic through the 2017 fiscal year.