Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Retail Earnings Ahead

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With the markets completing their sixth week in rally mode, Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers Friday that next week's earnings will set the tone for the rest of the year as many retailers will provide their last update before the holiday shopping season begins.

But before retail kicks into high gear, Cramer said he'll be watching the Salesforce.com ( CRM) DreamForce conference for all the latest from the tech sector and all the best the cloud has to offer.

Tuesday brings earnings from Best Buy ( BBY), Home Depot ( HD) and Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS). Cramer said that he still likes both Best Buy and Home Depot but that Dick's has been a bit of a downer recently.

Next on Wednesday, it's JCPenney ( JCP), Staples ( SPLS) and Williams-Sonoma ( WSM) in the spotlight, along with John Deere ( DE) and ADT ( ADT). Cramer said that both Deere and ADT have been disappointing, and he's still not a fan of JCPenney. He was more upbeat on Staples however, and said Williams-Sonoma will likely fall on its earnings, only to bounce right back as it often does.

Then on Thursday, it's more retailers with Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF), Dollar Tree ( DLTR), GameStop ( GME) and Target ( TGT). Cramer was bullish on Dollar Tree and GameStop, but did not expect any good news from either Abercrombie or Target.

Finally on Friday, Cramer said he'll be watching Foot Locker ( FL), which will tell him whether to buy Nike ( NKE), and Ann Taylor ( ANN), a stock that reminds him that women's apparel is too hard a segment to judge. Last but not least is Petsmart ( PETM), a stock that's up only 8% on the year, but should be picking up steam.

Executive Decision: George John

In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with George John, CEO of Rocket Fuel ( FUEL), the programmatic advertising platform that allows companies to place ads in real time. Rocket Fuel had a stellar IPO this past September, rising 93% on its first day of trading. But shares fell to a low of $37 a share in early November before rebounding sharply on its 132% increase in revenues this quarter.

John said that programmatic ad buying allows for a better experience for everyone. He said advertisers get to pick the exact time and placements for all their ads, while users get more relevant ads and developers can more easily monetize their apps. John also noted that brand advertising also works well with programmatic buying, as companies can drive results to the goals they're trying to achieve.

When asked about the competition from behemoth Google ( GOOG), John said that Rocket Fuel has been competing against Google since day one and has seen incredible growth even with Google continuing to dominate the market for online ads. John noted that mobile, social and video now account for a quarter of Rocket Fuel's revenues.

Cramer said that Rocket Fuel's revenue growth has been astounding, and the company's conference call and investor materials are very informative for any investor who wants to learn why programmatic ad buying online is the future.

Executive Decision: Jack Hartung

For his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Jack Hartung, CFO of Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG), a stock that's up 84% for the year and 45% since Cramer last checked in with Hartung in July.

Hartung started off by commenting on food prices. He said that Chipotle has always had high food costs given the ingredients they use, but has also always been slow to raise its prices. With prices now at the high end of the range, Hartung said the company will likely consider a price increase in the middle of next year, but will first wait to see how the economy and consumer confidence are doing.

Hartung also reiterated what makes Chipotle different from other restaurant chains that have been struggling. He said that customers increasingly want to know where their food comes from, which is why Chipotle takes the time to source the best ingredients and teach the staff how to cook it properly. Chipotle never competes on price, Hartung said, only on quality, where it is second to none.

Chipotle is also about great service, which is why Hartung noted that the chain keeps its best people online during the lunch and dinner rush and would never interrupt the throughput by trying to train new employees during those hectic times. He said that complexity, whether via staffing or a bloated menu, only slows things down and creates bad economics.

Finally, Hartung provided an update on European sales, which are following the same sales trends as the U.S. in its early days, and also on Shophouse, the company's Asian kitchen concept, which has five locations and is doing well.

Cramer said that while he's not sure where Chipotle will be trading in the short term, over the next few years, the stock's direction is crystal clear.

Lightning Round

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Radian Group ( RDN), Genworth Financial ( GNW), Quiksilver ( ZQK), G-III Apparel Group ( GIII), Sony ( SNE), Dominion Resources ( D) and Foundation Medicine ( FMI).

Cramer was bearish on Maxim Integrated Products ( MXIM), National Bank of Greece ( NBG) and NV Energy ( NVE).

Homework

In his "Homework" segment, Cramer followed up on a handful of stocks that stumped him during earlier shows. He said that Abaxis ( ABAX) is far from a great stock and he'd stay away from that one, but he was more bullish on Pitney Bowes ( PBI), after the company announced a new partnership with eBay ( EBAY).

Cramer said he wasn't a fan of BJ's Restaurants ( BJRI), as the company has hit several speed bumps in its regional-to-national rollout, but he did like NCR ( NCR), the old-school tech giant that's moving away from hardware, like ATM machines, and into more lucrative software products.

Cramer also responded to questions sent via Twitter to @JimCramer. He said to steer clear of Alcoa ( AA), as there's still a huge glut of aluminum in the world, but he remained a big fan of CVS Caremark ( CVS), which continues to have great earnings.

No Huddle Offense

In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on the news that Facebook ( FB) offered $3 billion to buy the social photo app SnapChat.

Would Facebook have been dramatically overpaying for another fad like OMGpop? Cramer said that depends. In the race to win the mobile, social and cloud space, Cramer said it's worth paying $3 billion just to keep a service like SnapChat out of the hands of the other guy. Just imagine if Apple ( AAPL) had made a preemptive bid for Twitter ( TWTR), Cramer pondered.

Yes, the thought of 20-something founders spurning a $3 billion offer reminds us all of the dot-com bubble, but in today's Internet race, companies can't afford to ignore the next hot thing, which SnapChat represents.

To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.

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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.

To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS was long AAPL and FB.

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