Home improvement retailers are sprucing up

Despite the negative sentiment about housing, business at Pier 1, Home Depot and other home stores is picking up.

By Jim Cramer Nov 8, 2011 10:49AM

the streetIf homes are such a bad investment, if they are truly a wasting asset, it is rather surprising what people are doing to spruce them up. On Monday, Pier 1 Imports (PIR) and Home Depot (HD) got upgraded. Why not? People are shopping, and they are fixing up, and they are making their homes nicer.

 

Plus, it isn't isolated to those two. Tractor Supply (TSCO), which is a play on fixing your place up, has been an outstanding performer. Macy's (M), which we might think of it as an apparel store, has a huge housewares business.

 

Lowe's (LOW), which has been a big loser, has first stabilized and then started to go. You would think sales would simply be awful at these places if things were as bad as the headlines make them out to be.

 

Of course, some of the outperformance in these stocks is due to excellent execution. Pier 1, for example, has radically upgraded its stores and has been building out a Web presence. As the terrific Wells Fargo (WFC) recommendation makes clear, Pier 1's prices are coming in well under the private Crate & Barrel and the public Pottery Barn, which is owned by Williams-Sonoma (WSM). Wells prices a similar basket of goods at all three and finds that Pier 1 comes in 50% below these other retailers. They also throw in a price comparison with Target (TGT) and point out that Pier 1 beats the bull's-eye by 15%.


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To me, there are a couple of broader themes here. First, there's consumer spending. These places are all doing much, much better than they did during the Great Recession.

 

Second, homes are regaining some luster, even if someone can say, "Well, of course, they can't sell them, so they fix them up." I come back and say that if you are underwater and you are thinking of walking away from your mortgage, you don't go to Home Depot and do a little home improvement.

 

Finally, it is entirely possible that the spare money to shop comes from off-the-books jobs coupled with federal unemployment payments and food stamps. I urge people not to think that such a thesis is pejorative. When you consider how beneficial it is for an employer to pay off the books when it comes to health care, worker's comp and taxes, it makes too much sense for you to think it is not going on.

 

Either way, consumers have some spare cash lying around, and I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendations on both Pier 1 and Home Depot, two stocks I have long championed on their superior turnarounds and great management.

 

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned.

 

jim cramer
Jim Cramer
is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for his charitable trust.

3Comments
Nov 8, 2011 7:27PM
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There is also the possibility that home owners are "sprucing up" their homes in hopes of selling the house.  Competitive edge in a stagnate market. 

 

Or then there is the possibility that banks are "sprucing up" the foreclosure and vacant property (for an additional tax write-off) before the bull dozer crews are required .. by orders of the local powers for hazards to public safety concerns.

Nov 8, 2011 5:15PM
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Jimmy  ; (bzh) was up 15%( hov) 7%  ,( drys) 10%   today , again Jimmy you should have been talikng about these or writting yesterday , This home improvment crap is old lady poop .Sorry Jimmy but I am just expecting more from a great trader -, x  hedge fund mngr , O that x must explain your lacadazical work .    where is the deal jimmy ,  stop being a scared little bald dude ,   go jimmy go  hasta nunca
Nov 8, 2011 5:16PM
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are these the same well executing companies as countrywide ,nyx,aa,and others

or are these just some random daily diarrhea?

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