Specialty retailer and shopping mall staple�Express (NYSE: EXPR ) delivered a stellar earnings report last week that delighted investors and analysts alike. The beat was impressive, given that many specialty retailers remain challenged by macroeconomic tepidity and unseasonable weather patterns. Yet the real news regarding the company is not so much its recent performance but its upcoming focus. With management's latest comments in mind, let's take a closer look at Express.
The tone just a few months back was much different for Express management, which was anticipating a more hesitant shopper base coupled with a large disconnect between spring break and the Easter holiday (not to mention a dreadful 2012). The company wisely chose to combat these factors with a very active promotional campaign -- namely a 40%-off, no-nonsense campaign that seemed to resonate with cost-conscious mall-goers. While same-store sales were flat on a year-over-year basis, management was excited to see a higher conversion rate in existing stores. More encouraging was the company's Web effort, with e-commerce growing an impressive 48% -- representing a total of 14% of the company's entire sales.
Top 10 Value Stocks To Watch For 2015: WH Smith PLC (SMWH)WH Smith PLC is a United Kingdom-based retail company. The Company has two businesses divisions: Travel and High Street. The Company's Travel division sells a range of newspapers, magazines, books and impulse products for people on the move and a broader convenience range in hospitals and workplaces. The Company's High Street sells a wide range of stationery, books, newspapers, magazines and impulse products, as well as a small range of entertainment products.The Company�� subsidiaries include WH Smith PLC, WH Smith Retail Holdings Limited, WH Smith High Street Holdings Limited, WH Smith Travel Holdings Limited, WH Smith High Street Limited, WH Smith Travel Limited and WH Smith Hospitals Holdings Limited. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Sofia Horta e Costa]
Hays Plc (HAS) climbed 2.2 percent after the recruitment company said quarterly fees increased in its European markets. WH Smith Plc (SMWH) jumped the most in six months after raising its final dividend and saying it plans to repurchase an additional 50 million pounds ($80 million) of shares. Melrose Industries Plc (MRO) added 1.8 percent after KKR & Co. said it will pay about $1 billion for two of its U.S. industrial-products companies.
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Vitamin Shoppe Inc (VSI)
Vitamin Shoppe, Inc., incorporated on September 27, 2002, is a specialty retailer and direct marketer of vitamins, minerals, herbs, specialty supplements, sports nutrition and other health and wellness products. During the fiscal year ended December 29, 2012 (fiscal 2012), the Company marketed over 400 different brands, as well as its own brands, which include Vitamin Shoppe, BodyTech and True Athlete. The Company sells its products through two segments: retail and direct. In the Company's retail segment, the Company had a total of 286 new stores during the fiscal 2012. As of January 26, 2013, the Company operated 579 stores in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Ontario, Canada, primarily located in high-traffic regional retail centers. In the Company's direct segment, the Company sells its products directly to consumers through the Internet, primarily at www.vitaminshoppe.com. On February 14, 2013, Vitamin Shoppe Mariner, Inc. acquired Super Supplements, Inc.
The Company's retail segment includes its retail store format. Its retail stores are is located in diverse geographic and demographic markets, ranging from urban locations in New York City, to suburban locations in Plantation, Florida and Manhattan Beach, California. As of January 26, 2013, the Company leased the property for all of its 579 stores. The Company's primary warehouse and distribution center and corporate headquarters are consolidated into a leased, 230,000 square-foot facility.
The Company offers a selection of vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathic remedies, specialty supplements, such as fish oil, probiotics, glucosamine and Co Q10, sports nutrition, weight management, as well as natural bath and beauty, pet supplements and options for a healthy home. The Company's offers includes approximately 17,500 stock keeping units (SKUs) from over 400 brands. The Company offers products to its assortment in its Vitamin Shoppe, BodyTech, True Athlete and O! ptimal Pet brands, which include products, such as Ultimate Man, Ultimate Women, Whey Tech Pro 24 and Natural Whey Protein. The Company also offers an assortment from national brands, such as Optimum Nutrition, USP Labs, Garden of Life, Cytosport, Nature's Way, Solaray and Solgar. This assortment is designed to provide the Company's customers with a selection of available product in order to help them achieve their health and wellness goals.
The vitamin and mineral product category includes multi-vitamins, which many consider to be a foundation of a healthy regimen, lettered vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, D, E, and B-complex, along with trace minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc. Certain herbs can be taken to help support specific body systems, including ginkgo to support brain activity and milk thistle to help support liver function, as well as other less common herbs, such as holy basil for stress support and blood sugar control and black cohosh for menopause support. Herbal products include whole herbs, standardized extracts, herb combination formulas and teas.
Categories of specialty supplements include omega fatty acids, probiotics and condition specific formulas. Certain specialty supplements, such as organic greens, psyllium fiber and soy proteins, are taken for added support during various life stages. Folic acid is specifically useful during pregnancy. Super antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q-10, grapeseed extract and pycnogenol, are taken to address specific conditions. High ORAC (oxygen radical absorptive capacity) fruit concentrates like gogi, mangosteen, pomegranate and blueberry are taken to prevent oxygen radical damage. Other specialty supplement formulas are focused to support specific organs, biosystems and body functions. The Company offers approximately 3,000 SKUs in sports nutrition.
The Company's other category include natural beauty and personal care, diet and weight management supplements, natural pet food, and low carb foo! ds. Natur! al beauty and personal care products offer an alternative to traditional products that often contain synthetic and/or other ingredients that the Company's customers find objectionable. The Company offers approximately 3,000 SKUs for its other category. The Company's natural pet products include nutritionally balanced foods and snacks along with condition specific supplements such as glucosamine for joint health. Its variety of diet and weight management products range from low calorie bars, drinks and meal replacements to energy tablets, capsules and liquids.
The Company competes with Vitamin World, GNC, Whole Foods, Costco, Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Amazon.com, Puritan's Pride, Vitacost.com, Bodybuilding.com, Doctors Trust, Swanson and iHerb.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Jeremy Bowman]
What: Shares of the Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE: VSI ) were looking under the weather today, falling as much as 10% after a disappointing earnings report.
- [By John Udovich]
Vitamin Shoppe Inc (NYSE: VSI), Books-A-Million, Inc (NASDAQ: BAMM) and Perfumania Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ: PERF) have the dubious distinction of being�the worst performing small cap�specialty retail stocks for this year (according to Finviz.com) with losses of 4.85% and�3% and a gain of 0.61%, respectively, since the start of the year (See my previous article: This Year�� Best Performing Small Cap Specialty Retail Stocks? UNTD, TA & HZO). I should mention that the definition of specialty retail stocks might vary from one stock screener to another, but what�� clear is that these three small cap retail stocks have been heading in the wrong direction for investors for much of this year. �With that in mind, what sort of performance should investors expect from these small cap specialty retail stocks on Black Friday and for the all important holiday season? Here is what you need to be aware of:
- [By Brian Pacampara]
Sales growth this last quarter was up only about 6%, but net income per share was up 21%. They pay a $0.60 dividend which gives them a dividend yield of 1.4%. Their cash flow yield is 4.6%, so they could easily raise their dividend. They are by far the leader in a very fragmented industry. I believe both [Vitamin Shoppe (NYSE: VSI ) ] and GNC will do well and I think they may make a fair pairing in a portfolio. Stability versus growth.
They do have $1.1 billion in debt. But they generate about $200 million in cash flow a year and they have $174 million in cash, so that shouldn't be a problem. Their cash flow is very high, so in my opinion, is reason enough to believe they will beat the S&P 500 over the next ten years.
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage Inc (NGVC)
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc., incorporated on April 9, 2012, is a specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries and dietary supplements. The Company operates within the natural products retail industry. The Company offers products and brands, including a selection of natural and organic food, dietary supplements, body care products, pet care products and books.
The Company offers its customers an average of approximately 18,000 store-keeping units (SKUs) of natural and organic products per store, including an average of approximately 7,000 SKU of dietary supplements. As of June 30, 2012, the Company operated 55 stores in 11 states, including Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, as well as a bulk food repackaging facility and distribution center in Colorado. The size of its stores varies from 5,000 selling square feet to 14,500 selling square feet, and a new store averages 9,500 selling square feet.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By John Udovich]
Small cap Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NYSE: NGVC) and mid cap Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (NASDAQ: SFM) are taking aim at natural and organic foods supermarket giant Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), but do either of these stocks have what it takes to take on the the king of organic retailing? Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin way back in 1978 by a�twenty-five year old college dropout and a twenty-one year old�at a time when there were only a handful of natural or organic�supermarkets in the country. Today, Whole Foods Market�has 364 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom���which are sometimes referred to as ��hole Wallet��r ��hole Paycheck��given how much it costs to shop there.
- [By John Udovich]
Large cap natural and organic foods supermarket giant Whole Foods Market, Inc (NASDAQ: WFM), otherwise known as ��hole Wallet��r ��hole Paycheck,��is not the only player in the natural or organics supermarket space for consumers and investors alike as mid cap Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (NASDAQ: SFM) and small caps Fairway Group Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: FWM) and Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc (NYSE: NGVC) are also players in the space. It should be mentioned that Whole Foods Market is down 15.7% since the start of the year and has a downward trending technical chart, but�shares are�still up 13% over the past year, up 426.3% over the past five years and up 3,108.6% since January 1992.
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: CSS Industries Inc (CSS)
CSS Industries, Inc. (CSS), incorporated on November 5, 1923, is a company primarily engaged in the design, manufacture, procurement, distribution and sale of seasonal and all occasion social expression products, principally to mass market retailers. These seasonal and all occasion products include gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, boxed greeting cards, gift tags, decorative tissue paper, decorations, classroom exchange Valentines, decorative ribbons and bows, floral accessories, Halloween masks, costumes, make-up and novelties, Easter egg dyes and novelties, craft and educational products, stickers, memory books, stationery, journals, notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, and other gift items that commemorate life�� celebrations. In September 5, 2012, it sold the Halloween portion of its Paper Magic business to Gemmy Industries (HK) Limited.
CSS��product provides its retail customers the opportunity to use a single vendor for much of their seasonal product requirements. A substantial portion of CSS��products are manufactured, packaged and/or warehoused in 10 facilities located in the United States, with the remainder purchased primarily from manufacturers in Asia and Mexico. The Company�� products are sold to its customers by national and regional account sales managers, sales representatives, product specialists and by a network of independent manufacturers��representatives. The Company�� principal operating subsidiaries include Paper Magic Group, Inc. (Paper Magic), Berwick Offray LLC (Berwick Offray) and C.R. Gibson, LLC (C.R. Gibson). CSS designs, manufactures, procures, distributes and sells a range of seasonal consumer products primarily through the mass market distribution channel. Christmas products include gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, boxed greeting cards, gift tags, decorative tissue paper and decorations. CSS��Valentine product offerings include classroom exchange Valentine cards and other related Valen! tine products, while its Easter product offerings include Dudley�� brand of Easter egg dyes and related Easter seasonal products. CSS also designs and markets decorative ribbons and bows, all occasion boxed greeting cards, gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, decorative and waxed tissue, decorative films and foils, stickers, memory books, stationery, journals, notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, floral accessories and other gift and craft items to its mass market, craft, specialty and floral retail and wholesale distribution customers, and teachers' aids and other learning oriented products to the education market through mass market retailers, school supply distributors and teachers' stores. Key brands include Paper Magic, Berwick, Offray, C.R. Gibson, Markings, Creative Papers, Tapestry, Dudley��, Don Post Studios, Eureka, Learning Playground, Stickerfitti and iota. Key brands include Paper Magic, Berwick, Offray, C.R. Gibson, Markings, Creative Papers, Tapestry, Seastone, Dudley��, Eureka, Learning Playground and Stickerfitti.
CSS operates 10 manufacturing and/or distribution facilities located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas. Its boxed greeting cards are produced by Asian manufacturers to the Company�� specifications. Halloween make-up and Easter egg dye products are manufactured in Asia to specific formulae by contract manufacturers who meet regulatory requirements for the formularization and packaging of such products. Ribbons and bows are primarily manufactured and warehoused in seven facilities located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas. Memory books, stationery, journals and notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, and other gift items are imported from Asian manufacturers and warehoused and distributed from a distribution facility in Florence, Alabama. Floral accessories, including pot covers, foil, waxed tissue, shred, aisle runners, corsage bags and other paper! and film! products, are manufactured in a facility located in Milford, New Hampshire and Juarez, Mexico. Manufacturing includes gravure and flexo printing, waxing and converting. Products are warehoused and distributed from a distribution facility in Berwick, Pennsylvania. Other products including, but not limited to, decorative tissue paper, all occasion gift wrap, gift tags, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, classroom exchange Valentine products, Halloween masks, costumes and novelties, Easter products, decorations and school products are designed to the specifications of CSS and are imported primarily from Asian manufacturers.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
Gifts maker�CSS Industries� (NYSE: CSS ) �announced yesterday its second-quarter dividend of $0.15 per share, the same rate it's paid since 2008.
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: West Marine Inc (WMAR)
West Marine, Inc., incorporated in September 1993, is a specialty retailer of boating supplies and accessories. The Company offers an assortment of merchandise for the boat and for the boater. It operates in three segments: Stores, Port Supply and Direct-to-Customer. The Company sells to both retail and wholesale customers in its Stores segment. In addition, the Company has three franchised stores in Turkey. The Company�� Port Supply segment is its wholesale segment. The Company�� Direct-to-Customer, which includes e-commerce, catalog and call center transactions. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Stores segment generated approximately 90% of its net revenues. During 2011, products shipped to Port Supply customers directly from its warehouses represented approximately 4% of its net revenues.
During 2011, its Direct Sales segment offered customers around the world more than 75,000 products and accounted for the remaining 6% of its net revenues. Private label products, which the Company sells under the West Marine, Black Tip, Third Reef, Pure Oceans, Lifesling, SeaVolt and Seafit brand names, usually are manufactured in Asia, the United States and Europe.
During 2011, the Company opened six stores while closing 14 stores. In December 2011, it opened its Fort Lauderdale Boating Superstore, a 50,000 square foot flagship. Its flagship stores ranging in size from 21,000 to 50,000 square feet, offering an array of merchandise typically about 16,000 items, as well as displays designed to help customers make informed product selections. It also operates large format stores, standard-sized stores and smaller Express stores. Its large format stores range from 13,000 to 19,000 square feet and carry about 11,000 items. The standard-sized stores typically range from 6,000 to 12,000 square feet and carry over 6,000 items. Express stores typically range from 2,500 to 3,000 square feet and carry over 4,000 items, mainly hardware and other supplies needed! for day-to-day boat maintenance and repairs.
Port Supply Segment
Port Supply customers include businesses involved in boat sales, boat building, boat commissioning and repair, yacht chartering, marina operations and other boating-related activities. In addition, Port Supply sells to government and industrial customers who use its products for boating and non-boating purposes. Port Supply, the Company�� wholesale segment, serves wholesale customers seeking convenience and a larger assortment of products than those carried by typical distributors.
The Company�� e-commerce Website provides its customers with access to a selection of approximately 75,000 products, product advisor tips and technical information, over 450 product videos and customer-submitted product reviews. This segment also provides customers with access to knowledgeable technical advisors who can assist its customers in understanding the various uses and applications of the products it sell. It operates a virtual call center from which its associates assist its customers by taking calls from their homes or from its support center in Watsonville, California. Its virtual call center supports sales generated through its e-commerce Website, catalogs and stores and provides customer service offerings.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Interactive Buyside]
West Marine (Nasdaq: WMAR) is an undervalued retailer. The company is going through a change in focus from a bricks and mortar boat product retailer to a fully integrated retail and wholesale business through bricks and clicks, targeting the boating and water enthusiast customer. Recent results have been affected by a severe rainy and cool spring which hurt boat usage and delayed the start of the season. The company has accelerated cash investments to build larger more productive stores and expand its ecommerce abilities, consequently affecting free cash flow short term. The stock lacks sponsorship as there is only one research report written on the company by a small boutique firm. The stock trades at only book value despite the company being the leading industry player with a solid balance sheet and significant net cash position.
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: FTD Companies Inc (FTD)
FTD Companies, Inc. (FTD), incorporated on April 25, 2008, is a floral and gifting company. The Company provides floral, gift and related products and services to consumers and retail florists, as well as to other retail locations offering floral and gift products primarily in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland. The Company operates in one segment, which includes floral and related products and services. Its business uses the FTD and Interflora brands, both supported by the Mercury Man logo. The Company�� portfolio of brands also includes Flying Flowers, Flowers Direct, and Drake Algar in the United Kingdom. On November 1, 2013, United Online, Inc. (United Online) completed the separation of United Online into two independent, publicly traded companies: FTD Companies, Inc. and United Online, Inc.
The Company�� products revenues are derived primarily from selling floral, gift and related products to consumers and the related shipping and service fees. Products revenues also include revenues generated from sales of hard goods, software and hardware systems, cut flowers, packaging and promotional products, and a range of other floral-related supplies to floral network members. Its services revenues related to orders sent through the floral network are variable based on either the number of orders or on the value of orders and are recognized in the period in which the orders.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]
BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock One day out of 365, we pay homage to our sainted mothers. Those of us who are members of this long-suffering, uncomplaining, self-sacrificing class may get some soggy French toast in bed, (don't worry, kids; mom will clean up the kitchen), a chance to read in peace, or perhaps time to indulge in a long, hot bath. Bringing Home the Bacon If you really want to pay back mom for all she's done, get ready to pony up big. A card and some carnations (the official flower of Mother's Day, who knew?) just won't cut it. The cost of replacing mom as nurturer, nurse, cleaner and cook -- according to Insure.com's 2014 Mother's Day salary index -- would run you $62,985 a year, up from $59,862 in 2013. Breaking down the price of having someone else handle her various duties: Cooking and cleaning, $12,230 Child care, $21,736 Homework help, $7,290 Chauffeur, $5,672 Shopping, yard work, party and activity planning, finances, etc., $15,019 And my personal favorite, finding out what the kids are up to (paid in the equivalent value of a private detective), $1,036. Salary.com placed a higher value on moms in its 2014 Mother's Day salary survey, concluding that stay-at-home moms were worth $118,905 and working moms worth $70,107 (this does not include any paid salary from their job), with both groups putting more than 56 hours of overtime at home. These numbers are all up from last year's survey. Cooking It Up in a Pan Mom helps to pay for other things, too. Thanks to the Department of Agriculture, you can see what it costs to raise a child in the U.S. to 18. As of August 2013, the average cost is $241,080. This does not cover college, and hopefully dear old dad is contributing. In 2012, there were 10.3 million single U.S. mothers with children under 18, and one-third of women who gave birth in 2012 were single moms. By becoming moms, women give up time to do other things, what economists call an "opportunity cost." Particularly if your mother st
Top 10 Specialty Retail Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Firstin Wireless Technology Inc (FINW)
Firstin Wireless Technology, Inc., formerly Passionate Pet, Inc., incorporated on September 30, 2010, is a mobile service provider. The Company is a software-based mobile service provider that enables enterprises and business users to make affordable and business-quality international long distance and roaming calls over its hybrid mobile VoIP (HY-mVoIPTM) technology. Its service does not replace a user�� existing wireless service, it augments it with global communication capabilities. The Company's application is free to download, and is available on Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Android smartphones.
The Company provides international long distance and roaming services to enterprises and business travelers over smartphones. Business users need to download the Firstin application onto their smartphones to allow them to place and receive international long distance and roaming calls from anywhere in the world for a fixed monthly fee and unlimited usage. The Company intends to revolutionize business mobile communications by spearheading the enterprise mobile VoIP revolution allowing for anywhere, anytime, business-quality and low-cost voice and data communications over smartphones.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Peter Graham]
A look at SofTech, Inc�� financials reveals revenues of $1,375k (most recent reported quarter), $1,558k, $1,458k and $1,772k for the past four quarters along with net losses of $266k (most recent reported quarter), $51k and $14k and net income of $252k. At the end of August, SofTech, Inc had $828k in cash to cover $2,717k in current liabilities and $5,445k in total liabilities. Given the recent Asset Purchase Agreement and the deal with lenders, it would be good to wait for some more financials to see how SofTech, Inc�� balance sheet has improved.Firstin Wireless Technology Inc (OTCMKTS: FINW) Has Been Quiet Since February
Small cap Firstin Wireless Technology is a mobile communications company that is leading the shift to the enterprise mobile VoIP revolution through its mobile telephony platform and apps, including a flagship Firstin solution that allows for anywhere, anytime mobile communications at significant cost reductions. On Friday, Firstin Wireless Technology closed at $0.255 for a market cap of $8.57 million plus FINW is down 3,087.5% over the past year and down 78.7% since August 2011 according to Google Finance.
- [By Peter Graham]
Small cap stocks Bonamour Inc (OTCBB: BONI), Firstin Wireless Technology Inc (OTCMKTS: FINW) and Microchannel Technologies Corp (OTCBB: MCTC) have been attracting attention from variosu investment newsletters lately with at least two of these stocks being the subject of paid promotions. Of course, there is nothing wrong with properly disclosed paid promotions or investor relation types of activities as its up to investors and traders alike to do their due diligence. So how hot are these small cap stocks? Here is a quick reality check that might cool your appetite: