Sony, Microsoft Face Off; Investors Sour on Lululemon

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sony e3 microsoft xbox gaming consoles lululemon restoration hardware apple
Jae C. Hong/APSony Computer Entertainment executive Andrew House introduces the new PlayStation 4 at the Sony PlayStation E3 press briefing in Los Angeles on Monday.
Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From a home furnishings retailer turning heads with a huge burst in store-level sales to a yoga apparel chain losing its CEO, here's a rundown of the week's smartest moves and biggest blunders in the business world.

Sony (SNE) -- Winner
You don't often see the struggling consumer electronics giant taking victory lap, but Sony deserves it after putting Microsoft (MSFT) in its place during this week's E3 showdown.

Sony and Microsoft will be facing off this holiday shopping season as the PS4 and Xbox One hit the market.

Microsoft seemed to have the early momentum, unveiling a $499 price point and November availability. However, Sony followed a few hours later with a $399 price tag for its PS4. Sony also took jabs at Xbox One's online requirement for disc-based games and the potential restrictions in trading used games.

Sony won the gamers this week, and that's half the battle.

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) -- Blunder
Investors don't like abrupt resignations, especially when CEOs are doing so well.

Shares of upscale yoga apparel retailer Lululemon plunged 18 percent Tuesday after CEO Christine Day announced she was leaving the company for personal reasons. She's also stepping down from the board.

Despite Lululemon's challenges in recent months the chain's market cap popped sixfold during her five-year tenure. A change at the top is only welcome when a company's going the wrong way.

Restoration Hardware Holdings (RH) -- Winner
Results have been mixed for many retailers this earnings season, but there's no doubt about Restoration Hardware's blowout performance.

The chain that sells high-end home furnishings reported a 41 percent increase in same-store sales for its latest quarter late Thursday. Think about that. The average store rang up 41 percent more in sales than it did during the same three months a year earlier.

Restoration Hardware is also naturally raising its guidance. Investors looking for a smart way to play the housing boom may have it here. As real-estate sales pick up new home buyers are turning to Restoration Hardware to give their new digs a personal touch.

Apple (AAPL) -- Blunder
Microsoft and Sony tried to hog the spotlight at E3, but Apple didn't have to share at its own WWDC event for developers.

As expected, Apple announced the update of its iOS mobile platform and introduced its music streaming service, iTunes Radio. The only real head-turning announced was the cylinder-shaped Mac Pro, but that wasn't enough to win over Wall Street.

Shares took a hit after Apple's keynote presentation. Innovation-hungry investors hoping for bigger iPhones or bolder entries into wearable computing and smart televisions will have to wait a while longer.

Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) -- Winner
Like Sony, Comcast is a company that doesn't get invited to the winner's circle too often these days. The country's largest cable television provider continues to lose video customers, and its reputation for customer service isn't exactly something to brag about.

However, Comcast announced that it will be beefing up its Internet service by giving customers using its routers an additional signal for enhanced connectivity. Xfinity Internet customers will have access to a "xfinitywifi" signal that is completely independent from the home's own WiFi signal. It will give customers running a lot of wireless devices on a Comcast router an extra signal to get connected.

It won't be very useful if the Internet itself goes out, but that's the curse of any broadband provider.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Lululemon Athletica. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft.


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