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Zacks Industry Outlook Highlights: Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Apple and Microsoft

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CHICAGO, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Zacks Equity Research discusses the U.S. retail industry, including Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. (NYSE: BBW), Apple Inc (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

A synopsis of today's Industry Outlook is presented below. The full article can be read at  

Link: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/26346/retail-industry-stock-outlook-march-2013

"Transformation" is the new mantra among retailers. Despite rapid technological advancements which are influencing consumer behavior, the retail industry continues to reinvent, redesign and revitalize its physical store formats to maintain their dominance.

Of late, retail giants including Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), Target, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. (NYSE: BBW) are focused on revisiting and re-evaluating conventionality and traditional business traits, while envisioning its brick-and-mortar store merchandise offerings. Additionally, these companies continue to actively re-engineer and re-tool various systems and processes.

Retail groups are coming up with strategic initiatives to boost operating efficiencies, drive growth and enhance shareholder value. Most of the retailers are focusing on drastically abridging costs to ensure competent operating channels. We believe that such measures are necessary to gain competitive advantage over peers. However, a focus on improving the top line should be prioritized to accelerate long-term growth.

The above-mentioned traits are made clear seeking the example of JC Penney, which has left no stones unturned to bring the company back on the growth trajectory. Management has taken up several initiatives -- from implementation of a new pricing strategy, refreshed logo, strategic merchandise and cost reduction -- while enhancing the shopping experience of customers. The company targets expenses to be 27% of sales by the end of the transformation process.

Moreover, the leading specialty retailer of consumer electronic products, Best Buy, shuttered stores which did not contribute to its growth, while modifications of others are also in the cards. The company plans to transform its big-box format to a big profit center by redesigning its prototype stores to resemble Apple Inc's (Nasdaq: AAPL) retail store format. Best Buy is not the first one to resort to such mimicry, as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and many others have already opened stores imitating the Apple format.

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Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
support@zacks.com
http://www.zacks.com

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



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