Avondale: Look for Dollar General sales to get boost from Dollar Tree disruption

Put Avondale Partners analyst Mark Montagna among the group of market watchers that thinks Dollar General will actually be a beneficiary of the planned Dollar Tree-Family Dollar combination. In a note to clients, Montagna writes that same-store sales at Goodlettsville-based Dollar General should get boost from the disruption of Dollar Tree's deal for up to three and a half years. He adds that gross margins, which have been slipping due to pricing pressures and the rollout of lower-margin tobacco products, should bottom out this quarter and rise all the way through 2016.

DLTR is likely to take charge of what it deems necessary for adjusting store inventory by category and product line, which should include inserting some of its successful merchandise priced at $1 and below. Such changes are likely to lead to store manager turnover, changing merchandise selection, and general customer confusion over what exactly they can count on FDO carrying.

Montagna rates Dollar General (Ticker: DG) a 'market outperform' and sees it climbing to $65 from its current level of $56 and change.

Jul 29, 2014 10:52 AM

Sam's Sports Grill to add prime Chattanooga location

The operators of the Sam's Sports Grill chain have inked a deal to build their seventh location in the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel complex. Construction is expected to start this week and be complete by next spring. WRCB-TV has more details.

Jul 29, 2014 6:57 AM

Options traders see Dollar General emerging a winner from Dollar Tree-Family Dollar deal

Shares of Dollar General are having a wild and woolly Monday after rivals Dollar Tree and Family Dollar said they will join forces in a $9.2 billion deal. After opening down a good bit from its Friday close, the stock (Ticker: DG) rose steadily as several market watchers disseminated some ho-hum opinions of Dollar Tree's purchase plans, then retreated again to enter the final half hour of trading down slightly from Friday. Volume is on track to be more than four times the daily average.

What that says about overall investor sentiment is hard to pin down. But options traders are more optimistic now about the Goodlettsville-based company's shares than at any point in the past year. The pros at Schaeffer's Investment Research have the numbers.

Jul 28, 2014 2:33 PM

SoBro's Past Perfect closes; owner seeks new space

SoBro neighborhood restaurant and bar Past Perfect has ceased operations, with its owner seeking a new space for a different concept.

Shawn Courtney, who served as president of Past Perfect Inc., said his lease was not renewed, thus ending an eight-and-a-half-year run for the Third Avenue South watering hole.

When it opened in early 2006, Past Perfect was likely SoBro’s lone Chicago/New York City-style neighborhood restaurant and bar. The dark and quirky space was known for its infused vodkas, low lighting and inventive menu.

“Operating Past Perfect was like attending graduate school,” Courtney (pictured) said. “That experience is what will influence the next business.”

Courtney said he is confident he has found another space in SoBro but declined to disclose the building and the site. He did say his new eatery will involve a simple presentation, likely with no servers and a limited alcoholic beverage lineup (beer only).

Courtney said the new eatery, like Past Perfect, will focus more on locals than on tourists. He said he wants the menu and presentation to be “simple and consistent” and the building accessible to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists (with on-site parking).

Jul 28, 2014 12:43 PM

Back Yard hires help for franchising

Back Yard Burgers CEO David McDougall and his team have been working hard to get the chain back on track. Now, with same-store sales having grown 9.3 percent in the first half of this year, they have contracted with SMB Franchise Advisors to add to their 68-unit store base. Pennsylvania-based SMB has in the past helped dining brands Wing Zone and Go Bananas Frozen Yogurt, among others.

“We chose to work with SMB because they know how to design franchise-development blueprints that get results. Our goal is to have development plans in place by the end of the 3rd Quarter and begin signing new franchisees and opening new restaurants in 2015,” Chief Executive Officer David McDougall said.

SEE ALSO: Ship righted, Back Yard CEO eyes growth initiatives from April

Jul 28, 2014 9:53 AM

Nashville's per-gallon gas price average drops 5 cents

The average per-gallon price of regular gas in Nashville on Sunday was $3.35, down five cents from the mark of a week ago and down 17 cents from the price of four weeks ago, according to AAA The Auto Club Group.

The drop marks the third consecutive week in which the city's average per-gallon price of regular gas dropped five cents from the mark of the previous week.

Relatedly, Tennessee’s average price was $3.31 Sunday, five cents less compared to the figure from the previous week and down 16 cents compared to the mark from a month ago.

Gasoline is selling at the lowest price since March amid rising gasoline supplies and falling oil prices, according to AAA. Specifically, the national and Florida average prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline are on a 30-day streak of declines. Prices in Georgia and Tennessee have fallen 34 and 32 consecutive days, respectively.

"Oil prices briefly rose following the crash of Malaysian Airliner Flight MH17, but gas prices didn't skip a beat last week," Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group, said in a release. "Motorists continue to enjoy discounts at the pump and that's likely to continue this week."

Last week, he price of oil fell more than a dollar on the NYMEX. WTI settled at $102.09 a barrel Friday, $1.04 cheaper than the week prior. Oil is trading lower as gasoline supplies have reached a four-month high and outpaces demand.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is six cents cheaper than the mark of last week. The average price also fell five cents in Florida and Georgia.

Jul 28, 2014 9:30 AM

GameStop unit buys MacAuthority

Regional Apple products reseller MacAuthority has been acquired by tech retail giant GameStop, which last year launched an aggressive push into selling more than video games. Through the deal, GameStop's Simply Mac unit adds six stores in five cities as well as locations on the campuses of Vanderbilt and Belmont universities. In a memo obtained by Apple Daily Report, MacAuthority CEO Mark Gregory said he will transition into a new management role as Simply Mac looks to double its store base in short order.

GameStop (Ticker: GME) acquired a minority stake in Simply Mac in the fall of 2012 and bought its remaining shares last November. Simply Mac is now part of the company's recently organized Technology Brands segment, which runs more than 270 stores. In the fiscal quarter ended May 3, that group produced an operating profit of $6.0 million on net sales of $60.2 million.

Jul 28, 2014 7:12 AM

Dollar Tree to buy Family Dollar

Two of Dollar General's biggest competitors are set to join forces via an acquisition worth $9.2 billion. Dollar Tree plans to buy beleaguered Family Dollar to create a company with more stores than and roughly the same sales than Goodlettsville-based Dollar General.

"This is a transformational opportunity," stated Bob Sasser, Dollar Tree's Chief Executive Officer. "With the acquisition of Family Dollar Stores, Dollar Tree will become a leading discount retailer in North America, with over 13,000 stores in 48 states and five Canadian Provinces, sales of over $18 billion, and more than 145,000 associates on our team. We will continue to operate under the Dollar Tree, Deals, and Dollar Tree Canada brands, and when this transaction is complete, we will operate under the Family Dollar brand as well."

Shares of Dollar General (Ticker: DG) are down 3.6 percent in pre-market trading.

SEE ALSO: One more time, mulling a Dollar General-Family Dollar deal from last month

Jul 28, 2014 7:09 AM

CNN ranks Parnassus among world's 'coolest' bookstores

Parnassus Books scores some love from CNN, with the media giant naming the Green Hills-based entity one of the world's "coolest" bookstores. Read more here.

Jul 25, 2014 12:12 PM

Analyst calls lift Healthways, Tractor Supply

Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) are up more than 12 percent in the last of hour of trading today after Dougherty & Co. analyst Brooks O'Neil lifted his rating on the company to 'buy' from 'neutral' and said he sees the stock climbing to $20. The move came after Healthways published its second-quarter profits and said it expects to put up better margins for the rest of this year. "We still believe the earning power of the business far exceeds its current level and we think the presence of the agitator group (now with 3 board seats) has put incremental pressure on management to deliver solid results this year," O'Neil wrote. "Our thinking has evolved over the past few months to include a realization that there is limited downside and potentially positive upside here."

Also benefiting from a post-earnings analyst call is Tractor Supply. Feltl & Co. analyst Brent Rystrom now rates the stock a 'buy' instead of a 'hold,' and Rystrom now sees the Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) headed to $68 from their Wednesday close of $61.07.

Jul 24, 2014 2:30 PM