Went to TJ Maxx today. Had to buy some crew socks. Knew that I could get them there. Knew I could get the best, either Under Armour or Nike or both. Sure enough, they had both. Twelve ninety-nine for six pairs from Under Armour and $9.99 for a half-dozen Nikes. Amazon Prime had the Under Armours for $14.79 and the Nikes for $20.49.
I have no idea how TJX got these so cheap. Was it because Sports Authority collapsed and they had excess inventory that TJX snapped up? Did both companies just make too many pairs? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that the TJ was across the street from the Stock Exchange where I work on Squawk on the Street at 14 Wall, in the basement. So it took me exactly six minutes to pick them out and buy them. I needed them for a workout tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. and I will have them in time.
This is what off-priced is all about. This is what convenience, the kind of thing that's making Federal Realty (FRT) so strong, according to Don Wood, the CEO who came on Mad Money last Thursday.
And this is what a frugal America wants.
The country's changed. It wants off-priced retail of high quality branded at everyday low prices, a line I got from the Burlington Stores (BURL) press release where it preannounced a better-than-expected forecast today, something that caused its stock to ignite for almost $4.
It's the same reason why Morgan Stanley raised its price target for Dollar General (FRT) this morning, telling people to buy it ahead of the quarter, in part because of recent channel checks showing the company has the right merchandise for males and millennials; that's quite a switch. Morgan Stanley likes the private brands DG has -- the Heartland Harvest label -- and its traffic driving perishables.
I just like the dollar-store prices. I brought in a big haul of veggies this weekend from my garden and it brought with it a remarkable pride of flies -- I use the term "pride" because these were genuinely fierce and while I tried to get them with a washcloth, I told my wife we are going to Dollar Tree to get a fly swatter before I bring any more in. I am not going to pay more than a buck for a fly swatter even though the store's about seven miles and a ton of traffic away.
You can see all of these off-pricers doing well today. Ross Stores (ROST) has it going, as does Five Below (FIVE) . It's why so many of the main-line department stores are hurting, think Macy's (M) , Kohl's (KSS) , even Nordstrom (JWN) . These companies can come in under them and under Amazon (AMZN) and you can have it now. Perhaps more important, it's no longer embarrassing. (Amazon is part of TheStreet's Growth Seeker portfolio.)
That's the secret these days in retailing. And that's the secret in picking stocks in retail, too.