Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fred Segal Closes at SLS

Part of the SLS business plan was to bring popular Los Angeles restaurants and shopping options to Las Vegas in an attempt to capture the LA crowd. One example of that was having Fred Segal as the exclusive retail partner of the resort.

The plan doesn't seem to be working, as this week it was reported that all seven of the Fred Segal stores at SLS have closed and left town.

Respected Las Vegas blogger David McKee tweeted: "SLS Las Vegas: Now w. 100% less Fred Segal!"

This photo has also been making the rounds, showing an empty Fred Segal location at SLS:

Photo: Stephen G. Hall.

It's no secret that SLS has been struggling to attract visitors which has led to poor financial performance. The Fred Segal departure doesn't look good, but retail only makes up about 3% of the SLS revenue stream. If they can replace those stores with something that makes more money it might actually end up being a good thing. Maybe.

SLS is struggling financially Part 1.
SLS is struggling financially Part 2.

Friday, August 28, 2015

July 2015 Revenue and Visitation Numbers

July 2015 Gaming Revenue and Visitor Statistics have been released.

Las Vegas visitation was up a strong 5.3% in July year over year. Citywide occupancy, average room rates, revenue per available room, and total room nights occupied were all up across the board. I'm impressed, even more so considering that it was a slow convention month with attendance down 9.4%

Perhaps the strongest increase was in air traffic, which increased 8.8% year over year in July.

Gaming revenue on the Strip was down 2.09%. High roller play was still a little soft with baccarat down 20.8% which isn't as bad as the previous month. Craps was also down 25.5 on the heels of Steve Wynn lowering odds to 2X at the beginning of the month. I doubt that move had much of an impact though.

Downtown table games were strong again while slots were also up a little bit - the combined total resulted in gaming revenue up 6.54%. The headline was strong craps revenue which was up 39.34%. It's pretty unlikely that some Wynn players moved downtown in protest, but you never know.

The strength in the Las Vegas locals market took a hit as the Boulder Strip was down 11% in July while North Las Vegas was down 9.4% year over year.

So, really strong visitation numbers for July. Really strong. Gaming was mixed with a slight decline on the Strip, but strong downtown. As much as I would like to say that people are migrating downtown for the better gaming odds, I don't know if that's really the case. Weakness in the overseas markets are probably as much to blame for the Strip numbers as anything.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jim Murren News3LV Interview Highlights

MGM Resorts International chief executive officer Jim Murren did a TV interview with Jeff Gillan of KSNV News3LV the other day.

Some highlights:

Despite lowered revenues over the past year that he called growing pains, Murren is still bullish on Macau citing infrastructure improvements: a bridge from Hong Kong, development of the neighboring Hengqin island, a high speed rail network, expansion of the airport and light rail. Macau makes up about 20% of the company's revenue.

Talking about Las Vegas Murren highlighted a growing convention business and increased flight activity at McCarran International Airport. He talked about shifting demographics noting that the average age of the Las Vegas tourist is lowering. People are coming to Las Vegas for shows, entertainment, conventions, music festivals, sporting events - "Many of them have no interest in gambling and that's perfectly fine with me."

Murren still thinks Las Vegas will get a hockey team and he wants to attract locals with the new arena and park. Speaking about complaints that there will be a lack of parking at the arena, Murren said, "What's wrong with walking? Get off your butt and walk a little bit. We have garages up and down the Strip, which by the way are free."
And casinos, restaurants and bars attached to those garages!

Murren confirmed that he's not selling The Mirage.

Talking about a new name for Monte Carlo Murren said there will be an announcement by the end of the year. They're close to selecting a name that will attract millennials, people who are sports and entertainment oriented, and people who are spontaneous.

Related: Jim Murren Nevada Public Radio interview highlights from back in June.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lucky You - Las Vegas Movie Review

I had avoided the 2007 movie Lucky You (starring Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana) because I had the impression that it wasn't really about Las Vegas, but focused more on the love story between the main characters. I was wrong.

While the love story is prominent, the movie is heavily based on Las Vegas, poker and gambling. The dialog is really strange - it's like the writers had a poker glossary and tried to use each and every term before the end credits. Some of the most ridiculous "people don't talk like this" stuff I have ever seen in a movie.

Lucky You isn't good - but I strangely would encourage any Las Vegas or gambling fan to watch it just to see how bad it is. It falls into the "so bad it's good category" in my opinion. With so much gambling jargon being thrown around it's almost like watching a parody of a poker movie at times.

The cast isn't terrible with Robert Duvall, Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Shannon having supporting roles, which makes the insanity of the robotic dialog even more head scratching.

As far as Las Vegas scenery, they didn't do much in the way of creative hotel placement that you sometimes see in Vegas movies. Most of the poker action takes place at Bellagio and Binion's (or sets made to look like those places, although the film was shot on location in Las Vegas).

I was expecting to see a standard run of the mill rom-com that I watched just because of Las Vegas, but what I got was a crazy movie that I honestly want to watch again to make fun of the dialog and improbable poker scenarios that play out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Judds Venetian Residency

Popular mother-daughter 80's and 90's country duo The Judds will be reuniting for a nine-show mini residency called "Girls Night Out" at The Venetian between October 7-24, 2015.

The Judds had a farewell tour in 1991 when mother Naomi left the duo due to illness. The farewell concert of the tour was one of the most watched pay-per-view events of all time. Daughter Wynonna went on to have a successful solo career throughout the 90's.

Over the years The Judds have reunited a few times, but it was widely thought they wouldn't do any more touring together. Given the small number of dates and the rarity of The Judds performing together I'm guessing these shows will sell out easily.

If you include Wynonna solo songs The Judds have 20 number one country hits, so there won't be a shortage of material at The Venetian in October.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Las Vegas Stocks Fall in Global Selloff

In what has been dubbed on Twitter as Black Monday - stocks were down in a big way today as China fears caused a global selloff. The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all fell by more than 3.5% on the day.

The big Las Vegas stocks were hard hit as they rely on the China economy in their Macau operations. Wynn Resorts fell almost 6.5%, MGM Resorts International was down 5% and Las Vegas Sands was off by 4%.

Even the regional gaming companies without China operations were affected by the selloff. Boyd Gaming was down by 3.3% and Penn National fell by just over 2.5%.

Caesars Entertainment bucked the trend however as they were up almost 12% on favorable bankruptcy news and good Atlantic City numbers. The fact that Caesars doesn't have any Macau operations also probably helped on this particular day.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rio Pool and Strip View Photos

When I stayed in a Rio Samba suite I took a few pictures from my room of the Strip and the Rio Pool.