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11/26/14 04:05:13 PM

J. C. Penney Company, Inc., Tiffany & Co., AutoZone, Inc.

J. C. Penney Company, Inc.(JCP) : In a look at what J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE: JCP) has done to revamp its store appeal, Brian Sozzi took a tour at one of the test stores at Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York. Here are his seven key takeaways: J C Penney is hoping to best last year's 2 percent holiday sales gains, with expectations of fourth-quarter same-store sales to increase by 2 to 4 percent this year. Shares were lower by 0.6 percent at %7.81. View More Analyst Ratings for JCPView the Latest Analyst Ratings 2014 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Tiffany & Co.(TIF) : Tiffany & Co.(NYSE: TIF) extended its losses Wednesday, a day after posting mixed third-quarter results and cutting its sales forecast. "Clearly, Street expectations got aggressive" based on strong performance in the past couple of quarters, Barrington's Kristine Koerber said in a note maintaining a Market Perform rating. Tiffany traded down more than 1 percent recently to $106.13 after hitting a 52-week high Tuesday, Same-store sales growth of 4 percent in the third quarter was slightly higher than expected, and included growth of 10 percent in the Americas. Demand from local customers increased at its New York flagship location, while demand from tourists there was flat compared with a year earlier, "likely due to a stronger U.S. dollar," Koerber said. Good growth in gold jewelry helped. But lower priced fashion jewelry continues to be weak, "which is no surprise as the less affluent consumer continues to be cautious with their spending," Koerber said. Same-store sales in Asia fell 2 percent, partly because of October street protests in Hong Kong, while in Japan, the measure fell by 6 percent on a higher sales tax and weak economy. Tiffany's third-quarter gross margin of 59.5 percent surpassed a previous peak of 59 percent back in 2002. A drop in gold and silver prices of 20 percent to 30 percent in 2013 finally flowed through to inventory, while a shift to higher-margin products also helped, according to Morgan Stanley's Kimberly C. Greenberger. Lower metal costs typically require at least a year to show up in gross margins according to Greenberger, who said the trend should remain favorable into 2015. Tiffany's recently launched in-house brand Tiffany T Collection helps profits and could support the company's current share price, "but we prefer to buy on the dips," Greenberger said, maintaining an Equal Weight rating and $103 target. Despite the wider margin, higher spending on marketing resulted the company's adjusted earnings of $0.76, missing the Wall Street consensus by a penny, according to Greenberger. The company cut its sales-growth forecast to the mid-to-high single digits, from the high single digits. "We're increasingly concerned" that slowing economies in Asia, Japan and Europe "will hold back earnings power until 2015," Credit Suisse's Christian Buss said in a note maintaining a Neutral rating. Buss cut his price target 3.5 percent to $108 and said marketing costs are growing faster than expected. View More Analyst Ratings for TIFView the Latest Analyst Ratings 2014 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

AutoZone, Inc.(AZO) : Sterne Agee issued an earnings preview on AutoZone, Inc.(NYSE: AZO) Wednesday. The firm maintained an Underperform rating and $550 price target. Consensus for fiscal Q1 EPS was $7.16 on revenue of $2.21 billion. Analyst Ali Faghri commented that "AZO reports fiscal first quarter 2015 earnings (Sept. - Nov. period) on December 9, 2014. We are modeling Q1 EPS of $7.15, driven by a +2.0 percent same-store sales comp (consensus at +2.6 percent), +5.5 percent y/y revenue growth, and 20 bps of y/y gross margin expansion." The firm expected "same-store sales comps of 2.0 percent in the fiscal first quarter of 2015, which would imply a modest deceleration on both a one- and two-year basis with the prior period." The forecast included "EPS of $35.19 in 2015 versus consensus of $35.35, a 11.4 percent increase on a year-over-year basis. Our estimate assumes 4.6% revenue growth and same-store sales growth of 1.7 percent. We expect gross margin to increase by 40 bps in 2015." 2016 EPS was estimated at $38.82 "versus consensus of $39.80, a 10.3 percent increase on a year-over-year basis. Our estimate assumes revenue growth of 4.5 percent and same-store sales growth of 1.7 percent. We expect gross margin expansion of 20 bps in 2016." AutoZone recently traded at $567.53, down 0.26 percent. View More Analyst Ratings for AZOView the Latest Analyst Ratings 2014 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.


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