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LEVI - Levi Strauss & Co News Story

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Consumer Cyclicals
Large Cap
Market Cap £4.20bn
Enterprise Value £4.42bn
Revenue £3.91bn
Position in Universe 1071st / 6407

Roombas and jam: couch potatoes snap up robot vacuums, PB&J in pandemic

Thu 23rd July, 2020 5:02pm
By Uday Sampath Kumar
    July 23 (Reuters) - Consumers sticking close to home as
COVID-19 cases spike around the world are reaching for more
pantry staples like mayonnaise and peanut butter and are buying
Roomba robot vacuum cleaners and computers.
    As companies report quarterly earnings and look to the
second half of the year, pandemic winners and losers are
becoming more apparent. Companies that sell electronics, comfort
food and other products for the home continue to benefit from
quarantines and lockdowns. 
    "Being at home – or at least out of their normal routines –
the majority of the day, consumers are embracing technologies
that enhance their at-home lifestyle, whether through
entertainment, or assistance with chores around the house," said
Daniel Binder, partner at Columbus Consulting, a firm that
advises on the retail sector.
    This week, electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc  BBY.N  said
its online sales jumped more than three-fold in the current
quarter through July 18, while overall sales rose about 15%. And
Roomba maker iRobot Corp  IRBT.O  flagged meaningful growth in
demand for its robotic vacuums that can cost $800.
    Roombas, which can speak more than a dozen languages
including Chinese, automatically zip around carpets and floors
sucking up crumbs, dirt and pet hair. Keeping a clean home has
taken on greater prominence in the pandemic, Colin Angle, chief
executive of iRobot, said in the company's earnings release on
    Shares of Best Buy, the Minneapolis-based retailer, rose to
a record high of $99.42 on Wednesday, after the company reported
 robust sales of computers, tablets and appliances to homebound
consumers and students. Almost all its stores had reopened to
shoppers as of Wednesday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2ES486
    "People see getting a Roomba to get their houses cleaner or
upgrading to the latest iPhone as a means of getting back some
sense of control in their lives," said Dave Marcotte, senior
vice president, Insights, at retail consulting and analytics
company, Kantar.
    UK-based home improvement retailer Kingfisher Plc  KGF.L  on
Wednesday reported exceptionally strong demand for DIY and
gardening products. Lockdowns drove a 21.6% jump in
second-quarter same-store sales.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N2ET138
    JM Smucker Co  SJM.N , which makes Smucker's jams, Jif
peanut butter and pet food, raised its dividend in a time when
many companies are slashing payouts to conserve cash. In June,
Smucker said it continued to expect shoppers to eat more meals
at home.
    Global consumer products company Unilever Plc  ULVR.L  on
Thursday noted strong sales of Breyers, Magnum and Klondike
ice-cream, along with Hellmann's mayonnaise and Knorr soups.
     "We see no signs of North America slowing down," the
company's chief executive officer, Alan Jope, told analysts.
    A new wave of amateur bakers has led to a surge of more than
40% in sales of Hershey Co's  HSY.N  chocolate chips and cocoa
powder that are used in cakes, cookies and other desserts.
    The chocolate maker said on Thursday it expects sales to
accelerate in the coming months.
    By contrast, jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co  LEVI.N  said on
Tuesday its executives would continue to work with reduced
salaries through the end of August, citing the economic hit from
    Levis, hurt by store closures, said on July 7 that sales
tumbled 62% in the second quarter. 

 (Reporting by Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru
Additional reporting and writing by Anna Driver in New York
Editing by Matthew Lewis)
+1 646 223-4342
Reuters Messaging: anna.driver@thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))
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