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

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

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 19, 2013

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).


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


"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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