A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
Pier 1 Imports (DOG)
Favourite memories of Pier 1 Imports: 1) the time you bought that big, round wicker chair in college; 2) the time you bought a set of wicker storage baskets for your first apartment; 3) don’t have any other memories of shopping there. The furniture retailer had been struggling for years amid growing competition from other chains and online merchants, prompting the company to file for bankruptcy protection in February. But after failing to find a buyer as the coronavirus hammered its business, Pier 1 this week said it will close all 540 stores in the United States and Canada and wind down its business. The good news is you might be able to score a deal on a wicker patio set.
When you’re stuck at home for months, it’s hard to ignore the peeling paint on your walls and the constant drip, drip, drip from your faucet. With more people using their free time time to tackle projects around the house, home-improvement retailer Lowe’s saw an 11.2-per-cent surge in same-store sales during the first quarter – its biggest increase in at least 15 years – as earnings jumped 28 per cent to US$1.3-billion. “Honey, are you almost done painting the basement? The new roof shingles just arrived.”
Expedia Group (STAR)
With summer approaching and lockdown restrictions easing, some people are starting to get the travel itch again. Even as it announced a first-quarter loss of US$1.3-billion – which follows last month’s decision to suspend its dividend – online travel booking company Expedia said cancellation rates have stabilized and demand has started to recover slightly in May, giving its depressed stock a lift. “I’m pleased to say, though I would not get overly excited about it, that we’ve seen nice growth coming into May,” chief executive Peter Kern said on the quarterly conference call. Expedia investors got excited anyway, sending the stock higher.
Things people have been doing more of since the pandemic started: 1) arguing with family members; 2) eating junk food; 3) wasting countless hours scrolling through posts on Facebook. Shares of the social-network giant were already surging as lockdowns drove increased traffic to the site, and they hit a record this week after the company introduced Shops, an e-commerce platform that will allow retailers to sell merchandise on Facebook and Instagram. Apparently, there aren’t enough ways to order crap on the internet already.
Aurora Cannabis (STAR)
Cannabis may make people feel high, but the roughly 80-per-cent plunge in Aurora Cannabis’s stock price over the past year has left a lot of investors feeling very low. This week brought some relief, however, as Aurora announced the acquisition of Reliva LLC in a $40-million all-share transaction that gives the Canadian company a foothold in the U.S. cannabidiol (CBD) market. CBD doesn’t give users a buzz, but advocates claim it helps to control pain, anxiety, insomnia and other disorders. Judging by the jump in Aurora’s share price, it also helps to alleviate the stress that comes with severe stock market losses.
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