Jeff Bezos Hearts India; Lululemon’s Zen-tastic Earnings; Is Your CEO Listed? You Better Hope So

Next. Big. Thing…

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India is looking very flush these days as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos decided to throw $3 billion at it. That’s in addition to the $2 billion he gave the southeast Asian country back in 2014. He made this announcement at a meeting of business leaders in Washington DC that included Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The reason why Bezos is showing India a lot of fiscal love is that it is Amazon’s fastest growing region, boasting 21 fulfillment centers and 45,000 employees. In other words, the e-commerce giant is banking on the “huge potential in the Indian economy.” Interestingly enough, Amazon can only sell its wares from its website through a third party, as mandated by Indian law. But that hasn’t been much of a problem for the e-tailer, who ironically, never seemed to adapt as easily to the local Chinese marketplace, and continues to struggle there and against the giant we call Alibaba. It’s worth noting that Amazon is not the only game in town, facing fierce competition from local e-commerce businesses, Flipkart and Snapdeal. But Amazon’s not sweating it since according to Morgan Stanley, it is estimated that consumers in India bought $16 billion worth of goods last year, more than $10.3 billion from the previous year. So clearly, there’s plenty of room on the Indian e-commerce playing field.

Lemonade mouth…

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Lululemon beat estimates and even raised its 2016 revenue forecast. So why is its founder and largest shareholder, Chip Wilson, in a snit? He’s probably still licking his executive wounds after being booted from his post for making stupid comments, among other short-comings. In a letter to shareholders last week, the 14.2% stakeholder ripped into the current directors because he feels that they can’t keep up the pace against other athletic apparel companies like Nike and Under Armour, to name a few. Wilson would like it very much if there was an annual election that would make the board of directors accountable for earnings results and, presumably, get him reinstated as CEO. As it stands, the current leadership, helmed by Laurent Potdevin, would probably be delighted to be held accountable for Lululemon’s latest earnings considering how well it performed. Sure, the retailer missed profits by just a penny, falling 5% to $45.3 million, yet still earning 30 cents a share. But shares are still up 27% for the year and the company had strong sales this quarter. It also found a way to control its inventory levels and, in the process, saw its revenue rise 17% to $495.5 million when analysts only thought it would pull down $487.7. So perhaps it’s time for Wilson to keep his thoughts to himself and just enjoy his burgeoning majority stake.

In case you were wondering…

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Glassdoor came out with its latest annual list, this time regaling us with the highest rated CEO’s. Bain & Company’s Bob Becheck tops the list with a 99% approval rating. Employees seemed to appreciate the support they receive from their boss, not to mention the company’s focus on professional development. And who doesn’t mind professional encouragement? But while Becheck scored the number one spot, two other CEO’s also received 99% approval ratings. So congrats to Ultimate Software’s Scott Scherr and McKinsey and Company’s Dominic Barton. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg kept his number 4 ranking from last year, while LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner took fifth. Larry Page’s replacement at Google, Sundar Pichai, earned a 96% approval rating and the number seven spot, while Apple’s Tim Cook came in 8th, also with a 96% approval rating. Four women paved the way on this list, including Staffmark’s Lesa J. Francis, who took the 28th spot with a 94% approve rating, and Enterprise Holdings’ Pamela M. Nicholson, who graces the list at the number 31 spot, also with a 94% approval rating.

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Flipkart-ing Out, United Parcel Slip and You Debt-or Believe It

Prime Flipkart…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.com

How do you say Amazon in India? Have you tried Flipkart? You could still say Amazon as it’s over there too and is major competition to Flipkart but that’s not why we’re here. In any case, India’s numero uno e-commerce site just raised a whopping $1 billion. Rumor has it, though, that the company’s value is probably closer to $7 billion. Several shrewd and presumably prescient investors have already raised their stakes in the company including Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global. The company boasts 22 million registered users and sees 4 million visitors a day. Flipkart is currently developing its mobile-based business, which is probably very wise as India’s e-commerce market is expected to grow sevenfold by 2018.

Brown paper packages tied up with string…

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

UPS has a lot of work to do as profits of the shipping company fell a monumental 58%. Ouch. But at least the company has big plans to spend more money – $175 million – to make improvements and avoid another quarter like this one. Hey you gotta spend money to make money, right? Those improvements are geared specifically toward the holiday season which UPS flubbed the last time around when many many packages failed to make it to their intended recipients on time  – leaving many feeling very un-merry. It plans to operate on a full schedule on Black Friday and beef up its holiday season operations, as well. The company’s net income was down to $454 million from over a billion dollars a year ago. Revenue, however, was up $14.27 billion and even beat Wall Street estimates of $14.07 billion. UPS CEO Scott Davis said, “2014 is the year of investing for the customer.” Awww. So sweet. Now if they could just get those packages delivered on time.

More sucky stuff…

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Image courtesy of jesadaphorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Disconcerting news out today courtesy of The Urban Institute. The institute conducted a study finding that more than a third of Americans have their own special relationship with debt collectors. I know you’re just filled with warmth and good feeling right now. Student loans, mortgages, credit card bills and so much more have contributed to the delinquency of consumers. The study was conducted on the credit files of more than 7 million Americans. Southern states for some reason had a higher percentage of delinquency than the rest of the country. However, Nevada came out the winner of the losers with a 47% share of collections, namely because that state was hit particularly hard by the recession. On average, Americans who have debt in collections owe around $5,200.