Friday Fake Out: The Sultans of SWAIN- the aftermath of Tiffany's epic counterfeiting battle over Costco

Friday Fake Out: The Sultans of SWAIN- the aftermath of Tiffany's epic  counterfeiting battle over Costco

Admit it: if you got to Costco, there is something intruging about the jewelry section—specifically when it boasts $10K "Tiffany & Co." rings for a mere $2500. How can that be? Costco certainly is the place where discounts run plentiful, but this seems too good to be true. Here's a little secret: it is.

#TBT WJA Keynote speech re: HENRYS: Who are they and where are they now?

#TBT WJA Keynote speech re: HENRYS: Who are they and where are they now?

In March of 2016 I had the insanely awesome opportunity to address the esteemed members of the Women's Jewelry Association's "In the Know" at their annual meeting. In my keynote speech, I discussed the state of the economy when it comes to making luxury purchases. Check out my predictions.

Why a former WWE CEO is a perfect pick to run the Small Business Administration.

Honest hour: I haven't been thrilled with President Donald Trump's cabinet picks. HOWEVER, when it was announced former WWE CEO Linda McMahon was selected to run the SBA I was overjoyed. To say this woman is amazing is an understatement. Here is why I am psyched: 

What is the SBA? 

The SBA or Small Business Administration is a government run agency to help support and promote small businesses  and owners in the U.S., i.e. someone like me! The agency also facilitates lending through the popular SBA 7(a) Loans; 504 loans, which provide funding for the purchase of fixed assets, such as real estate, buildings and machinery, at below market rates; and the SBA Express program, which offers term loans and lines of credit in amounts from $100,000 to $350,000. When needed, the agency provides disaster loans. It also offers business counseling and mentoring services, and special programs for women, minority and military veteran entrepreneurs. In theory, this should be the coolest agency in D.C., but the last ten years, specifically with the 2008 recession, the SBA has been a mess. 


She started from the bottom now she's here:

She took WWE from a small local business to a multinational public company. Prior to creating the WWE, she struggled as a small business owner. She and her husband went bankrupt at one point and lived on government assistance. She's literally seen it all and  understands how to build a small business to an international brand.

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger: 

D.C. isn't the first time Linda McMahon has tried her hand at politics. She was on the board of directors for Connecticut Board of Education and ran a self-funded campaign for Senate twice. She was unsuccessful but sometimes it's the failures that make you a better person. 

She slays when women and women’s initiatives:

McMahon is also the CEO of Women’s Leadership L.I.V.E. She co-founded the organization in 2014 to promote leadership opportunities for women by providing them with proven processes and sustainable strategies and by organizing conferences.

You're so 2000 and late: WILL ALSO Bring the SBA into the 21st century:

McMahon will focus on Fintech starting with helping get loan applications online vs. the reams of paper you have to fill out when applying for a loan. This will hopefully bring the SBA into the 21st century which it so desperately needs. 

I was on Fox and Friends back when McMahon was only a nominee, where I discuss this with a restaurant business owner and a financial planner. Check it: 


Gasoline Prices Rise- Big Box Retailers Feel the Most Pain.

I don't have a car here in NYC. There really is no need. But after I took a trip out to the Gateway Plaza Mall in Brooklyn, NY a couple weeks ago, I realized how much of an impact rising gasoline prices are having on shoppers wallets. I did my research, spoke to analysts at Global Hunter Securities, even analyzed what shoppers cut back on when those prices started to rise. But it wasn't until we filled the car up with gasoline on the way home and saw the bill for $70 for a FULL TANK OF GAS did it hit me-- this is a real problem. For me $70 equals a couple things: a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant, a facial at Mario Badescu, a new handbag at a sample sale, or two weeks of groceries at Whole Foods. Check out my report here:

Licensing Deals + New Management Still Didn't Help $CROX and $GPS

Unbelievable. Crocs JUST announced two weeks ago that it would be entering into a licensing deal to create a greater product mix(surprise-- but those plastic clog type shoes aren't selling well other than in Asia)! Everyone thought this was 2012's turn around story. And now... NOW with an outlook for Q1 that missed analyst estimates, the street is back to where it started at the beginning of Q4 of 2011- doubtful that this company can really turn it around. And Gap is another one. Same store sales have been negative for a couple months now. And all of those holiday promotions didn't help Q4 numbers- in fact it narrowed margins. The company is offering a buyback program of $1 billion but analysts I spoke to were skeptical. Check out the vid from Friday:

CNBC's "Power Lunch": $TGT's move to Canada

YAY. Nothing makes me more happy than reporting on good news and $TGT's announcement that the retailer is officially moving into Canada is exciting.  $TGT agreed to pay Zellers Inc. C$1.825B in two equal payments of C$912.5M to acquire the leasehold interests in up to 220 sites currently operated by Zellers Inc. Target expects to open 100 to 150 stores throughout Canada in 2013 and 2014. What's more $TGT also announced it intends to sell their credit card recievables portfolio which totaled $6.7 billion as of October 30th, 2010. The move is likely to finance CAPEX for the new stores in Canada which is said to exceed $1 billion.

My take:

While expansion is always a good sign of a retailer doing well, we can’t ignore their online business which wavered/lost market share to $AMZN during the holidays. With shopping becoming more mobile/online, how the retailer handles this will be key.  Grocery business is also taking a hit with rising commodity and food prices, but having a variety category mix like $TGT is doing with the one-stop-shop is a good model for them.