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COVID-19 Dimmed the Magic of E-commerce

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Ecommerce Stocks Corona Virus Effect

Unsurprisingly, consumers turned to online shopping more than ever before as they faced lockdown measures imposed by the governments. The already existing trend gained an even stronger momentum. April being the first full month of COVID-19 restrictions saw a digital revenue outpacing all previous years and months as Retail Dive reported.

With overall retail sales plummeting 16% year over year due to store closures, non-store sales, mostly conducted through e-commerce, rose 28%. Their piece of the pie is growing as they captured 19% of overall retail sales, which is an increase of the previous two year average of 12% that was estimated by Wells Fargo Economics Group. ​And even as lockdown measures ease, this trend is bound to remain as shoppers remain wary.

Traffic was up 30% year over year and 15% month over month; conversion rates were up 22% year over year and 18% month over month. Social media also delivered, bringing 89% more traffic to retail sites compared to April 2019, according to that report. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is also boarding the e-commerce train as along with Instagram rolls out Shops that turn business profiles into storefronts.

But the costs of e-commerce are high as the pandemic also revealed its weak spots.

Surging sales came at a cost of profits

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the ‘winner’ of the pandemic when it comes to sales, had to pay quite a cost for this title as the entire forecasted profit will be spent on COVID-19 related costs, not to say wiped out. Its CFO recently showed uncertainty regarding when will its famous Prime shipping resume and with Amazon dramatically cutting their service level and quality, sellers are everything but pleased.

Target (NYSE:TGT) also saw its biggest digital sales jump as they skyrocketed 141% during its latest quarter but also at a cost. Moreover, profit fell not only due to supply chain and labor disruptions but because bought mostly weaker margin essentials as opposed to higher margin products as they put fashion aside.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT) didn’t run into that level of profit trouble in its first quarter, although the company acknowledged that it couldn’t avoid a hit to margins and bottom line from the period’s ballooning online sales. Other retailers such as Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) are also seeing surging online orders and curbside pickup resulting first quarter net sales increasing 7.1% to $28.3 billion but net income paying the price as it dropped 10.7% to $2.2 billion and its operating income fell 8.9% year over year to $3.3 billion. But unlike Amazon which received a lot of bad press, Home Depot took care of its workers and Walmart even took in all those from the dead restaurant and hotel industry.

E-commerce limitations revealed

E-commerce has its limitations but consumers are coming to terms with its limits such as the pain of returns. But there are also serious concerns about the environmental impact — from the excessive packaging to the need for delivery that spikes emissions and contributes to pollution. And some retailers just need physical locations to market their customers regardless of all the tech perks. Simply put, COVID-19 has taken the magic out of e-commerce.

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

News From The Vaccine World

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Less than a year before the COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was facing delisting from the Nasdaq. The 33-year-old Maryland-based pharmaceutical company didn’t have a single approved shot after hundreds of millions of dollars invested in its R&D efforts. Wall Street likes to take bets on unproven biotech such as Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), but it can be unforgiving of failure.  Fortunately, Novavax is now on the verge of getting approval in the UK, which will probably be followed by the US. Interim data have shown that its vaccine has an efficacy rate up there with the shots developed by Moderna, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), all of which are based on revolutionary mRNA technology. However, Novavax’ candidate s is cheaper and easier to transport and can be stored at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Additionally, the one-shot candidate by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) that can be kept at normal temperatures was granted an emergency use authorization during the weekend.

Merck and Johnson will join forces

Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) will manufacture the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) under an unusual deal that the Biden administration engineered to boost production of the single-shot ja which has been hampered by manufacturing delays.

The Biden administration helped to engineer the deal between the competitors after J&J, which was, experienced production hold-ups. J&J is the world’s largest healthcare company, but when it comes to vaccines, Merck has the expertise as it is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers with many approved shots.

Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) is another large vaccine maker that has fallen behind in the COVID-19 vaccine race and has agreed to help boost supplies of the J&J vaccine in Europe. Last month, it stated it would use its capacity to fill vials.

Novavax has finally stopped gasping for air

The CEO of Novavax, Stanley Erck, stated their candidate is more than 90% effective against the original strain, 86% effective against the U.K. strain and considerably less effective against the South African strain. According to forecasts, Novavax will generate more than $5 billion in revenue this year. As it is applying for approval for it flu shot, it will start studies on combining the Covid-19 and flu vaccine into a single shot later this year.

A story with a happy ending for everyone?

Novavax’s story resembles a Cinderella story as a little company that was on the verge of potentially closing has really been able to play with the big boys in the race for the Covid vaccine. The bottom line is that the US will have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, which is sooner than anticipated, thanks in part to an unusual type of collaboration we didn’t see since World War II between two of the country’s largest drugmakers.

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

Workhorse and Worksport Both Delivered Good News This Week

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EV Update

This week began with good news in the EV world. On Monday, electric truck maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) reported before market open. Its shares bounced 4.7% in midday trading Monday after the electric vehicle maker reported a surprise fourth-quarter net profit despite falling short on sales. A piece of good news were more then welcome after last week’s selloff that plunged as low as 47.5% plunge last Tuesday, after the U.S. Postal Service awarded a contract for delivery trucks exclusively to Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), while Workhorse was widely expected to win at least a part of the contract. On Tuesday morning, tonneau-cover manufacturer Worksport (OTC: WKSP) announced it is expanding its capacity to meet increased demand. Worksport announced this morning that it received over US$2.3 Million to date from Exercised Warrants from the recent oversubscribed Regulation A offering.

Workhorse Q4 results

The company reported its net income rose to $280.5 million from $655,000 a year ago, thanks largely to income derived from its investment in Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE), an electric pickup startup founded by Workhorse’s former chief executive. The FactSet expected a net loss of $15.1 million. Revenues increased from $3,000 to $652,000, due to a higher volume of produced and delivered trucks, but still came short of FactSet consensus of $1.2 million. According to its Chief Executive, the company is entering the new year in its strongest-ever position, both financially and operationally. With over $200 million of cash on its balance sheet and over 8,000 vehicles in its backlog, it can reliably continue building its multi-year growth plan.

The EV maker is not taking a recent high-profile defeat lying down

The company also revealed it will meet with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) management on Wednesday to discuss the latter’s recent awarding of a 10-year contract that would place Workhorse among top EV manufacturers. With at least 50,000 trucks to be manufactured within a decade, this will be the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades. While the USPS is one of the more financially strapped government entities, cy it’s considered to be an extremely reliable business partner. Following the USPS’s awarding of the contract to Oshkosh, Workhorse issued a press release in which it clearly stated it intends to explore all avenues that are available to non-awarded finalists in a government bidding process. Its odds of getting a second shot could depend on whether President Biden is able to force out the postmaster general who was installed last year by board members appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Worksport is expanding due to increased demand

Innovative pickup truck tonneau cover manufacturer Worksport partnered with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its revolutionary TerraVis solar system for their upcoming electric pickup trucks is expanding further. The company announced on Tuesday morning it is in the final phase of a strategic manufacturing expansion discussions with a few Tier-1 and Tier-2 OEM manufacturing power houses in Canada. The company aims to expand its manufacturing into North American state-of-the-art facilities with 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of operating space to meet its recent U.S.-based Private Label customer growth.  Considering the company was awarded its first trademark in China, this is only the beginning of Worksport’s growth story, not to mention the company is also expanding outside the pickup truck market to the consumer market by extending its solar fusion line with mobile TerraVis COR™ system that can be used independently and recharged via solar or A/C power. These discussions involve logistics to ensure scalability in the manufacturing processes. The expansion will give the company control over capital expenses, greatly reducing risks of overextending its financials during periods of intense demand while building its major Automotive, Freight & Transport, Marine, and Rail ecosystems. With its CEO Steven Rossi at the helm, Workhorse is going all in to exceed customer expectations in terms of quality, innovation, convenience and last but not least, affordability.

Outlook

Workhorse aims to increase production to three trucks a day by the end of this month and reach a daily output of 10 trucks by the end of June. Worksport is aiming to become a Tier 1 OEM manufacturer of solar-powered tonneau covers for electric makers and by the looks of it, it’s well on track, especially as it successfully closed its $4 million Regulation A offering at the beginning February well ahead of the scheduled closing due in November 2021. Demand that is fueling Worksport to rapid growth is key, which is why Workhorse isn’t willing to take USPS’ no for answer.

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

Target Hits The Bull’s Eye With Yet Another Quarter

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Some of its biggest peers such as Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M) and Best Buy Co.Inc (NYSE: BBY) came out with improving fourth quarter sales and profit outlook as a tiny bit of normalcy begins to return to consumer spending, but now it’s Target’s (NYSE: TGT) turn in the spotlight. Earnings topped estimates as sales rose 21%, boosted by a surge of post-holiday shoppers that cashed in stimulus checks during an unusually strong period for the industry as a government report revealed sales increased 5.3% in January. As of Monday’s close, Target shares have risen nearly 81% over the past year, bringing the company’s market value to $93.19 billion.

Q4

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended on January 30th, revenue rose 21% to $28.34 billion from $23.4 billion last year, higher than analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. Comparable sales, a key metric that tracks sales at stores open at least 13 months and online, went up 20.5% compared to the prior year as digital comparable sales rose by 118% YoY. After strong holiday sales, online sales gained even more momentum as Americans cashed in their $600 stimulus checks in January. As impressive as they are, both metrics show deceleration in terms of growth rates versus the third quarter. In mid-January, Target reported that sales grew 17% during the holidays, which is a slight slowdown from the third quarter’s 21% spike, but it is still a lot better compared to the 9% that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) experienced.

Profit margin was 26.80% and the operating margin amounted to 6.50%. Net income rose 66% to $1.38 billion, or $2.73 per share, increasing from last year quarter’s $834 million or $1.63 per share. Excluding items, Target earned $2.67 per share, exceeding Refinitiv’s average expectation of $2.54.

New customers and more purchases

Target has attracted new customers and inspired more purchases with its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise, from cereal to workout pants, as competitors like Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS) were forced to temporarily close stores due to the pandemic. Citing internal and third-party research, Target estimates it gained about $9 billion in market share during the fiscal year. Customers shopped more frequently with Target and bought more when they did during the holiday quarter thanks to its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise.

A variety of approaches to shopping

By offering different multiple channels, Target is strengthening customer loyalty. Same-day services saw sales grow by 212% and curbside pickup service sales grew by more than 500% during the quarter. On average, customers who shop in both in stores and online spend nearly four times more than those who shop only in stores and nearly ten times more than those who only shops online.

Fiscal 2020

2020 sales grew by more than $15 billion which is greater than Target’s combined sales growth of the last 11 years. Comparable sales grew 19.3%, reflecting 7.2% growth in store comparable sales, and 145% growth in digital comparable sales.

Target’s 2020 stock price rally is largely owed to improved margins. While the competitive holiday season usually pressures this figure, this wasn’t so much of an issue this year as shoppers happily paid the full price for more convenient and faster fulfillment options, including premium merchandise.

Another quarter in which Target hit the bull’s eye is in the books ended a record year which is not a pandemic-related blip but the payoff of its long-term business strategy. Record growth in 2020 was a result of many years of investment to build a durable, scalable and sustainable business model that enabled the big box retailer to capitalize on the opportunity that was provided by the pandemic.

Outlook

Target remains extra cautious in the face of continued uncertainty as the pandemic has made it too difficult to predict consumer patterns. No sales or EPS guidance for fiscal 2021 were provided. Although shoppers are still cautious, Target is also seeing hopeful consumers who are looking forward to a post-pandemic life, expecting to see shoppers browsing aisles and returning to buying items such as apparel for work or going out as well as new luggage. To find a way to hold on to customer’s wallets after vaccines kick in, the big box retailer plans to invest about $4 billion per year over the next several years to open new stores, upgrade existing ones and enhance its ability to quickly fulfill online orders.

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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