This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves
If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
Revenue climbed 35% to $220.5 million at the chain of poultry-saucing sports bars. Earnings grew 33% to $0.73 a share. Analysts were settling for a profit of $0.67 a share on $210.5 million in revenue.
Comps is a strong metric of concept popularity, gauging store-level success relative to where the average store was a year earlier. Well, comps at company-owned stores soared 8.9% higher. If you think that's impressive, stick around. Through the first six weeks of the current quarter, comps have clocked in with a 12.9% gain.
2. Redbox sees green
No one can tell Coinstar (NAS: CSTR) that the DVD is dead. The parent company of the Redbox chain of automated kiosks offering movie and video game rentals is growing nicely.
Rather than gush about the great quarter, let's cut right to Coinstar's savviest move of the week: taking out the competition.
Coinstar is paying $100 million to acquire NCR's entertainment business. On paper, it's buying the licensed Blockbuster Express kiosks, the DVD inventory in the machines, and certain retailer contracts. What it's really buying is peace of mind.
Redbox rates jumped 20% higher in October, and it was a gutsy move. What if Blockbuster Express stuck to its $1-a-night rentals? The point is moot now. Coinstar has the market cornered on disc-coughing kiosks -- if antitrust regulators don't try to block the deal. Wiping out the only brick-and-mortar rival and opening up its pricing elasticity make this a brilliant decision for Coinstar.
3. Fleet, don't fail me now
Zipcar (NAS: ZIP) is leveraging its car-sharing technology to help improve the public sector.
The City of Boston is turning to Zipcar to manage its fleet of city-owned vehicles. Zipcar will equip the cars with the tracking hardware that it uses for its own Zipcars. Its proprietary software will then manage usage and reservations, giving the city more efficient utilization of its fleet.
If this sounds like a win-win, you're right. Zipcar can cash in on its proven technology, while the city saves some dough through manning a more cost-effective fleet at a time when consumers are demanding greater cost controls in the public sector.
Boston isn't the first city to turn to Zipcar for this service. Chicago and Washington, D.C., have also turned to the car-sharing giant to cut some of the waste out of their fleets.
You didn't think that Zipcar was just about its 650,000 members that rent out cars by the hour, did you?
4. Head like a Whole
Running an upscale grocery store selling organic foodstuffs is apparently a pretty good place to be on this side of a slow yet determined economic recovery.
Whole Foods Market (NAS: WFM) is doing just fine these days. Comps notched impressive gains of 8.7% in its latest quarter. Let's not mistake this for a company posting strong store-level sales because it was sandbagging a year earlier. Comps during last year's fiscal first quarter rose a sharp 9.1%, pushing Whole Foods Market's two-year comps a soymilk-scintillating 17.7%.
Taking a page out of the Buffalo Wild Wings playbook, comps through the first few weeks of the current quarter are up a spectacular 9.4%.
The strong holiday quarter and the even more robust trend early in the fiscal second quarter find Whole Foods Market raising its operating margin and earnings outlook for this fiscal year.
Holy Mackey roll!
5. Dot gone
Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) may be a brick-and-mortar star after all.
Sources are telling Good E-Reader -- a tablet and e-reader news website -- that the leading online retailer will be opening a boutique-sized retail store later this year.
The very concept of Amazon in a small-box setting is absurd at first. Why would a company that prides itself on offering a vast amount of wares tie itself down to a small shop in the middle of the mall? Well, the store will reportedly showcase Amazon's evolving line of Kindle gadgets as well as books being put out by its Amazon Publishing arm.
Kindles are already being sold through many leading retailers, but this will give Amazon the ability to make sure that its Kindle e-readers and tablet are front and center.
At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings, Whole Foods Market, Amazon.com, and Zipcar.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Zipcar, Whole Foods Market, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing covered calls in Buffalo Wild Wings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Zipcar. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.