All posts by admin46x

“Almost Cataclysmic”: Barclays Reveals Which Restaurants Are Most Exposed To Collapsing Malls

We’ve spent a lot of time this year discussing the complete collapse of mall-based retailers, a collapse which has resulted in more store closures in Q1 2017 than all of 2016 and will likely claim more victims by the end of this year than any year since the great recession nearly a decade ago.  Here are a couple of recent examples:

But those mall-based apparel companies aren’t the only ones suffering the dire consequences of collapsing mall traffic.  For years, the casual dining space has become more and more saturated with new concepts resulting in thinner and thinner margins for the restaurant industry.  Now, with foot traffic in malls collapsing these same restaurants are about to experience the brutal realization that declining traffic, massive fixed costs, rising minimum wages and razor thin margins aren’t a great combo. 

Thankfully, Barclays’ restaurant team, led by Jeffrey Bernstein, has identified which publicly-traded restaurants are about to get screwed the most.  Here’s a summary:

Of the large publicly-traded casual dining chains, Cheesecake Factory ‘wins’ the ‘most screwed’ award with 93% of their locations heavily dependent on mall traffic.

 

Meanwhile, proving they went full mall-tard (something you should never do, btw), CAKE’s second largest casual dining concept, Grand Lux, is also over 90% dependent on mall traffic. 

 

Here are more details from Barclays:

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) operates 90%+ of their stores in a location we define as mall dependent. To be fair, CAKE is often viewed as a destination, with its own separate entrance, and therefore less mall-dependent. And most are in ‘A’ malls which house high-end retailers that draw a more affluent consumer. But the consumer shift to on-line shopping is less about affluence, and more about a change in behavior.

 

BJ’s Restaurants (BJRI) & Olive Garden (DRI) are the only other portfolio leading casual diners with an outsized percentage of stores mall dependent, at ~60% & ~50%, resp. With that said, we are Underweight BJRI & Overweight DRI. Importantly, this analysis is just one component of a mosaic when formulating our ratings. BJRI is expanding from regional to national, and competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, both of which pose challenges. Olive Garden is already a strong national brand, and the only one competing within the Italian segment, while offering a strong value platform.

 

As for the remaining casual diners, all operate 25-40% of their stores mall dependent. These include the three steak chains, Outback (BLMN), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) and LongHorn (DRI), all at 30-40%. We are Overweight all three. Steak concepts are more special occasion, and therefore less mall-reliant, with resilience demonstrated by a positive comp for all in 1H17. Otherwise, Buffalo Wild (BWLD) is also Overweight. While comps have eased and wing prices are elevated, the brand is introducing a new c-suite, has three new activist board members, & potential for large refranchising / cost cutting. Lastly, Chili’s (EAT) also competes within a very competitive varied menu segment, and is viewed as over-stored, and is now looking to redefine a ‘very clear identity’.

Finally, here is a list of states that should probably start preparing for higher restaurant layoffs in the near future…yes, we’re looking at you and your $15 minimum wage California.

‘Inconvenient’ Fact: Morgan Stanley Says Electric Cars Create More CO2 Than They Save

For all the funds out there looking to fill their portfolio with “environmentally conscious” companies working diligently to avert an inevitable global warming catastrophe that will result in the extinction of the human race, we guess in lieu of their actual fiduciary duties to simply make money for their investors, Morgan Stanley has compiled a list of how you can get the most ‘environmental healing’ per dollar invested. 

As MarketWatch points out, it’s not terribly surprising that of the 39 publicly-traded stocks analyzed, the solar and wind generation companies landed at the very top of Morgan Stanley’s environmentally friendly the list

Morgan Stanley identified 39 stocks that generate at least half their revenue “from the provision of solutions to climate change,” something it said was a central component of investing to make a difference, as opposed to just a making a buck.

 

“In our view, impact investing needs to begin with companies whose products and services have a notable positive environmental or social impact,” wrote Jessica Alsford, an equity strategist at the investment bank.

 

Not surprisingly, alternative-energy companies ranked the highest in terms of their positive impact, and the “top five climate-change impact stocks” were all manufacturers of solar and wind energy: Canadian Solar, China High Speed Transmission, GCL-Poly, Daqo New Energy, and Jinko Solar.

Tesla

 

What is surprising, however, is that publicly traded electric car manufacturers, darlings of the environmentally-conscious Left, were actually found to generate more CO2 than they save.  As a stark reminder to our left-leaning political elites who created these companies with massive taxpayer funded subsidies, Morgan Stanley points out that while Teslas don’t burn gasoline they do have to be charged using electricity generated by coal and other fossil fuels.

This is where Tesla, along with China’s Guoxuan High-Tech fall short.

 

“Whilst the electric vehicles and lithium batteries manufactured by these two companies do indeed help to reduce direct CO2 emissions from vehicles, electricity is needed to power them,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “And with their primary markets still largely weighted towards fossil-fuel power (72% in the U.S. and 75% in China) the CO2 emissions from this electricity generation are still material.”

 

In other words, “the carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”

 

Morgan Stanley calculated that an investment of $1 million in Canadian Solar results in nearly 15,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide being saved every year. For Tesla, such an investment adds nearly one-third of a metric ton of CO2.

Ironically, as we recently pointed out, Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits (a nicer way of saying taxpayer funded corporate welfare) is pretty much the only ‘product’ that Tesla seems to make money selling and is the only reason they managed to ‘beat’ earnings in Q2.

I’m referring to zero-emission vehicle, or ZEV, credits. California and several other states require that a certain proportion of the vehicles sold by an automaker emit no greenhouse gases. These cars earn the automaker credits, and if they don’t have enough to meet their quota, they can buy extra ones from someone who does. As Tesla only makes vehicles that run on batteries and emit nothing, it usually has a surplus for sale.

 

The profit margin on these is very high, perhaps 95 percent. The implied $95 million of profit equates to about 58 cents a share. Tesla reported a loss of $1.33 per share this week — beating the consensus forecast by 55 cents.

 

This isn’t the only time ZEV credits have played a big role for Tesla. Looking back to early 2013, selling credits has given Tesla’s earnings extra oomph in many quarters, likely taking them above consensus forecasts in some (on an implied basis, assuming that 95 percent margin):

 

Of course, Q2 wasn’t the first time that ZEV credits played a huge role in padding Tesla’s cash flow…

 

Ponder that for a moment…as taxpayers we’re actually subsidizing a product (and an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire) that is bad for the environment…

Retired Green Beret Warns “A Domestic Destabilization Is Underway”

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

Under the guise of “political correctness,” cities (such as Baltimore, MD) are removing their Confederate monuments one-by-one and under cover of darkness.

Here, as reported by CBS News:

“The Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument at Wyman Park Dell was removed with a crowd watching.  The Robert B. Taney monument in Mt. Vernon also came down.  Crews are on the site of the confederate Women’s monument at University Parkway to take that one down.  This comes just days after the Baltimore City Council passed a resolution Monday calling for the immediate deconstruction of these monuments.”

There it is!  Straight out of the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, as with the character he played, Benjamin Martin: “An elected legislature can trample a man’s rights as easily as a king.”

Where’s the vote by the people in the city?  Oh, just that the elected officials, mind you, can make such a decision…by their vote, a tyranny in itself.  At the bare minimum, it should have been put to a vote.

The important thing to keep in mind is that most of these cities, city councils, and their state legislatures are being run by a pack of liberals.  The “paradigm shift” is in full mode: “Democracy in America” did not mention the tyranny of the minority In this case, a minority viewpoint, fueled by Marxists and liberals is attempting to subvert First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution and begin a policy of redaction to support their revisionist history.

We are right around the corner from a Civil War. 

The Left is fueling and funding tensions in order to exacerbate them and cause a revolution.  In the middle of this, the President is being blamed and threatened with impeachment.  The root of it is this: the attempt to destabilize the country and cause anarchy.  Black Americans are being used as the vehicle for the destabilization…a vehicle by the oligarchs, such as Soros.  Now with Charlottesville being trumpeted up and down the country, Obama weighs in “with the most popular Tweet ever.”

I wrote that Barack Hussein Obama II would be back: he will be a most useful catalyst for what is to come.  It was also reported that Hillary Clinton is weighing in on attacking the President, but not with words: with dollars.  Fellowship of the Minds ran a piece that cites the Washington Times.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Joe Schoffstall reports for The Washington Free Beacon, August 14, 2017, that Hillary has donated $800,000 from her campaign funds to Onward Together — a new political action group that she formed three months ago in May which will fund a number of established “resistance” groups that counter President Trump with direct action and protests.

 

According to its mission statement, Onward Together is dedicated to “encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office” and advancing “progressive values and work to build a brighter future for generations to come.”

 

Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that on May 1, 2017, Hillary’s presidential campaign committee Hillary for America contributed $800,000 to Onward Together. In addition, Hillary also funded other “resistance” groups that have “impressed” her, including Swing Left, Run for Something, Emerge America, and Indivisible.”

Once again, her money and power is wielded to “influence” the way things are.  She is not acting alone, nor of her own initiative.  Read Shadow Party to find the guy pulling her strings.  (Hint: his real name is Georgy Schwarz!)

By removing the Confederate memorials and markers, a part of American history is effectively being relegated to oblivion.  It is all part of redaction and revision.  The Marxists and Globalists have been relentless in their quest to rewrite American history and demonize whites in general…trying to create a cowed, demure, subservient class of guilt-ridden subjects…to destroy the United States from within.  To destroy the “warrior mentality” of the citizen-soldier of America’s citizenry…that is the objective.  A complete orchiotomy and neutering: nothing less.

Unless the United States falls, the New World Order/Global Governance cannot exist.  This is the goal: enmesh it in a war (initiated by a foreign nation and/or orchestrated by the U.S.), and destroy it domestically from within “Top down, bottom up,” to quote Van Jones, is their objective.  Their playbook is Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” and the battle lines are being drawn more decisively by the day.  There will come a time when everyone will have to pick a side, and after it begins, the United States may look a lot different than it does now.

“The Entire Dynamic Has Changed” Far-Right Groups Becoming Increasingly Visible On Campus

The “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia last week was only the beginning…

As far-right groups find fertile ground for recruiting on campus, campuses are bracing for a flood of speaking events and demonstrations organized by white nationalist groups, according to the Associated Press, as many schools have determined that they can’t, or at least shouldn’t, expel members of hate groups on campus. Leaders of these groups say they will no longer limit their efforts to social media or to flyers posted around campus, but intend to hold public demonstrations to bring the movement “into the sun.”

“It seems like what might have been a little in the shadows has come into full sun, and now it’s out there and exposed for everyone to see,” said Sue Riseling, a former police chief at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is executive director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

As the AP reports, the young men who participated in Saturday’s rally marched through the Univeristy of Virginia’s campus holding torches and chanting racist slogans. Then the next morning some of them suited up with helmets and shields and clashed with counter-protesters, until 20-year-old James Alex Fields drove his car into a group of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 26. The shift toward white nationalist and other far-right groups operating more openly began last year, when racist flyers popped up on college campuses at an unprecedented rate, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group counted 161 white supremacist “flyering incidents” on 110 college campuses between September and June.

Nicholas Fuentes

These incidents will likely only become more common as leaders of pro-white groups say it’s a cheap and easy way to gin up media coverage.

“Matthew Heimbach, the 26-year-old leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, admits that dropping leaflets on campuses is a cheap way to generate media coverage.

 

As a student at Towson University in Maryland, Heimbach made headlines for forming a “White Student Union” and scrawling messages like “white pride” in chalk on campus sidewalks. His college years are behind him, but Heimbach still views colleges as promising venues to expand his group’s ranks. College students are running four of his group’s chapters, he said.

 

“The entire dynamic has changed,” Heimbach said. ‘I used to be the youngest person at white nationalist meetings by 20 or 30 years.’”

Many colleges are learning first hand that while they can condemn the violence during last weekend’s rally, expelling students because of their membership in a pro-white group would be something of a violation.  

Scores of schools publicly denounced the violence in Virginia this week, including some that learned they enroll students who attended the “Unite the Right” rally.

 

The University of Nevada, Reno, said it stands against bigotry and racism but concluded there’s “no constitutional or legal reason” to expel Peter Cvjetanovic, a 20-year-old student and school employee who attended the rally, as an online petition demanded.

 

Other schools, including Washington State University, condemned the rally but didn’t specifically address their students who attended it.

Campus leaders say they walk a fine line when trying to combat messages from hate groups. Many strive to protect speech even if it’s offensive but also recognize hate speech can make students feel unsafe. Some schools have sought to counter extremist messages with town halls and events promoting diversity. Others try to avoid drawing attention to hate speech.

And some schools are simply refusing to dwell on the issue when hate groups spread leaflets around campus, arguing that’s what the extremists want them to do.

“After flyers promoting white supremacy were posted at Purdue University last school year, Purdue President Mitch Daniels refused to dwell on the incident.

 

“This is a transparent effort to bait people into overreacting, thereby giving a small fringe group attention it does not deserve, and that we decline to do,” Daniels said in a statement at the time.”

Nicholas Fuentes, a student who attended the “Unite the Right” rally, said he’d like to transfer to the University of Auburn from Boston University because he believes it will be more tolerant of his right-wing beliefs. “I’m ready to return to my base, return to my roots, to rally the troops and see what I can do down there,” Fuentes said in an interview this week.”

*  *  *

Universities can continue to ban events by conservative speakers who they fear might incite violence, but the message is clear: conservative students will be protected from expulsion at most college campuses, but when it comes to the wrath of their Antifa-loving peers, well, that’s a different question entirely.

Why Gun Sales Have Declined Under Trump

Authored by Gun News Daily’s Sam Becotta via Free Market Shooter blog,

Many of us welcomed Trump to the Presidency with a sense of pride. However, there is one group for whom the new (ish) president has brought some bad news – gun store owners, and gun manufacturers.

This is because gun sales have seen a significant drop since the election of Trump. But don’t worry – this does not indicate waning enthusiasm for people to own guns. Quite the opposite. It appears that demand has dropped because people feel that their rights to own guns will be protected under the new administration.

The extent to which this is true remains to be seen. While Trump seemed to be pro-gun during the election campaign, and though his campaign eventually won the backing of the NRA, it is not clear that there is a concrete policy position on gun rights. Like a lot of issues raised by the new administration, Trump’s stance on gun rights is frustratingly vague and lacking in details.

Of course, doing nothing to further erode our Second Amendment rights would be a welcome change from the Obama regime. The constant attempt to ban and / or limit ownership of assault-style weapons, though ultimately defeated, was a source of worry for people don’t want their rights to be further limited, or who rely on these guns for their livelihood.

gun_control_explained

Sales of these weapons peaked, therefore, during the Obama presidency, and specifically during those periods where the president was talking about banning them. There is, of course, a deep irony in this – that a president who was perhaps more anti-gun than any other in our recent history managed to create a huge demand for guns.

Now the Republicans are back, it seems that people are taking it more slowly when it comes to buying weapons. Instead of rushing to purchase a gun before it is banned, people now seem to be taking their time, secure in the knowledge that they have at least 5 years to get the gun that they want.

And so while the drop in gun sales seems like a bad thing on the surface, it is actually a sign of a gun enthusiast community in excellent health.

That is not to say that the recent drop in demand is good news for everyone. Gun store owners tend to be some of the most politically and economically savvy of all small business owners, and so before the election they looked at the prediction of who would win. With almost every major commentator predicting a Clinton presidency, these businesses stocked up, expecting the increased demand for guns to continue.

Many of these businesses now have a glut of product, and are finding it difficult to sell it. With many local gun stores having closed in recent years, this is worrying news, because ongoing low demand could lead to the closure of more of these businesses. On the other hand, of course, there has never been a better time to buy an assault-style weapon. With a huge oversupply, AR-15s and the like can be picked up for next to nothing.

The decreased demand is also bad news for investors. Share prices in gun manufacturing companies have seen a significant drop over the past year, with those in the industry predicting that decreased demand will continue for some time.

There has also been another worrying development. Gun sales are undoubtedly down on a national level, but at the same time some groups are buying more weapons than ever before. Groups and organizations who cater to LGBT and black gun owners have actually seen a spike in interest over the past year, and it seems that more liberals than ever are looking into gun ownership.

The reason for this trend is also related to the Trump presidency. It has been reported that both LGBT and black groups are increasingly worried about violence, and are taking steps to arm themselves. Whilst we are all for more people, whatever their color or creed, owning and learning how to use weapons, we should hope that these groups are not merely buying guns, but are also educating themselves to be responsible gun owners like the rest of us.

Overall, we are faced with a deeply strange situation. We now have a president who is assumed to be pro-gun, though the details of this remain sketchy at best. This has led to a decrease in gun sales, which is simultaneously good and bad news. We don’t wish to see any more local gun stores go to the wall, of course, but if you have been thinking about getting an AR-15 for a while, now is definitely the time.