There is evidence of spenders coveting value in furnishings. Restoration Hardware's stock was down 27 percent on Thursday after the company confirmed that the quarter was much weaker than expected.
Restoration Hardware makes expensive furniture and often caters to wealthy individuals, which could have been impacted by the decline in oil and strong dollar. Suddenly, with currencies and economies shifting, they may not be that wealthy anymore.
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Meanwhile, companies like TJX were able to beat Street estimates from strong holiday sales because of the bargains.
"Let's stick with TJX. The bargains they give you in clothes are directly related to the inability of the broadline retailers to sell branded goods from VF Corp or Ralph Lauren or Hanesbrands," Cramer said.
In the food space, Cramer heard from two companies — Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Jack in the Box — that said value offerings from competition as a reason for shortfalls.
And even though Cramer knows it sounds counterintuitive, the winner is the one that offers the most value. It is impacting the stores where we shop and the restaurants where we eat.
"There is a new generation of Cramers out there, and they aren't spending as often as they used to. And when they do, they eschew frills, they want value or they aren't buying at all," Cramer said.