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This basket consists of brick and mortar who have lost considerable market share to online competition.
Shares of Amazon (AMZN) have slipped 6% in the past six months, while the S&P 500 climbed 9%. So when will Wall Street and investors start to think about buying Amazon stock again?
(Bloomberg) -- Agribusiness is increasingly turning to natural and sustainable alternatives to chemicals as consumers rebuff genetically modified foods and concerns grow over Big Ag’s role in climate change.At the heart of the trend are innovations that harness beneficial microorganisms in the soil, including seed-coatings of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi that can do the same work as traditional chemicals, from warding off pests to helping plants flourish, according to a global patent study by research firm GreyB Services.“Both entrepreneurs and investors are saying, ‘Hey, the writing is on the wall, we’re entering a post-chemical world,’” said Rob LeClerc, chief executive officer of AgFunder, an online venture-capital platform. “The seed companies who have billions in market cap are like ‘We need to do something,’ and everyone recognizes the opportunity.”Much of the handwringing over farm chemicals stems from the recent fate of glyphosate, the most ubiquitous weedkiller ever. Regulators around the world are tightening up rules around using the chemical, including Europe and Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of lawsuits that could result in billions of dollars in penalties are pending against Bayer AG over whether its glyphosate-containing product, Roundup, caused cancer. Bayer insists it’s safe, and some government agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say it isn’t likely to cause cancer in humans.The global fertilizer and pesticide market is around $240 billion, and grows 2% to 3% a year, according to Ben Belldegrun, a managing partner at Pontifax AgTech, a company that invests in food and agriculture technology. While so-called biologicals including biofertilizers, biopesticides and biostimulants are just 2% of that market, those have been growing closer to 15% a year for the past five years, Belldegrun said.Pressure for less chemical-intensive farming methods is coming from retailers like Walmart Inc., non-governmental organizations and consumers, who are throwing more dollars toward organic and other niche foods with environmental or animal welfare claims.As population increases worldwide, the demand for agricultural products is projected to grow 15% over the next decade with no change in the amount of land available for farming, according to a joint report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.“There’s a growing world population and how are we going to feed all of these people?” asked Craig Forney, assistant director for licensing and business development at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. “At the same time, we want to protect the environment. We need to use land better and use the resources better.”The answer, Forney said, is “intensified agricultural production to increase productivity of land and do it with minimal chemical support.”Patents give owners the exclusive right to an invention, and can indicate both where research funding is being spent and where companies or universities expect to generate revenue in the future.Companies like BASF SE, Bayer and Syngenta AG have patents on products using naturally-occurring microbes to help crops flourish even when there is low water availability, according to GreyB’s analysis. The microbes can act as catalysts to encourage growth. Biological-based fungicides and insecticides can also help reduce crop damage from insects, slugs and fungi.“Seed-applied biological products can extend the window of disease and pest protection, while some also provide alternate modes of action that can reduce the build-up of resistance, aid with nutrient management and reduce plant stress,” said Chris Judd, BASF’s global strategic marketing manager for Seed Treatment, Inoculants and Biologicals.Evonik Industries AG, Altair Nanotechnologies Inc., Covestro AG and startup Indigo AG have been active in obtaining patents and publishing research in the area of using microbes, as have universities like China’s Zhejiang University and Nanjing Agricultural University, according to GreyB.Likewise, thousands of patents are being issued to companies like BASF, Bayer and Dow Inc. for more natural ways of managing pests including pheromones that deter breeding and reflective mulches, instead of chemical-based insecticides.Germany’s Bayer, which bought agriculture chemical giant Monsanto Co. in 2018, sees “high growth potential” for biologicals, citing a challenging regulatory environment for chemicals and a growing emphasis on sustainability in agriculture. Bayer has a research and development team solely focused on them. The company also is hunting for partnerships to boost its portfolio. Benoit Hartmann, head of biologics at Bayer, said the increased investments show how the science around microbes has matured in recent years.In 2013, BASF acquired seed-treatment supplier Becker Underwood, which helped the company become a leader in biological agents to fight bacteria and fungi. Judd said the company sees demand for biologicals increasing but maintains that they need “to be compatible with an increasing array of chemistries and to have the ability to survive on the seed for adequate periods.”The increased patenting reflects a trend of researchers looking for ways to help promote organic and non-GMO farming, said Nicole Kling, a patent agent with Nixon Peabody who specializes in the biotechnology field.With biologicals, “You’re not introducing chemicals with the scare quotes around it,” Kling said. “You’re not doing anything that would harm the agricultural workers.”Researchers and companies are looking for new solutions for farming with less chemicals because organic farming, the most popular alternative to modern conventional farming, often results in lower yields. Still, demand for food continues increasing. Iowa State and other universities around the world, using government funding or in partnership with companies, are rushing to deal with those competing demands.“The hope is someday in the future they will merge and you will have organic and non-GMO products that are just as productive as Big Ag,” Forney said.That’s where things like precision agriculture to tailor the application of nutrients, artificial intelligence to monitor soil conditions and the development of new plant hybrids come in.Other emerging techniques that could boost yields while helping farmers use less chemicals is artificial intelligence, which is being used to analyze which seeds and crops can yield the most based on changing soil conditions and weather patterns on a farm. The promise of quantum computers would let companies use massive computing power to develop and analyze new seeds and fertilizers.Scientists also are developing new plant varieties, with applications for new varieties up 9% in 2018, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization. China led the growth, with more than a quarter of the applications for new varieties.Much of the research in crop biotech is centered in the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and South Korea, though it’s being adapted to meet local conditions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, according to WIPO, an agency of the U.N.Demand for more food will be greatest in Africa, India and the Middle East. In the developing world, there is little food scarcity because “we did good things with all that ‘better living through chemistry,’” Kling said, referring to a play on an old DuPont motto. It has come at a cost, though.“We’re starting to see some of the effects of that -- all of this wonderful industrialization has contributed to climate change,” Kling said. “We’re starting to see people swing back in the other direction.”(Adds executive comment in fifteenth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Lydia Mulvany in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org;Susan Decker in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;James Attwood at email@example.com, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Best Buy's (BBY) Building the New Blue: Chapter Two plan and buyouts are likely to keep its momentum alive in the near future. Also, a raised view for fiscal 2020 bodes well.
Best Buy (BBY) is at a 52-week high, but can investors hope for more gains in the future? We take a look at the company's fundamentals for clues.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Many of the retail industry’s challenges in 2020 will be familiar, such as adapting to the rise of e-commerce and trade-related uncertainty from Washington. But the lineup of CEOs navigating those conditions will include many new faces.There were more CEO exits in the retail industry in 2019 than in any year since at least 2010, according to data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.(1)The leadership shake-ups in retail don’t appear to fit any particular pattern. There were carefully choreographed, harmonious baton passes, such as Best Buy Co. naming Corie Barry to succeed Hubert Joly. There were bombshells such as Steve Easterbrook’s abrupt ouster from McDonald’s Corp. over an inappropriate relationship with an employee. There were rebukes of poor performance, such as Art Peck’s departure from Gap Inc. And there were some left-field surprises, such as Tractor Supply Co. poaching Hal Lawton from Macy’s Inc.Retail’s recent bout of turbulence at the top is not such an outlier in corporate America; Bloomberg Opinion’s Stephen Mihm recently noted an uptick in CEO departures overall in the past few months. But it adds a certain intrigue about which retailers will end up in the winners’ circle next year.Here are predictions for how some of the more high-profile episodes of C-suite musical chairs will play out.CEO changes that are reason for optimism: By the time activist investor pressure finally led Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. to dump longtime CEO Steven Temares, the move was long overdue. But the board has scored by luring Mark Tritton — the chief merchant at its on-fire competitor, Target Corp. — for the job. Tritton’s experience creating covetable private-label brands and reimagining store displays are exactly what the big-box home goods chain needs. Meanwhile, though Gap has not yet named a permanent successor for the now-departed Peck, the company may be better off without a leader who tried but failed for five years to revive its flagship brand.CEO changes that are reason for pessimism: The biggest headscratcher comes from Nike Inc., which announced that CEO Mark Parker is to be replaced in January by John Donahoe, a former ServiceNow and eBay Inc. executive. Sure, Donahoe knows Nike’s business from serving on its board, but his tech-centric resume is a weird fit for a company that thrives on its marketing savvy and merchandising expertise. There is potential for trouble, too, in the leadership plans of Under Armour Inc., where founder Kevin Plank is set to relinquish the CEO title to COO Patrik Frisk in the new year. Plank is to become chairman and “brand chief,” and Frisk will still report to Plank. This set-up is reminiscent of when Ralph Lauren first tried to step back from the CEO role of his namesake company while staying on in a creative position. The fashion mogul clearly had trouble releasing the reins, and it cost the company a highly capable CEO, Stefan Larsson.(2)Elsewhere in the apparel world, Ascena Retail Group Inc., corporate parent of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and other brands, probably will regret tapping an insider, Gary Muto, to replace David Jaffe. This company needs the kind of total overhaul that an outsider would be better equipped to pull off.CEO changes that promise business as usual: Electronics giant Best Buy is in good hands under Barry, a veteran executive of the chain who had served as its CFO and chief strategic growth officer. Thing is, the electronics giant was already in good hands under Joly, who had steered the chain through an improbable comeback. So expect steadiness for the retailer in the year ahead —by no means a bad thing. Same goes for McDonald’s: Even though it said goodbye to a successful CEO under far more soap-operatic circumstances, his replacement, Chris Kempczinski, is a close lieutenant poised to stick to the same playbook that has fueled the fast-food giant’s recent strength.CEO change wild card: It’s understandable that Tapestry Inc.’s board had lost confidence in recently departed CEO Victor Luis. The company that used to be named Coach has been struggling to boost the Kate Spade brand it acquired in 2017, a bad sign for a company intent on transforming into a luxury conglomerate. Luis has been replaced by Jide Zeitlin, a longtime Tapestry board member. He has little experience in the retail or fashion worlds, which is concerning. But his finance industry chops could prove invaluable in future deal-making — an essential ingredient in the company’s quest for growth.(1) The Challenger data in the chart is for the retail sector only. The apparel industry, which includes manufacturers such as Nike, is a separate category that also saw a particularly high number of exits in 2019. So far, apparel has 12 CEO exits, matching the 2015 annual total that was the highest this decade. Restaurants such as McDonald’s are included in the entertainment and leisure category in Challenger’s data.(2) Lauren seems to have settled into his new role alongside current CEO Patrice Louvet, who took that job in 2017 after Larsson’s exit.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The co-founder of Bonobos is leaving Walmart little more than two years after he agreed to sell the online men’s clothing store to the US retailer and took charge of its burgeoning collection of digitally focused brands. Andy Dunn’s departure comes as Walmart shakes up its lossmaking ecommerce operations as the world’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer grapples for supremacy with Amazon. The 40-year-old started Bonobos in 2007 and became a senior member of Walmart’s ecommerce team ten years later after the retailer struck a deal to buy it for $310m in cash.
Should investors think about buying beaten down FedEx stock before it releases its second quarter fiscal 2020 earnings results on Tuesday, December 17?
Here at Zacks, our focus is on the proven Zacks Rank system, which emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find great stocks. Nevertheless, we are always paying attention to the latest value, growth, and momentum trends to underscore strong picks.
Dillard's (DDS) benefits from trendy product offerings as well as store growth and omni-channel efforts. The launch of Carvela's mainline footwear in its stores should boost holiday sales.
Ollie's Bargain (OLLI) third-quarter earnings improve 28.1% from the year-ago period. Higher net sales and better expense management contribute to year-over-year increase.
Dollar Tree (DLTR) is grappling with soft margins, high costs and tariffs. Nevertheless, its strategic initiatives like the Dollar Tree Plus! test and store-optimization efforts are encouraging.
(Bloomberg) -- Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday released the names of clients that he worked for as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., a list that includes Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan, the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Defense.Buttigieg, who has risen to the top tier of candidates in the Democratic primary, had come under fire from Democratic rivals, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, for not giving voters a full picture of his private sector experience. He made public the names one day after the firm released him from a nondisclosure agreement.In his three years at the firm from 2007 to 2010, Buttigieg also worked for Loblaw Cos., the Canadian grocer, as well as Best Buy Co., the National Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Energy Foundation.“Now, voters can see for themselves that my work amounted to mostly research and analysis,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “They can also see that I value both transparency and keeping my word. Neither of these qualities are something we see coming out of Washington, especially from this White House. It’s time for that to change.”The detailed information about his time at McKinsey also comes as Buttigieg has opened up his private fundraisers to the press, a response to Warren and other Democratic candidates who had criticized his practice of keeping the events closed. Warren doesn’t hold fundraisers and relies mostly on grassroots contributions.At Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2007, Buttigieg worked for three months on a team focused on overhead expenditures and the project did not involve policies, premiums or benefits, according to the campaign. His work at Loblaw’s in Toronto in 2008 centered on the effects of price cuts. At Best Buy in Chicago in 2008, he focused on opportunities to sell more energy-efficient home products in stores.In 2008-2009, he worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council and energy-related government departments and nonprofits to research ways to combat climate change through energy efficiency. The work culminated in a published report, titled, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy.”In 2009, he worked at the Energy Foundation in California and researched renewable energy. He then worked at the Department of Defense, focusing on increasing employment and entrepreneurship in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of that work, he was based in Washington but traveled to both of those countries. His last project was for the Postal Service, based in Washington, where he worked on finding new sources of revenue.In his statement, Buttigieg also took aim at critics of his private-sector work, saying the attacks on him have pulled away focus on issues such as gun violence and health care.“At the same time, I am also concerned about efforts to demonize and disqualify people who have worked in the private sector for the sake of political purity,” he said. “The majority of Americans have worked in the private sector at some point in their life. Good public servants - including recent Democratic presidents - have worked in the private sector at some point in their lives.”Warren demanded that he release his McKinsey client list as the consulting firm was criticized, including by Buttigieg himself, for its work on opioids and migrant detention.“As somebody who left the firm a decade ago, seeing what certain people in that firm have decided to do is extremely frustrating and extremely disappointing,” Buttigieg told reporters last week.Buttigieg has criticized Warren for failing to release her tax returns covering the years she did work as a bankruptcy lawyer.On Sunday, Warren disclosed that she had made $1.9 million as a bankruptcy lawyer. She had previously released the names of the clients and cases she took on during her tenure as a professor at Harvard and other law schools, as well as 11 years of tax returns, back to 2008. The documents released Sunday cover her compensation between 1985 and 2009, but don’t include tax returns.(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)(Adds Buttigieg comments on Warren in 13th paragraph, Warren response in 14th.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, John Harney, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.