A humorous look at the companies that caught our eye, for better or worse, this week
When you’re stuck at home re-watching all nine seasons of The Office, you need a comfortable chair to prevent binge-watching sores. With consumers spending more on home improvements during the pandemic, La-Z-Boy Inc. – which makes recliners, sofas and bedroom furniture – posted a 2.7-per-cent rise in quarterly sales as adjusted earnings of 82 US cents a share smashed Wall Street’s estimate of 50 US cents. The company also restored its dividend – which it had suspended after the pandemic hit – making investors feel very comfortable indeed.
L Brands (STAR)
Stressed by the pandemic? May we suggest some Lavender Vanilla Body Wash and Foam Bath followed by a few squirts of Chamomile Bergamot Pillow and Body Mist? And if that doesn’t do the trick, try a tumbler of scotch. Driven by surging demand for soaps, hand sanitizers and aromatherapy products, sales at Bath & Body Works – L Brands Inc.’s largest division – soared 54.9 per cent in the third quarter, with e-commerce orders rocketing 132.1 per cent. Online sales also rose at L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret chain, led by loungewear and sleepwear. “Not tonight, dear, I’m pampering myself.”
Beyond Meat (STAR)
Business quiz! Shares of Beyond Meat Inc. rose this week after: a) the company unveiled Beyond Moose, a plant-based protein product available in select regions of Canada; b) the U.S. government temporarily closed all meat-processing plants to contain the spread of coronavirus; c) Beyond Meat launched a plant-based minced “pork” product in China that mimics the taste of the popular filling used in foods such as dumplings and spring rolls. Answer: c.
Wait. Weren’t bricks and mortar stores supposed to be dead by now? Even as the pandemic is pushing many U.S. retailers into bankruptcy, discount chain Target Corp. is proving that Americans will still gorge themselves on consumer goods if given the right shopping options. With more customers taking advantage of in-store pickup, drive-up service and same-day shipping, Target’s third-quarter revenue leaped 21.3 per cent to US$22.6-billion, as digital sales climbed 155 per cent. Investors have hit the bullseye with this stock.
Sonos Inc. speakers sound pretty good. But what sounded even better to investors was the company’s blowout earnings report. Buoyed by strong demand from consumers who are getting more of their entertainment at home, the maker of wireless speakers and home-theatre sound systems reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales and earnings well ahead of expectations. The company also projected revenue growth of 11 to 15 per cent in fiscal 2021, prompting analysts to raise their price targets on the shares. Turn it up.
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