Macy's (NYSE:M) stock is hardly the stocking stuffer of choice for many investors this holiday season. Yet one prominent analyst published a contrary opinion, tagging the troubled retailer as a clear and compelling buy.

On Friday, Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) prognosticator Randal Konik issued a new research note on the stock in which he substantially raised his price target from $9 to $14 per share in addition to bumping that recommendation from his previous neutral.

Facade of a Macy's store in San Francisco.

Image source: Macy's.

His basic rationale for doing this is that the U.S. economy will recover in 2021 as we (hopefully) emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. This should filter down into higher discretionary spending, which should benefit the apparel industry and, by extension, retailers strongly focused on clothing from Macy's.

But even when slapping the company's stock with an unhesitant buy and cranking its price target by 56%, Konik sounded a cautious note or two: "We do not expect a recovery to 2019 sales [and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization] as consumer behavior has forever changed," he wrote in his note. 

As for the future, "Big changes are needed to reinvigorate quality sales, but low-capital options exist, [especially] as a platform for a new class of wholesale brands."

Among the numerous problems Macy's is contending with these days is its relatively high number of brick-and-mortar stores, which are expensive to run and have suffered from severe declines in customer traffic if not full closures, along with peer retailers closed by anxious local or state healthcare authorities.

But perhaps like the Jefferies analyst, investors are getting more bullish on the stock. It rose marginally (by 0.1%) on Friday in contrast to the nearly 0.4% decline of the S&P 500 index.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.