On CNBC's Squawk on the Street this morning, co-anchor David Faber-- who is always wary of using the term 'merger Monday' admitted that this Beam ( BEAM) takeover by Suntory Holdings almost warranted such a title. Beam of course is the name behind Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Sauza teuila, Courvoisier cognac, Canadian Club whiskey, and Teacher's Scotch. The total purchase price, $16 billion, including assumption of debt, marks a win for the stub company of the old Fortune Brands, which sold off its Golf business and spun off its home business into Fortune Brands Home & Security ( FBHS).
In retail, Lululemon ( LULU) is down sharply after this high multiple lifestyle brand lowered profit and sales forecasts. The company had many hiccups in 2013, including product recalls (see-through pants!) and former CEO Christine Day stepping down. At this point, it is key to see more sales traction before getting positive about 2014 prospects. A trade idea? Under Armour ( UA), which is gaining share with women and whose innovation roll-outs are flowing to the bottom line.
This week will be chock full of data from retailers at the ICR XChange conference so keep a lookout for more. Merchandising remains front and center -- particularly after the slew of disappointments we have gotten of late, including most recently from Express ( EXPR), following a dismal December report. Ascena ( ASNA) reported a disappointing comp number out of November and December, particularly as previous quarter trends had pointed to a turnaround for the stock. It's still well positioned with a diverse portfolio but needs recent trends to turn. And ouch on SodaStream ( SODA)! The stock sold off sharply after lowing revenue and EPS guidance due to, yes again, a challenging holiday season. Perhaps, as Herb Greenberg postulated, SodaStream dampered Bed Bath & Beyond ( BBBY) earnings to some degree.
We got mixed food reviews this morning. Wendy's ( WEN) is a name that has surged from innovation (like the famous pretzel burger and more recently the brioche) along with occupying a 'third way' between McDonald's ( MCD) and Panera Bread ( PNRA), as Jim Cramer has emphasized. On the other hand, momentum name Noodles ( NDLS) reported another round of soggy numbers, calling into question the company's turbo-charged growth strategy. On a positive note, Hain Celestial ( HAIN), a name well positioned in this new age of health and wellness, made another smart acquisition by buying up Tilda, a leading global rice brand.
Take a look at my quick morning round up from this morning: