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BenzingaEditorial

Is Luxury Immune to COVID-19

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Estee Lauder news

Luxury houses are facing a big dilemma. Should they discount goods to improve their top lines or defend their brand’s hefty price tags for the sake of long-term sustainability? Luxury companies have seen dramatic drops in revenue as international travel was put to a halt and the pandemic placed half of the world in quarantine. Even the Parisian conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (OTC: LVMUY) who reported its earnings recently saw its net profit plummet by 84 percent to $613 million, despite increasing online sales and the resilience of its major brands. Chanel, who is just behind this world’s biggest player, expects COVID’s negative impact to persevere over the next 18 to 24 months.

Falling from grace

Michael Kors founded Capri Holdings (NYSE: CPRI) seemed invincible after its the 2017 acquisition of shoemaker Jimmy Choo. Yet its revenues tumbled 66.5 percent in the first fiscal quarter of 2021.

Even the luxury car icon Ferrari N.V. (NYSE: RACE), who can woo car lovers with big pockets and lure them away from fuel efficiency or even self-driving technology, had a rough first half of the year.  Shipments were particularly low in the second quarter as they dropped 50%. Moreover, early adopters couldn’t get the electrified supercar from Maranello that was supposed to be delivered in the first half of this year due to supply chain disruptions. But Ferrari remains optimistic that it will get back on track by the end of the year as well as unveil two new models.

PVH Corp. (NYSE:PVH), the parent of upscale apparel designers including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, as well as the holder licensing agreements with many powerhouses like DKNY, revealed in June its first quarter revenue dropped as much as 43%, with even worse expectations for the second quarter and overall year.

While it’s too early to quantify COVID-19’s total financial toll as we are far from leaving this chapter behind us, the pandemic has shaken the core aspects of the industry. Moreover, some of these changes could be in for the long-haul.

Factory and store closures

Even before the pandemic struck, many luxury-goods wholesalers were already struggling due to the growth of e-commerce. Then store and plant closures happened only to make matters worse. Moreover, the companies that produce and sell their high-end products ‘in-house’ have an extra hard time at cutting costs.

International travel was put to a halt

Possibly the worst threat upon the sector is that travel will not resume to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. Considering that about 30 percent of industry revenues are generated by consumers making luxury purchases outside their home countries, this is a major problem. Chinese consumers represent the sector’s biggest growth potential. In general, luxury shopping is an integral part of the travel experience for Asian consumers as it adds authenticity and excitement to their experience. Therefore, brands need a new approach to attract these shoppers which entails they need to engage with them on a deeper level by using digital channels. For example, Italian eyewear giant and global leader Luxottica Group,  who has some of the most powerful and most expensive brands such as Ray Ban and Oakley as well as designs under license for Armani, Burberry and Chanel, has partnered with China Duty Free Group to reveal an exclusive eyewear range from Prada to deepen its engagement with Chinese consumers. As of October, its models will be available both in their stores and e-commerce platforms.

Fashion shows without audience

Fashion weeks are essential for brands to maintain their relationship with both their customers and trade partners. With restrictions on travel and large gatherings, brands are exploring alternative ways such as streaming as they attempt to deliver the same kind of magic that these events offer.

Consumers- a significant shift

Experiential luxury that includes high-end resorts, cruises, and restaurants has been one of the most dynamic and fast-growing components of the luxury sector. But Millennials are not fans of such perks, diamonds included. Just look at Tiffany& Co (NYSE: TIF) which has been trying very hard over the last years to redefine its brand in attempt to appeal to new generations that prefer Instagram experiences. If you add the fact that baby boomers could have already accumulated their luxurious possessions, the trend for luxurious items is in for a slowdown even without the pandemic. But the good side of such experiences is that the emotion they produce cannot be created in any other way besides getting people together. Therefore, the positive momentum of experiential luxury cannot entirely vanish.

A new definition of luxury

Perhaps the biggest threat to the industry is the simplicity that became the new ‘bling’ during the lockdown. Even the legendary ‘lipstick index’ met its match as masks became our new daily wear. For example, the beauty industry is shifting to a natural, cleaner and ‘antiseptic’ self-care. Moreover, skincare is one of the rare segments that made a breakthrough during the pandemic.

Outlook

The sector as a whole has showed over the years that it is more than capable of reinvention. But its brands will be classified based on three fundamentals. First, the health of their balance sheets prior to the crisis. Second, the resilience of their business model which includes their digital capacity, the agility of their supply chain and their dependence on wholesale channels. And last but definitely not least, their response to COVID-19 that only emphasized the fragility of their seasonal model.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

Big Tech Is Going Green

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Emerging Companies

The rapid adoption of digital care solutions during the pandemic is here to stay beyond this unprecedented year. Business leaders are looking beyond 2020 to use technology advancements to become better prepared for the next existential treat. As a result, tech firms are going beyond their usual aspirations as they attempt to go beyond existing practices and limitations.

The last decade has seen an exponential rise in the use of technology smart homes and energy efficiency yet this was not mirrored in healthcare. It took for COVID-19 to illustrate why this has to change as tech saved the day be enabling telehealth, telecare and telemedicine.

Technology connects people, empowers people to manage their own health and wellbeing, work better and live better by integrating our systems. Big Tech was served as our lifeboat during the lockdown. Can it save the planet is an entirely different question, but it is investing considerable effort to make it better.

Last week, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) named the first recipients of capital from a $2 billion venture fund called The Climate Pledge Fund which debuted in June. The goal is to develop climate friendly technologies across all industries so along with Amazon, they can together achieve “net zero” carbon emissions by 2040. This is one decade sooner than Paris Agreement’s deadline. More precisely, Amazon plans to power its facilities and operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030 as well as electrify its fleet with 100,000 electric delivery vans it ordered from Rivian.

Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced last week that it intends to run all of its data centers and corporate campuses around the world on 100% carbon-free power by 2030.

On September 15, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) pledged to slash greenhouse gases and purchase enough renewable energy and offsets to cancel out carbon dioxide emissions from its global operations this year.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced in July that it intended to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030.

Back in January, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 2050. This pledge includes all directly emitted carbon as well as indirect through electrical consumption. For this purpose, Microsoft is partnering with no other than BP p.l.c. (NYSE: BP) who will supply renewable energy for the tech giant as the oil giant evolves away from oil.

But, during the pandemic, there were many smaller players that played just as important roles in helping companies operate throughout the storm.

One such company is Datadog, Inc. (NASDAQ: DDOG). The monitoring cloud-based platform announced it is integrating with ServiceNow Service Graph Connector Program. Their customers will be provided an opportunity to better manage the health of their digital infrastructure and offered services. Moreover, it will equip them to better understand their overall business context.

Corporations going beyond the usual

There certainly isn’t a lack of commitments we are seeing from large corporations. The pandemic has redefined corporate imaging efforts as action needed to be taken and as soon as possible. Of course, it is also up to the government to support the digital infrastructure for technology to can truly enhance the way the world operates.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

EVs in Two Years – An Entirely Different Landscape

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EV Update

For years, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) was the only one on in the EV space. Its Battery Day will be held today and expectations are high as Tesla its developments are expected to ease competition threats. Five years ago, EV buyers in the U.S. had only three electric options: Tesla’s Model X and S, along with Nissan’s (OTC:NSANY) Leaf.

Today, there are 13 battery-electric vehicle models available in the U.S., and 25 plug-in hybrid models. The figure is even greater if we include model variations. Moreover, dozens of new models will soon have their debut. The EV space will look entirely different two years from now as disruptive start-ups take the stage and established automakers join forces to adapt to the new era.

Pickups

At least five companies have announced plans to manufacture electric pickup trucks by 2021, namely Tesla, Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA), Atlis, Hercules and Rivian. With so many EVs coming to market, there will be many new brands and more importantly, new technologies.

Solar and electric- best of both worlds

After recently revealing a partnership with an US based EV manufacturer, Worksport (OTC: WKSP) announced this morning it has entered into a strategic partnership with another EV contender, Atlis Motor Vehicles. The aggressively priced Atlis XT truck will integrate Worksport’s revolutionary solar-powered system TerraVis that the established truck tonneau cover producer recently revealed.

Established automakers

Ford (NYSE:F) could easily score with its upcoming battery-electric Mustang Mach E crossover SUV. Not to mention its upcoming electricied version of F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the US. General Motors (NYSE: GM) has joined forces with Nikola in a $2 billion partnership.

Although Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE: FCAU) is behind its peers in the EV race, it has now been granted €800 million of financing by The European Investment Bank for manufacturing battery electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids. With its upcoming 50/50 merger with PSA Groupe with which will create a new company called Stellantis, it set to become the world’s fourth-largest automaker.

Moreover, these automakers operate under franchise laws that were originally put in place to prevent manufacturers from opening stores that competed with dealers.

Rivian, that has been backed by both Ford and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), is facing a ban as Michigan auto dealers are trying to block startup electric carmakers from copying Tesla in selling and servicing consumers directly. The bill introduced in the Michigan legislature last week would block any manufacturer other than Tesla from selling cars without a dealer as an intermediary as well as from owning and operating service and repair facilities.

The 11-year-old company has raised about $6 billion for its production of R1T pickup and R1S SUV but Some of the up-and-coming EV pickup makers, have never manufactured a vehicle before. Design flaws, manufacturing challenges, or technological failures could wreck their finances and reputations before their vehicles even get off the ground.

The electric vehicle landscape is changing rapidly. There could be spectacular success but also spectacular failures. These new developments could level up the entire industry to unforeseen highs. Moreover, these advancements could be to the benefit or detriment of Tesla. Its Battery Day should reveal how strong is its tech-savvy fortress. One thing is certain, we’re entering a new era of competition in the EV space.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

This Week’s Earnings Repertoire

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Stock Market

Last week, the S&P 500 index fell 1.6% in the week’s run while NASDAQ and Dow Jones Industrial Average were dragged by the continued weakness in Big Tech. With indications slow economic recovery filled with uncertainties, the Federal Reserve also announced it will not raise interest rates for another three to four years. But despite a light earnings calendar, Adobe Inc (NASDAQ: ADBE) and FedEx Corporation (NYSE: FDX) made our whole week with their blockbuster results that blew estimates. This week, there will be more events on our earnings calendar to keep an eye on.

September 22

Sportswear giant Nike (NYSE: NKE) has some big questions to answer as it is expected to show progress toward returning to growth. But it will be operating in a much more price-sensitive environment this holiday season. Fortunately, the sportswear giant’s supply chain is among the most efficient ones in the industry and it does focus on consumers who are willing to pay a premium.

Canadian pot producer Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB) was a favorite among pot investors because of its bold expansion strategy. But that was before it lost steam in 2019 as its shares fell 56% last year, whereas the overall industry declined 36% due to headwinds. Management’s rash decisions such as acquisitions contributed to the effect of external headwinds, but marijuana sales have been increasing during this unprecedented year. The company has been seeing revenue growth during 2020, but not enough to turn a profit. Therefore, cost reduction efforts and growth strategy will be at the center of the conversation.

Stitch Fix Inc (NASDAQ: SFIX) seemed to have lost the pandemic- induced retail boom as its last earnings report included slumping profitability and weak user growth. Investors are waiting to see if the company managed to return to an offensive growth position.

AutoZone (NYSE: AZO) has had stellar performance over the past few years as the company has continued to grow without harming its financial position. But home office trend that reduces commuting is an existential threat to automotive parts.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will have its shareholder meeting and beyond hyped Battery Day. To put it simply, what Tesla comes out with can greatly ease the threat of its uprising competitors.

September 23

Jinko Solar Holdings (NYSE: JKS) is a key player in the booming Chinese solar market which gives the company tremendous long-term upside.

The once-dominant smartphone maker BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB) is back with a new phone scheduled for 2021. Its earnings report is expected to show solid grounds on which it can deliver this comeback, but for some BB never left. It has to deliver as its competitors continue to shine with impressive results.

September 24

Drugstore chain Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) will release its second quarter results for the quarter that ended on August 29. With its last report, the drugstore retailer delivered an earnings beat of 92.6%. Growth was achieved by keeping stores open and enhancing the digital infrastructure so its stock could  be poised for an earnings beat.

Wall Street expected Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) to deliver strong results as the warehouse retailer benefited from sharp sales growth that has been boosted by online sales.

Takeaway

That’s all folks. If anything, there will be more things happening, but we simply have to get adjusted to the fact that uncertainty is our new normal for the time being. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Tesla and whether it will succeed in delivering yet another revolutionary discovery on its beyond anticipated Battery Day.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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