The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Macy's, Target, Wal-Mart Stores, Kohl's and BMC Software

CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS) and BMC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:BMC).


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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Retailers' Seasonal Hiring Plans

The labor market is nothing great and the unemployment rate keeps hovering above 8%. Amidst such a scenario, a "We are Hiring" board will bring a lot of cheer for the job seekers. The upcoming holiday season promises exactly that as the retailers usually go on a hiring spree in October to December.

Data compiled by National Retail Federation notes that retailers would employ between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workforce in 2012 holiday season compared with roughly 607,500 hired in the prior year. The nation's largest retail trade group also hinted of a 4.1% jump in holiday sales to $586.1 billion, which is short of the 5.6% growth registered last year, but is above the 10-year average sales increment of 3.5%. Online sales for the holiday season are projected to increase 12% to approximately $96 billion, according to

Amidst upcoming political tussle, the sluggish economic condition and a soft job market, the data seems to be encouraging at least in the near term, as it hints at a positive approach by retailers and improving consumer confidence. The Conference Board recently reported that Consumer Confidence Index climbed to 70.3 in September from 61.3 in August.

Thus, we believe retailers will leave no stone unturned to tap this improved trend and will employ strategies including early hours store openings, promotional events, free shipping on online purchases and discounting activities.

Big retail giants such as Macy's Inc. (NYSE:M), Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS) and Toys "R" Us Inc. have announced their hiring plans for the upcoming holiday season as they expect increasing store traffic, betting on regained consumer confidence buoyed by recovery in the U.S. housing market and the gradual drop in gasoline prices.

Cincinnati-based Macy's hinted of employing approximately 80,000 seasonal staff for its Macy's and Bloomingdale's outlets, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers, portraying a 2.5% increase from last year, when the retailer appointed about 78,000 associates.

Target plans to employ 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal workforces, less than 92,000 it hired last year. Minneapolis-based general merchandise and food discount operator indicated that it has retained 30% of the temporary staff it appointed last year. Toys "R" Us Inc. plans to increase its seasonal headcounts by 13% to 45,000 this year from 40,000 last year.

Bentonville, Arkansas based Wal-Mart Stores disclosed plans to sign up over 50,000 seasonal workers, as it geared up for the holiday season. Kohl's indicated that it will recruit over 52,700 personnel, as it prepares itself for the busiest part of the year, implying a growth of 10% from the last year. The department store also expects to appoint 5,700 associates at its distribution centers and 30 seasonal staff for its credit operations.

Though the recruitment drive sounds promising, economic conditions remains weak. The ongoing European crisis, softening economic situation in China and the mounting Middle East tension remain a grim reality and could dent the modest U.S. recovery.

BMC Serves PrimeLending

BMC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:BMC) continues to build its customer base aggressively, recently winning a new deal from PrimeLending. The residential mortgage company has deployed "BMC FootPrints" for effectively managing its increasing service desk requests.

The company realized that it could effectively use this technology in multiple departments ranging from HR to Licensing. We believe this will help PrimeLending in the long run, as the company was looking for an effective system to address the incremental employee dissatisfaction with the functioning of the help desk performance. The company also needed a solution to support its growth.

This latest development comes on the heels of a separate deal with Royal DSM that BMC won late last month. The company will be offering its software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based Remedy OnDemand to Royal DSM, which is expected to expand its corporate IT offerings and improve customer satisfaction.

The selection of this SaaS-based solution will help Royal DSM to increase its service management capabilities, which will help it to better manage its customers. This new implementation is expected to improve the process execution capabilities of the company.

We believe that this particular product from BMC will find many takers, as it makes life easier for retailers and merchandisers. BMC has been enjoying a steady flow of deals and is also witnessing steady growth in its SaaS-based business. Cloud bookings have also improved.

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