The U.S.-China trade war has been generally bad for retail stocks, but it's turning out to be very good for discount-clothing chain Burlington Stores (BURL) -- which is well-positioned to cash in on the sector's woes, Jim Cramer says.
"Sometimes the market is so stupid it gives you amazing opportunities that you have no right to have -- [the] opportunity to buy stocks that are being pulled down by trade-talk snags when those stocks represent companies that are precisely the biggest winners when the talks appear broken down," Cramer said during an exclusive video-conference call with members of his Action Alerts PLUS club for investors.
Cramer said that his charitable trust bought BURL shares earlier this year when the stock was getting dragged down in the retail sector's undertow every time trade tensions ratcheted up. Retail stocks have generally suffered from the trade war as investors assume U.S. tariffs on the many Chinese-made goods that stores sell will shrink profit margins.
But Cramer said that every time retailers' shares took a hit from the latest negative trade-war headlines, his trust bought more Burlington shares. That's because BURL actually stands to gain -- big time -- from the struggles that full-price department-store chains face as they get hammered by tariffs.
Cramer said that when these retailers are hurting and need cash, they'll dump inventory at cheap prices on Burlington and other discount chains. "That's why we had the conviction to just stand there and buy Burlington into a real sell-off in retail. Sure enough, not that long ago the company reported [earnings] and shot the lights out -- for precisely the reasons we laid out for you," he said.
"In hindsight it looks so easy, [but] in truth, it was anything but, because the stock trades wildly and the last quarter wasn't good," Cramer said. However, the expert said he had faith in Burlington in part because he met company executives and got assurances that they wouldn't repeat some bad fashion selections that had hurt the stock previously.
"You needed faith [in the company]. I had it -- especially because it was the last quarter of retiring [CEO] Tom Kingsbury, a hero of mine," Cramer said. "And you had to believe in your thesis and your conviction that the sellers were just plain wrong. And that's what happened -- and that's how we hit the jackpot."
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