Company Notes Digest 3.28.14

A digest of some of the top insights that I’ve gathered from this week’s earnings calls.  Full notes can be found here.

The Macro Outlook

Accenture seeing strong demand for consulting work, but pricing is weak

“from a volume standpoint we’re actually seeing very strong growth, and in fact, I would say that our volume growth is where we expected, if not better…the level of client discussions that are taking place and clients’ willingness to contract work is actually quite strong.” ($ACN)

Clients are still focused on cost optimization projects

“Having said that, if there is a common theme and we’ve talked about this for several quarters now, clients are by and large focused on cost optimization. I think that is a trend that we see almost in every industry and every market around the world.And so clients are moving forward, driving the business forward, looking at investments that they need to make, but they’re doing it with an eye towards being very cost conscious in the contracting investments they’re making in their business.” ($ACN)

At least someone is investing in capacity growth though

“you’ll see that our headcount growth over the last couple of quarters has been meaningful and so we have more heads, more payroll, base pay comp. We also have slightly lower utilization on the margin as we’ve been building bench in certain areas in anticipation of revenue ramping” ($ACN)

Carnival Cruise seeing strength in Europe

“And I will say in general, in Europe, we do as I mentioned earlier on the call, with the booking curves being moved out we see strength in Europe. And again, it’s reflected in our guidance, but we actually see a strong performance collectively in Europe this year.” ($CCL)

Avian Flu worries that hit QSR business in China may have passed (good for YUM)

“The improvement in industrial sales in China continued this quarter with a 20% increase in local currencies. This growth rate compares to weak demand from quick service restaurants in the first quarter of 2013 that related to concerns about avian flu and poultry menu items.” ($MKC)

Brazil may have turned the corner

“I’m pleased to report that indeed in Q2 we feel that we are turning the corner with Brazil coming back flattened, hopefully positive for the reminder of the year.” ($ACN)


Brand advertising most effective in bursts

“And so we’ll examine it. I’m a personal believer and pulsing that you advertise for a period of time, then you take a little break and you advertise.” ($CCL)

It’s hard to keep a monopoly in stretchy pants (or any strong market)

“We’re certainly not the only game in town anymore. But as we get back to our roots, we’re really focusing on innovation. I don’t want to spend too much time worrying about our competitors. I certainly want to know what they’re doing. It’s validation of the strength of our market and its global relevance and its growth in every single global market.” ($LULU)

Millenials like to cook

“the majority of Millennials say they love to cook, and the percentage of all consumers that prefer hot or spicy sauces, dips, and condiments is up 8 points in the last two years.” ($MKC)

Restoration Hardware’s customers are not your average consumer

“And if all of a sudden during the period you get a customer that delays that purchase intent and then decides, hey, honey, let’s go to Italy, and they go spend $20,000 on a vacation, I think we’re competing against those kind of decisions sometimes.” ($RH)


Walgreens/AmerisourceBergen partnership will be the world’s largest purchaser of pharmaceuticals

“We are pleased with the performance of our global procurement organization. With the introduction of AmerisourceBergen, we believe we will be the largest purchaser of pharmaceuticals worldwide.” ($WAG)

Miscellaneous Nuggets of Wisdom

Destroy today’s reality

“Real value has always been created by those who have the courage to lead rather than follow, who are willing to destroy today’s reality to create tomorrow’s future.” ($RH)

Have debates

“As new data comes in, as new information comes in, new thoughts and new debates happen inside the company, it brings forth a new and better view. And one of the things that I think is one of the strengths of the company is we have those debates and we continue to evolve and we are quick to make a decision.” ($RH)

Constantly iterate

“we’re not the kind of company that gets better information in the first quarter, second quarter ago, well, that’s the plan in the year, I’m sorry, you know, that’s what we’re doing. We are constantly iterating. We are constantly improvising, adapting and overcoming and trying to get better every single day.” ($RH)

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