GHRA Partners with Alternative Data-Provider Alpha Hat

Gordon Haskett Research Advisors pic
Gordon Haskett Research Advisors
Image: gordonhaskett.com

For over two decades Chuck Grom has served in various positions in the financial sector. A senior investment analyst, Chuck Grom is a managing director at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors (GHRA) in New York.

On April 26, 2018, GHRA announced it was partnering with data platform Alpha Hat to augment its data analytics. Alpha Hat is an alternative provider of data for investors. It offers unique data sets such as real-time foot traffic in retail centers, restaurants, and hotels across the country. These are gathered from anonymized mobile GPS signals.

The new partnership makes GHRA Alpha Hat’s only sell-side partner. GHRA will use the insights delivered by Alpha Hat to enhance its fundamental retail research work. The additional data will supplement already existing data sets derived from credit card transactions, monthly consumer surveys, and proprietary pricing studies.

By combining alternative data with widely adopted financial information and key performance indicators, GHRA researchers will have better knowledge about retail company performances, which ultimately will help them improve investment returns.

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Investors Skeptical of Walmart Online Retail Growth

 

Amazon versus Walmart pic
Amazon versus Walmart
Image: forbes.com

Chuck Grom is a respected presence on Wall Street who serves as managing director of Gordon Haskett Research Advisors and provides analysis of broadline supermarket and retail sectors. One topic that Chuck Grom was quoted on in CNBC involved a February 2018 plunge in the value of Walmart stocks.

The 13 percent drop followed the release of fourth-quarter financials, with the retail behemoth reporting slower than expected online sales growth. Having achieved a 50 percent increase in online sales the previous quarter, year-over-year sales were only 23 percent higher in the most recent quarter.

As Mr. Grom described it, the significant sales slowdown within the omnichannel retailer’s highly publicized e-commerce platform was “perplexing.” Walmart had made coordinated efforts to expand its online offerings and provide pick-up discounts for items not in stores, as well as two-day free shipping.

By contrast, Amazon was able to achieve e-commerce sales growth that approached 50 percent in the most recent quarter. Analysts noted that the “hyper-growth numbers” of Walmart’s previous quarters were likely tied to its acquisition of Jet.com.

Move Away From Food Stamps Sends Dollar Store Stocks Down

 

Dollar Store pic
Dollar Store
Image: zerohedge.com

Chuck Grom is a respected Wall Street analyst who covers retail and department store sectors with Gordon Haskett Research. Recently quoted in a Yahoo finance article, Chuck Grom weighed in on the turbulence faced by dollar-store chains nationwide.

In February 2018, President Donald Trump unveiled a food stamp benefits plan that would cut cash payments, replacing them with packaged food. In a move designed to save the government $214 billion over the next 10 years, any household that receives in excess of $90 cash each month would instead receive food-aid packages the include peanut butter, meat, cereal, and shelf-stable milk.

This represents an unprecedented shift in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With more than 42 million people receiving SNAP benefits in 2017, many spent their food stamps at discount supermarkets such as Kroger, Walmart, Dollar Tree’s Family Dollar division, and Dollar General. Shoppers on a limited budget are a significant part of the stores’ customer base. As noted by Mr. Grom, approximately five percent of transactions are in the form of food stamp purchases.

The effects of a major reduction in SNAP food stamps include increased pressure on the most vulnerable in society. This, in turn, could hamper growth prospects of major chains such as Dollar General and Dollar Tree. The latter company’s stocks fell by 3.7 percent in reaction the news, while Dollar General lost nearly five percent.

Costco Performs Well in JPMorgan Price Check

 

Costcopic
Costco
Image: cnbc.com

Based in New York, Chuck Grom serves Gordon Haskett Research Advisors as managing director, in which role he covers broadline retail and supermarket sectors. Undertaking in-depth research, Chuck Grom focuses on equity trends in major US grocery chains.

With Amazon having recently taken over Whole Foods and promising a dramatic decrease in prices, investors in companies such as members-only Costco were concerned that this could impact stock prices. As reported in CNBC, a recent JPMorgan price check of several leading grocery chains found that Costco’s sticker prices were on average 58 percent less expensive per unit than similar products on Whole Foods’ shelves. The survey also found that Whole Foods did not have much pricing leeway as long as it adhered to its value proposition of “foodie, organic, and natural.”

When taking into consideration baskets of products spanning dry goods, perishable groceries, and household items, Costco was consistently least expensive in terms of overall prices. The company handily beat out Target, Aldi, and Walmart in this sphere. One area in which Walmart was found to be cheaper was its private-label brand, but when it came to quality, Costco’s Kirkland Signature rose to the top among value-minded consumers. With Costco currently focused on expanding its online shopping offerings, the firm’s downside risk seems manageable despite decreasing margins and what Mr. Grom described as the “modest compression” of membership renewal declines.