Cramer's Mad Money - Invest in America: Macy's (12/7/09)

Includes: CTL, M, MSO, S, T, VZ, WIN, ZION
by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money Program, Monday December 7.

Invest in America with CEO Terry Lundgren, Macy's (NYSE:M), Martha Stewart Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO)

Cramer began his week-long "Invest in America" series with an in-depth interview with Macy's (M) CEO Terry Lundgren, who emphasized the crucial role of the American consumer in the recent recovery: “The consumer didn’t spend last year, and I’m counting on the consumer spending a little more than they spent last year … and that’s all we need. Because our expenses are lower now, our inventory’s lower now, so we’ve been able to leverage those things to turn it into a positive.”

On Macy's success in controlling inventory, Lundgren said the secret is getting to know the customers, their preferences and buying habits. The company's "My Macy's" concept tailor-makes store experiences to suit regional tastes. The company is divided into 69 districts with a managing team of 17 to 20 people in each district. Lundgren calls the My Macy's program, "the biggest change we've made in 30 years."

Macy's is also using technology to grow; is expected to generate $1 billion in sales, a 16% increase from last year. The company has purchased devices to monitor and give feedback on inventory.

Cramer took a tour of the legendary Macy's in New York City and visited the Martha Stewart Omnimedia (MSO). Macy's is the sole distributor of Martha Stewart products which have been selling very well, especially housewares. Tommy Hilfiger welcomed Cramer and gave his partnership with Macy's credit for allowing the company to provide quality merchandise at low prices. Hilfiger made the startling statement that this year has been the best for Tommy Hilfiger in 25 years. Rachel Roy expressed her gratitude to Macy's for approaching her with a deal that has enabled her to sell high fashion items at a discount to her loyal customers.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Windstream (NASDAQ:WIN), Qwest (NYSE:Q)

The bulls have run into a new sector, this time telecom. Cramer observed that money was flowing into Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint Nextel (S), Windstream (WIN), Qwest (Q), even though the Dow was flat. Cramer recommends buying any of these names except for Sprint. The upsurge in the sector is the result of investors running into the stocks for their rich yields. The positive jobs number, which indicates sales, fueled bullish sentiment.

CEO Interview: Harris Simmons, Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION)

Cramer asked Harris Simmons how his bank has been weathering the economic challenges. Zions has raised over $1 billion in capital over the past six quarters and its reserves have risen 15%. The constant challenge faced by Zions is to balance the rising need for capital with concern over the dilution of its shares, and Simmons says the bank is taking the conservative approach. In addition to reserves, the bank has a strong core deposit base and great margins. However, the company is still being punished for its exposure to commercial real estate. Cramer thinks Zions is undervalued and says it is a buying opportunity.


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