“There’s no hemming and hawing: same-store sales are the most important metric in retail, and it’s no different with Ulta,” the “Mad Money” host said. “The company posted a phenomenal 14.3 percent increase for the quarter, which is all the more amazing when you consider that it comes on top of a 15.2 percent gain one year ago.”
The cosmetics retailer attributed its same-store sales success to three key factors: traffic to the second-tier and strip malls that host its stores, price increases, and e-commerce strength.
Cramer noted that management did not mention tailwinds stemming from the “selfie generation” that seems to be driving cosmetics sales as various social media channels gain traction.
That trifecta has pushed Ulta to make plans to add 100 stores to its 1,000-store roster to meet demand at its brick-and-mortar stores, making it an unusual player in the otherwise traffic-starved world of traditional retail.
“Ulta’s in a league of its own,” Cramer said. “Ulta’s got the playbook, I just don’t know if anyone else can crib from it. That’s how special this story is. While the sun sets on the others, it shines on Ulta Beauty.”
And when millennials are not shopping for makeup, Cramer believes they are taking part in the experiential economy, particularly one red-hot sector driving experience-based spending: the cruise lines.
“Before the rise of social media, taking a cruise was kind of an old person’s game,” he said. “But now that millennials feel the need to take selfies from cool locations all over the world, they’re taking cruises like never before.”
In fact, the industry is expected to spend $ 6.8 billion in 2017 on new ships that can handle 30,000 more passengers, an investment that is expected to continue through 2018 and 2019.
“You don’t spend that kind of dough unless you’re feeling real confident about the future,” Cramer said.
“I’m looking at the new high list for the S&P 500 today, and you know what I saw? I like what I saw, which is a broad distribution among the 70 companies that hit this august list — 70 out of 500 making new highs,” the “Mad Money” host said on Wednesday.
While the rally may feel tech-driven, Cramer noticed that only 11 of the 70 companies that hit new highs were tech stocks, mostly from the semiconductor space.
Of the rest, 23 were utility companies, an understandable group to be hitting new highs considering the market’s worries about a slowing U.S. economy.
“But that leaves 36 stocks that have nothing to do with tech or utilities rallying today, and those are where I gain solace, solace that perhaps things aren’t as narrow or as unhealthy as they seem to so many,” Cramer said.
Cramer also sat down with HP Inc. President and CEO Dion Weisler, who said that the idea for the company’s blockbuster device, a mini-printer that connects to smartphones called the HP Sprocket, originally came from a conversation with an intern.
It started after a presentation HP’s interns deliver to company executives, when Weisler asked the 14- and 15-year-olds if they print. Three of them said they did not — they had no need for it.
“I said, ‘Well, hang on a second, what about putting a photo on your wall?'” the CEO told Cramer on Wednesday. “And with perfect innocence, this kid said to me, ‘What, stick my phone on the wall?’ And it was kind of at that point that we said, ‘We’ve got to make print relevant. Emergency meeting, everybody. How are we going to do that?’ and that’s when the idea of the Sprocket came up.”
Finally, Cramer spoke with John McAvoy, the chairman, president and CEO of Consolidated Edison, to find out more about the utility giant and its transition to clean energy.
“We’re leading the transition to a clean energy economy,” McAvoy told Cramer on Wednesday. “We’re very customer-focused. Customers want clean energy. The communities we serve want clean energy.”
And despite talk at the federal level of the Trump administration pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, McAvoy said customer demand is driving the move to cleaner energy.
“Energy efficiency is one of the things that we are strong advocates for. We have invested $ 290 million since 2009 in incentive and rebates. Over 320,000 customers have taken advantage of that. In addition to new facilities and lower energy bills, we have the environmental advantage equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road,” the CEO said.
In Cramer’s lightning round, he flew through his take on some caller favorite stocks, including:
Yahoo: “It can still go higher. It’s a sum of the parts situation. It’s really kind of like a mutual fund now, but it’s undervalued versus what its parts are worth. You can hold on to it.”
GW Pharmaceuticals: “I’ll tell you, as more states legalize marijuana, I get more and more worried about GW Pharma because a lot of people are going to end up buying it legally in states and they’re not going to be able to think that they can get the pills. There’s a very narrow use right now allowed for GW Pharma, so I am not going to tell you to load the boat up here.”
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