119.24 +0.10 (0.08%)
After hours: 7:17PM EDT
|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|
|Earnings date||14 Nov 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||2.12 (1.78%)|
|1y target est||121.57|
(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.
British supermarket group Asda said shop floor workers have just over two weeks to sign-up to new employment contracts, first proposed in April, or face losing their jobs. Of Britain's big four grocers - market leader Tesco , Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons -Walmart owned Asda is the last to implement more flexible working contracts as it seeks productivity improvements in a brutally competitive market. Asda's new standardised contracts increase the base rate of pay for over 100,000 retail workers to 9 pounds ($11.58) per hour, plus premiums, while maintaining benefits including an annual bonus, share save scheme and staff discount.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis 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.
* Q3 retail sales growth slows to 3.1% from Q2 3.6% * Spending rising at weakest pace since Q2 2016 * Department stores report biggest fall in sales since 2009 (Adds reaction) By David Milliken and Jonathan Cable LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - British shoppers grew more cautious about their spending in the three months to September despite rising wages, official figures showed on Thursday, raising concerns about the health of the economy in the run-up to Brexit. Consumer spending has been the biggest driver of British economic growth since June 2016's referendum to leave the European Union, but there have been increasing signs that this is starting to soften. Looking at the third quarter as a whole, which strips out monthly volatility, quarterly sales growth held steady at 0.6% while the annual pace of expansion dropped to 3.1% from 3.6% in the second quarter, the weakest since the late 2018.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org;Matt Townsend in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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.
(Bloomberg) -- One of the sharper exchanges in Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate centered on the crucial public policy question of what to do about President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.During a broader back-and-forth over the power of large technology companies, Senator Kamala Harris repeatedly demanded that Senator Elizabeth Warren support her effort to pressure Twitter to kick President Donald Trump off the platform. In response, Warren steered the conversation to her commitment not to accept big checks from tech executives. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who had been lamenting the prevalence of smartphone addiction a moment earlier, jumped in to complain that Americans weren’t getting paid for their data. “Who remembers getting your data check in the mail?” he asked. The exchange illustrated a wider dynamic of the Democrats’ approach to tech. The candidates all agree that something needs to be done about America’s technology giants. They just can’t agree on what that something is.The need for a crackdown on large U.S. technology companies has become an area of bipartisan agreement, with Republicans and Democrats alike raising concerns about market power, privacy and the influence large tech companies have over political discourse. But unlike time-worn political flash points like abortion or gun control, the tech debate has yet to be boiled down to simple left-right bromides that candidates can repeat on the stump. The result was an unfocused conversation on the debate stage. Warren, who was treated as the frontrunner throughout the evening, has put out the clearest plans among the Democratic candidates. For months she’s been calling to break up Facebook Inc., Amazon Inc. and Google. “I'm not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our democracy and our economy. It's time to fight back,” she said Tuesday. Yang said he agreed with her diagnosis. “Monopolies need to be dealt with,” added Tom Steyer.But the conversation quickly shifted from antitrust to privacy to election security. And candidates weren’t just thinking about breaking up Big Tech. Senator Cory Booker called for antitrust action that focused on everything from “pharma to farms” – referencing efforts to investigate consolidation in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry. Most candidates focused their ire on Facebook and Twitter Inc. Harris’s attempt to browbeat Warren into supporting her stance on banning Trump’s Twitter account was notable for how it highlighted a parallel with Warren’s own crusade to pressure Facebook to ban misleading Trump ads on Facebook. Warren declined to comply and called out Amazon’s dominance in online shopping, saying that it held a much larger share of online sales than Walmart does of brick-and-mortar commerce. At another moment in the debate, Senator Amy Klobuchar brought up the Honest Ads Act, a bill she co-sponsored that increases disclosure requirements on who is paying for online advertisements. For his part, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke said that Facebook should be treated like a publisher, seemingly an allusion to a 1990s-era law protecting technology platforms from much legal liability for content their users post to their websites. “We would allow no publisher to do what Facebook is doing,” O’Rourke said. On the other hand, O’Rourke said that he did not see it as the role of a presidential candidate to call out particular companies that needed to be broken up. It was a subtle dig at Warren, whose explicit plan to break up the companies has clearly made her the candidate who other candidates measure their own ideas on tech against. To contact the author of this story: Eric Newcomer in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
German-owned discount supermarket Lidl GB has vowed to spend 15 billion pounds ($19 billion) with British suppliers over the next five years, commiting to increase sales of local meat, poultry and fresh produce. Lidl and rival Aldi have changed the shape of the UK grocery sector, stealing market share from industry leader Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons by offering cut-throat prices in no-frills stores. To deepen its relations with British suppliers, Lidl, part of the Schwarz retail group, said it would introduce longer-term contracts with suppliers to help them invest and expand.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s largest startup is ready to birth its own unicorn. That’d be unusual anywhere, but that it’s happening in India offers some hope for the country’s long-awaited tech renaissance. This is also great news for Walmart Inc. The U.S. retail behemoth paid $16 billion for 77% of India e-commerce company Flipkart Group in May last year. That deal included payments unit PhonePe — an early pioneer in the digital-wallet business — which Flipkart had acquired two years earlier. Now Walmart is engineering a spinoff as part of a $1 billion funding round that could value payment unit at up to $10 billion and give the retailer an 82% stake in PhonePe and Flipkart, India’s Economic Times reported. From one $20.8 billion company 18 months ago, India will get two unicorns at a combined value of up to $30 billion.(1)There are already indications that PhonePe has shed its Flipkart training wheels. From 50% of its transactions three years ago, Flipkart now accounts for just 0.5%, Indian media outlet The Ken reported, citing PhonePe’s head of strategy and planning. During Flipkart’s annual Big Billion Days sale last month, PhonePe’s logo no longer had top billing on the e-commerce website, according to The Ken. Instead it was listed as just one of the many payment options available to online shoppers. That PhonePe is preparing to fly solo is also a sign of India’s maturing digital sector. Not only is the company willing to directly tackle rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google Pay and Facebook Inc.’s forthcoming WhatsApp payments, but it’s also managing to survive in the scary wilderness beyond the gates of Flipkart. (Survive, of course, is a relative term. It’s likely still burning cash and posting losses, though at least it can keep up with well-funded adversaries, a key measure of success at this point in the game.)More broadly, the PhonePe spinoff would strengthen the case that a homegrown hero can hold its own when foreign rivals enter. Paytm, another Indian startup, is on the verge of landing a $2 billion round of funding from investors including Ant Financial, SoftBank Group Corp. and Discovery Capital Management which could give it a $16 billion valuation, Bloomberg News reported this week.Hopefully the momentum at both PhonePe and Paytm will spur more Indian entrepreneurship, feeding a rebirth in India’s tech sector not seen since the IT-outsourcing boom two decades ago. While that gave us Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd., Wipro Ltd. and dozens more, most of those businesses focused on serving foreign needs. Now, a crop of stars is emerging to meet the needs of India’s 1.3 billion people. It’s not a big step from this spinoff to an actual IPO, a development that will put India back on the global technology map.(1) This assumes no reduced valuation for Flipkart.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares of Chipotle have skyrocketed over 90% in 2019. Now with Chipotle set to release its Q3 2019 financial results on Tuesday, October 22, let's dive into some estimates and fundamentals to see if investors should consider buying CMG stock right now...
Walmart and eko, the leader in choice-driven entertainment, today unveiled the Walmart Toy Lab for the 2019 holiday season at www.walmarttoylab.com. A free, online interactive experience, the Walmart Toy Lab invites kids to test this year’s most-wanted toys from their tablet or computer. The Walmart Toy Lab brings fun to holiday shopping, combining play for kids and convenience for parents in the rush of the season.