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Avoid retailers playing weather blame game: Pro

Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 | 5:09 PM ET
Winning brands do well in all-channel retail: Pro
Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 | 12:34 PM ET
CNBC's Courtney Reagan and Gerald Storch, CEO of Storch Advisors, discuss the impact of weather on retailer stocks. Storch thinks investors should "sell every company that mentions the weather as a problem."

Stay away from the retailers that blame their woes on the cold, wintry conditions, former Toys R Us CEO Gerald Storch said Thursday.

"I've got an exciting new investment hypothesis," he said. "Sell every company that mentions the weather, and buy every company that doesn't use that as an excuse. You can't do anything about the weather."

On CNBC's "Halftime Report," Storch, the CEO of Storch Advisors, said that two major factors were affecting the retail sector.

Best Buy doing fantastic job: Pro
Gerald Storch of Storch Advisors CEO, thinks Best Buy is the "ultimate all-channel retailer." He is concerned their category is tough, though.

"One, you can call it the Internet typhoon if you want to," he said. "And the other, the value blizzard."

Storch cited the Internet's negative effect on foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores

"But it's also the ultimate price-transparency machine," he added. "And so prices are dropping [and] margins are being squeezed."

(Watch video: Retail is a dark hole, Cramer says)

Storch said that value was another important component of any retailer's business formula, noting that Costco and dollar stores were "doing fine."

"But if value isn't a fundamental part of your value proposition, and you have to resort to hyper price discountings," top and bottom lines would be hurt, Storch added.

His top retail picks are Macy's, Nordstrom and Best Buy.

"As far as Best Buy is concerned, I think they've done a brilliant job with what they have," Storch said, noting its innovative retailing practices and strong online shopping component.

"The overhang that they have is that many of the products that they sell are relative commodities, consumer electronics products. So, if they can't succeed in the long term in differentiating the products that they sell, then the margins are going to be squeezed even if they do everything else right," he said.

"So, I like what the management is doing at Best Buy, but I'm concerned that they're in a category that's just plain tough."

Disclosure: Neither Storch nor his firm have positions in Macy's, Nordstrom or Best Buy.


By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

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