FINANCE

Tuesday Morning says goodnight to e-commerce

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas — Tuesday Morning Corp. is ceasing e-commerce operations to focus on providing in-store assortments. A statement on the retailer’s website says that due to the nature of its closeout business, it will no longer sell items online but instead focus on the quality and price of assortments in its stores.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the retailer quietly ceased e-commerce operations last month. Tuesday Morning told the Journal that online sales only represent 1% of total sales and are not a high priority in a bigger effort to turn around the company’s performance. The retailer operates about 850 physical stores.

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Insights

Walmart’s Q2 Results

BY CSA STAFF

By Stephen Springham, senior retail analyst Planet Retail

After the horror show of Q1, Walmart had so much to prove domestically in Q2. And it has again come up short. A U.S. comp store decline of 0.3% was below earlier management of a 0.2% decline, guidance that was endorsed as recently as the Annual Shareholder Meeting in June. This marks the second quarter that U.S. comps have been both in negative territory and below guidance. Those accusing Walmart of ‘crying wolf’ in its bullishness (ourselves included) may feel vindicated.

“Although ostensibly an improvement on Q1 (when U.S. comps were down 1.4%), Q2 was arguably a weaker performance. Although the U.S. consumer remains challenged, the factors that derailed performance so horribly in Q1 (delays in tax refunds, poor weather and lower inflation in food) have all receded and the operating backdrop in Q2 was far more benign. One telling factor is that the company seems to have woefully underestimated the effect of income tax increases that came into force at the end of 2012, and continue to weigh heavily on Walmart’s core customer demographic.

‘Headline’ growth of 2.9% (or +4.4% at constant currency rates) at the International division also paints a flattering picture of what lies beneath. The top-line growth figure masks a very mixed performance, but trading remains almost universally tough. Mexico, the U.K. and Canada have been previously highlighted as the three key drivers of international profitability, but all three markets are challenged. Trading has been soft in Mexico, the U.K. remains a mature and highly competitive environment, while the arrival of Target in Canada has intensified pressure on a business already struggling to achieve comp growth. There were some positives in Q2, e.g. continued comp growth in China on the back of a prudent location planning strategy. But by and large, the International division failed to provide much comfort.

Predictably, e-commerce was flagged as a bright spot, with year-on-year growth sustained at around the 30% mark. With a more coherent e-commerce strategy taking shape, investments in businesses such as Yihaodian in China are looking increasingly shrewd.


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REAL ESTATE

General Growth names fearless fashionista blogger

BY Michael Fickes

Los Angeles — Self-proclaimed beauty and fashion junky, Jennifer Geisman, creator of Beautygrl.com, has begun writing a new fashion and lifestyle blog, “Fearless Fashionista,” for four Southern California retail centers, owned and managed by General Growth Properties.

The centers include Galleria at Tyler, Glendale Galleria, Northridge Fashion Center and Otay Ranch Town Center. The blog is available at each center’s website.

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