We’re Getting Smuckered

Businesses are finding they can raise prices further than their management teams thought possible pre-pandemic. It all comes down to a prioritization of price over sales volume, and companies that get the price/volume mix right are seeing substantial margin expansion.

That’s the message my friend Sam Rines of Corbu Research has been sending clients for nearly a year now. And he backs it up with proof.

Sam can quote earnings calls all day long from companies like Smucker’s, Wingstop, and many others, all noting the same phenomenon.

The reasons for inflation are vast, and many were predictable…

  • Supply-side issues that are mostly, but not fully, resolved

  • A global shift in the location of production (aka reshoring, friend-shoring, and near-shoring)

  • Years of underinvestment in oil production and home building

But few economists identified what Sam calls POV (price over volume). So long as companies can press prices higher with minimal impact on sales volume, the Fed will find it hard to bring down inflation.

This is mainly a consumer goods issue. On the services side, the reasons for price increases are perhaps more justified: Wages in the service sector have been reset by a double-digit percentage.

In this week’s Global Macro Update discussion, Sam notes that the government no longer sets the minimum wage. Walmart does. When Walmart moved its nationwide minimum hiring rate to $14/hour, nearly all other employers had to follow suit.

All the while, unemployment rates remain at record lows.

You can watch my interview with Sam Rines by clicking the image below. You can also download the transcript here. Or, if you’d rather listen via podcast, search for “Global Macro Update” on your favorite podcast player.

Planning for the Strategic Investment Conference (SIC) continues. Our stalwart conference manager was quite literally poking me yesterday—apparently, John and I need to move faster on securing new speakers for your conference. March always sneaks up on me…

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reply to this email if you have any guests you’d like to see on Global Macro Update.

Best regards,

Ed D’Agostino
Publisher & COO

If you prefer to listen to Global Macro Update, you can do so here:


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