2014

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Nordstrom, Jos. A Bank Clothiers, Panera Bread, Citi Trends and Union Pacific

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 the Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN-Free Report), Jos. A Bank Clothiers Inc. (Nasdaq: JOSB-Free Report), Panera Bread Co. (Nasdaq: PNRA-Free Report), Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report) and Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Nordstrom Expanding in California

Striding ahead with its store expansion strategy, Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN-Free Report) announced its plans to open a Nordstrom rack store by the spring of 2014 in Riverside County, CA. The 45,000 square-feet mall will be located at the 91 Freeway and Central Avenue, Riverside Plaza.

The Riverside Plaza boasts the presence of retailers, services and restaurants such as Trader Joe's, Vons, Forever 21, Jos. A Bank Clothiers Inc. (Nasdaq: JOSB-Free Report), Regal Cinemas, California Pizza Kitchen and Panera Bread Co. (Nasdaq: PNRA-Free Report). Nordstrom is likely to benefit from this ambience.

Nordstrom's current store count stands at 22 full-line stores and 24 Rack stores across Southern California. The company also has a full-line store at The Galleria at Tyler in Riverside.

Nordstrom's Rack stores generally offer merchandise from Nordstrom stores, Nordstrom.com and special collections from many of the renowned brands offered at Nordstrom at a significantly reduced price to customers. A vast assortment of branded apparel, accessories and shoes that are available at Nordstrom stores are offered to customers at a discount of about 30%–70%.

Nordstrom's latest store openings signify the company's commitment to strengthen its network with the aim of driving top-line growth. Nordstrom's focus on store expansion is evident from the series of Rack store openings since the beginning of fiscal 2013. So far, the company has opened 9 Rack stores including Webster, TX, Brooklyn, NY, Skokie, IL and West Palm Beach, FL.  

Nordstrom targets to double the number of Rack stores to more than 230 by 2016, with roughly 24 openings in 2013 and more than 30 in 2014. Currently, the company plans to open 13 more Rack stores during the remainder of 2013.

As of Sep 5, 2013, Nordstrom operated 247 stores, including 117 Nordstrom full-line stores, 127 Nordstrom Racks, 2 Jeffrey boutiques and 1 clearance outlet.

Seattle-based Nordstrom currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another stock worth consideration is Citi Trends, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRN-Free Report), which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Union Pacific Unveils New Technology

Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP-Free Report) recently introduced "Arrowedge," an aerodynamic fuel and locomotive technology that reduces emissions from double-stack intermodal freight trains. With the latest technological development, the company expects to enhance fuel efficiency on its locomotives, ultimately resulting in improved costs.

Union Pacific currently holds two patents for this new technology in the U.S. and is awaiting additional patents in the U.S. and Canada. Over the near term, the company expects to utilize Arrowedge in its double-stack train service between Joliet, IL and Long Beach, CA.

We believe the company is progressing well on its operating and productivity improvements. As a result, management expects operating ratio to decrease to 65% by 2017.

We believe the company has opportunities to improve yields backed by a higher rate of contract re-pricings compared to its Class I peers and increased access to West Coast intermodal business and energy related markets. Apart from strengthening its network operation, the company also focuses on customer satisfaction level, which was an impressive 93% in the second quarter.

Further, the company has also accelerated its investment plans so as to support its growth goals in network infrastructure. Union Pacific remains committed to make long-term investments of about 17–18% of total revenue over the next several years, supporting operating efficiencies, growth and returns.

For 2013, the company expects to invest about $3.6 billion with more than half of the investments targeted toward infrastructure replacement and enhancement of commercial plants. The company aims to invest nearly $1 billion in service growth and productivity projects. Management will put in approximately $450.0 million on positive train control.

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

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