Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The “Best Ever” Press Release, 2007 Edition



It’s the day after Christmas, and, unless something has gone dreadfully wrong with either consumer spending or the Amazon.com press department, time for that Internet retailer’s “Best Ever” press release.

Sure enough, it’s right here on our Bloomberg:

Amazon Wraps Up Its 13th Holiday With Best Season Ever

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the 2007 holiday season finished as its best ever, with its busiest day being December 10. On that day, Amazon customers ordered more than 5.4 million items, which is 62.5 items per second….


"We are very grateful to our customers," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "On behalf of Amazon.com employees around the globe, we wish everyone happy holidays and best wishes for 2008.”


As we pointed out last year, it would be a startling thing if Amazon.com—or, indeed, nearly every other retailer in America—did not report their “best ever” holiday season each and every year, what with the tendency of economies to grow.

Even poor old Target, which reported jaw-droppingly poor December same-store sales of roughly zero on Christmas Eve, could have truthfully declared its own “best ever” holiday season by including sales from new stores opened in calendar 2007.

In fact, there are probably 1,000 companies on the New York Stock Exchange that could have put out a press release today claiming “best ever” holiday sales—if sales were all that mattered.

But they aren’t.

Retail investors don’t focus as much on total sales as they do on existing store sales, which is a far better measure of true underlying strength—hence the calcuation of “same-store sales” for the benefit of investors and management alike.

When it comes to industrial companies, while strong sales are nice, investors want to know what’s happening below the line, what with the rising cost of everything from crude oil to soybean oil, not to mention labor, healthcare, insurance, rent and pretty much everything else that goes into a product.

As for service companies, well, not only did the New York Yankees achieve record attendance in 2007, but even the New York Mets had their “best ever” season in 2007—if attendance and revenue was all that mattered in Major League Baseball.

Still, Amazon.com recognizes that the benefits of free publicity thanks to an obliging, subprime-weary press corps probably outweigh the potential goodwill dilution of its sixth straight “Best Ever” press release.

Hence today’s announcement, which looks a lot like the previous five:

12/26/2007 “Amazon Wraps Up Its 13th Holiday With Best Season Ever”

12/26/2006 "Amazon.com’s 12th Holiday Season is Best Ever"

12/26/2005 “Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that the 2005 holiday season finished as its best ever…”

12/27/2004 “Amazon.com’s Tenth Holiday Season is Best Ever…”

12/26/2003 “Amazon.com Wraps Up Its Ninth Holiday With Busiest Season Ever.”

12/26/2002 “Amazon.com today announced it has finished its busiest holiday season ever…”


Unless something goes very terribly wrong, we know what to expect to see on our Bloomberg next December 26.


Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up


© 2007 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, nor is it a solicitation of business in any way. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

3 comments:

Tahoe Kid said...

May we presume that this is also your 'best ever' blog? Best wishes for 2008.

Len said...

Len announces Christmas 2007,"Best Ever!!"
I got a new 7 1/4inch Milwaukee saw and I'll never need another one.

Louie Junior said...

Great story. I have been anticipating the news release too and knew there would be a massive, pants-wetting overreaction by the press and message-board pumpers about the "NEWS".

I also enjoyed reading the subjective and vague measurements of Amazon's holiday "success".