On its conference call, Nordstrom said it sees no slowing in the spending of its customers, which is why it was able to deliver a six-cent-a-share earnings beat on strong same-store sales, with positive guidance to boot. Cramer said Nordstrom is expanding into Canada as well as beefing up its Web and mobile businesses to help further bolster sales.
Ralph Lauren is another terrific high-end brand, Cramer said, a company that delivered a 22-cent-a-share earnings beat.
may have fallen behind with its fashions, but not so with Ralph Lauren.
When it comes to growth, Lululemon is one company that tops the list, said Cramer. This company also delivered strong earnings and, with only 130 stores, has plenty of room to expand.
Finally there's high-end accessory retailer Michael Kors. Kors delivered a 23-cent-a-share earnings beat on better-than-expected revenue. Is Kors the new face of luxury? Cramer said he thinks so because Kors continues to surprise to the upside quarter after quarter.
Continuing with his "Great Gatsby" index of luxury stocks, Cramer added a grocer, a restaurant and coffee chain with
, which he owns for his charitable trust,
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Cramer said that with 1,652 cafes, Panera is the high-end sandwich, soup and salad chain to beat. The company's restaurants enjoy tremendous customer loyalty, which means Panera can pass on rising food costs easily. Panera is growing earnings per share at 27% and the company plans on open 8% more stores this year.
Then there's Starbucks, a company that's expanding all over the world, especially in China, where it plans to become the preeminent aspirational coffee house. Growth trends remain strong as Starbucks, said Cramer, which is why his trust continues to own it.
Finally, Cramer said he remains a fan of Whole Foods, even though the stock has been crushed of late amid fears of slowing growth. Not so, said Cramer -- don't write off this healthy-eating giant. He said Whole Foods didn't cut guidance and growth should be returning to full steam soon.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on
American International Group
Principal Financial Group
H&E Equip Services
Cramer was bearish on
Corrections Corp of America
What's Up With Gas Prices?
With U.S. oil and natural gas production increasing by the day, why are gas prices at the pump still so high? Cramer said it has nothing to do with price gouging or speculating but a whole lot to do with a totally mismanaged energy policy.
Cramer explained that the U.S. actually has plenty of domestic oil and gas, but those resources are simply in all the wrong places and our refiners aren't matched up to handle it. There's a ton of oil stuck in our oil shale regions, he said, but there aren't any pipelines to get that oil to the refiners.
Then there are issue with the refiners themselves. Many converted their facilities to process heavier crude from the Canadian oil sands. Unfortunately, the Keystone XL pipeline has been held up in Washington, leaving these refineries with little oil to refine.
East Coast refineries that are able to process the lighter crude being produced by our oil shales can't do so because, again, there are no pipelines to move the crude east. Shipping might be a possibility, but an arcane law known as the Jones law prohibits crude from being transported on non-U.S. ships by non-U.S. crews. That's a big problem, said Cramer, as just about all tankers are made outside the U.S.
Just seven years ago the U.S. imported three million barrels a day of crude oil, noted Cramer, but today it exports one million barrels of refined petroleum a day. Why? Because prices are set on a global stage and it's more profitable to take U.S. gas and ship it elsewhere, especially given that -- you guessed it -- there are no pipelines to move refined gas to where it needs to be.
Cramer said all of these problems could be fixed with help from Washington, but without it things will continue to move at a snail's pace. Rail lines are being built to take the place of stalled pipelines, for example, but now additional tanker cars are needed. Using natural gas as a surface fuel would also help, said Cramer, but President Obama is unlikely to endorse natural gas anytime soon.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on the looming government sequestration -- the massive budget cuts -- that now is only days away. He said he's going with what the defense stocks are telling him, and that's that sequestration isn't all that bad.
Cramer said the real impact of sequestration is likely to be only $44 billion, not the $80 billion plus the scaremongers are pitching. With so many government programs in need of being shut down, wouldn't $44 billion be a good thing, he asked?
Cramer once again pitched the idea of requiring hedge funds to pay ordinary income taxes as one quick way to increase revenue at the U.S. Treasury. But, alas, the hedge fund lobby, like that of the defense industry, is too strong to allow cuts to be made.
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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
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