I give up. I am going 100% in for whatever trend my kids and my wife tell me about about because, frankly, us older guys simply can't divine some trends that are right in front of us -- because we aren't mindful enough and don't use our Instagram accounts in the same way they do.
Just think about it, if you are me. Last night, I have LuluLemon Athletica (LULU) on -- and so far it has defied the gravitational pull of Amazon (AMZN) because its stores offer a component of mindfulness and community that isn't available in Amazon. How do I know this? Is it from Laurent Potdevin, the CEO of Lulu? No, it is from my wife, who tells me about it all of the time and all that Laurent does when he is on Mad Money is verify exactly that.
Like many other women in the fall and winter of 2017, my wife tried other types of athleisure-sampling, so to speak, and then came back. How do I know this? First, obviously, she told me. Second, though, Laurent said there was a sampling trend going on. But the numbers indicate that Lulu triumphed, and the same-store figures sure verify it. LULU one of the few companies I follow that is still putting up decent comps -- but more important, its e-commerce, which is now up to almost 20%, is growing like a weed -- at plus 30%.
The stores bring people in. They come back to the stores when there are fresh new models. They talk with the staffs, do yoga together and then order online. It works. That's what happens when you have what Laurent called a "community-based approach" to brick and mortar retail.
I think it is safe to say that this one's more about "mindfulosophy" than about athleisure -- especially given that it has a mindfulosophy room at its new flagship Manhattan store. It's a mindset, not an activewear showroom, which explains why the stock wasn't taken down by Nike's (NKE) weak numbers.
At the same time that my wife is pushing me on Lulu, my daughter is on a two-month camping trip around our great country. She and her boyfriend are doing it on their budget, which includes a novel tent that unfolds on top of their Subaru, allowing them to camp out nightly.
It's not exactly comfy, but it will do, and it is making for some of the greatest experiences of her life.
The takeaway? Just like mindfulness and apparel combine for those who have enough money to buy LULU clothes, camping and 'experiencing' means buying a Thor Industries (THO) vehicle, the largest maker of RVs and motor homes in the country -- which blew apart the estimates last night in one of the sharpest displays yet of what people are willing to pay for in the new economy.
The numbers are outstanding: sales up 49.7% and income up 44.3%. That translates into earnings of $2.26 when Wall Street was only looking for $1.96 -- one of the largest "beats" of 2017.
Again, you just need to follow the money, the money of my wife and my kids.
This has been a time-honored way for me to look at things. My enthusiasm for Apple, Inc (AAPL) , the stock, started way back when I bought my daughter two iPods -- one for her birthday and one for the Christmas holidays -- in the same year. I thought she had lost it. Nah, she just wanted a second color because they are fashion accessories.
It's how I knew that you had to be in the cruise stocks. When your college-age daughter asks you for money to go on a cruise, you know that there's something big at work, notably, an experience combined with a tremendous opportunity to take pictures and post them. And now, with the most recent camping pictures, she's undergoing a total rebranding, by her own admission.
You can't make this stuff up.
But you can't make up the amount of money you can make either.
Two more: In my day when you move off campus to a new apartment, the first thing you do is wait for the cable guy. Now they watch Netflix (NFLX) . Fortunately for Comcast Corp (CMCSA) , which we own for Action Alerts PLUS, they want Netflix fast -- which means they need Wifi. But unfortunately for those in the package, lots of my kind of programming goes unwatched.
Second, I don't do the shopping in our house. But I can tell you that the number of Amazon boxes I have tripped over in the last four years has to have tripled over that time -- and it isn't just books and clothes anymore. It's food and paper goods; it's the kitchen and the bath. And we live next door to a supermarket!
It's a changed world, and unless you are in touch with those around you, you are just too darned busy working to see it.