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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: J. C. Penney, Best Buy, Wal-Mart Stores, Amazon.com and Microsoft

JCP BBY WMT AMZN MSFT

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 17, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include J. C. Penney Company Inc. (JCP - Analyst Report)-Free Report), Best Buy Company Inc. (BBY - Analyst Report)-Free Report), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report)-Free Report), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report)-Free Report) and Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Analyst Report)-Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Is Store-Within-a-Store the New Retail Mantra?

Store-within-a-store has been making headlines of late, though the concept is nothing new to retailers. Owing to the shift in consumers’ buying behavior, retailers find this approach more viable and profitable to reach the target audience. The strategy seems compelling for many retailers and is often considered as a game changer, as it facilitates displaying different brands under one roof and ensuring a rise in footfall.

Simply put, and as the term denotes, the retailers offer space to product makers inside their own stores in return of rental fees. Product manufacturers in turn appoint staffs by themselves to manage the counter, thus lowering overhead expenses for retailers. Manufacturers are also in constant fight to avail the best space and offer efficient in-store customer service. The concept works for both the parties - while retailers are saved from managing inventories of these manufacturers, the product makers do not have to set up their own stores.

J. C. Penney Company Inc. (JCP - Analyst Report)-Free Report) is one such retailer which has been focusing on this business strategy for quite some time. We believe this might be a clever move for the company to reinvigorate growth. The company already showcases shops-in-shop from brands such as MNG Mango, Liz Claiborne and Sephora, and more remain in the pipeline.

J. C. Penney added 681 Joe Fresh apparel shops within its stores in the latest concluded quarter and plans to add newly designed home departments during the second quarter of fiscal 2013. J. C. Penney also has plans to add 60 more Sephora stores in this fiscal.

The recent one to join the league is consumer electronic retailer Best Buy Company Inc. (BBY - Analyst Report)-Free Report), which has been facing stiff competition from industry bellwethers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report)-Free Report) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report)-Free Report) to increase its footfall, sales and profitability.

Best Buy is leaving no stone unturned to woo consumers and attain incremental revenue, and it is well evident from its strategic initiative of opening over 1,400 "Samsung Experience Shops" within its stores, announced in April. These shops offer Samsung’s smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other accessories. The model seems to be working.

Taking the initiatives further, Best Buy recently unveiled its partnership with Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Analyst Report)-Free Report) to roll out “Windows Store” across its 500 outlets in the U.S. with an additional 100 in Canada. The stores will feature Windows-based PCs, tablets, Windows Phone, Xbox and various accessories. Unlike Apple stores, which are approximately 200 square feet, these “Windows Store” will essentially cover 1,500 to 2,200 square feet and will employ 1,200 sales associates.

Microsoft has been grappling with plummeting sales of Windows 8 operating system and believes that the platform provided by Best Buy would help them reverse their fortunes. For Best Buy, the deal adds more compelling products to its portfolio to better compete against the discount giants and online retailers.  

Now, it remains to be seen whether the store-within-a store concept can put these companies back on the growth trajectory and lead as an example for others to follow.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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