5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014

Investors, if you are considering buying stock in Windstream (NASDAQ: WIN  ) , please ask yourselves this question: “Am I gong to purchase part of a company I think will continue to grow its telecom business, or am I only attracted to its high-yield dividend?”

That’s important to determine because in this era of absurdly low Treasury yields (around 1.9% for a 10-year note), Windstream’s dividend yield of over 11% exerts a gravitational pull that can easily override common fiscal sense.

Let’s take a look at Windstream’s first-quarter earnings and try to find an answer.

Total revenue for the quarter declined 2.5% from the same period last year. As a company that is still invested heavily in the sinking wire-line telephone business, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

But the company has been shifting its focus to providing broadband Internet service to consumer and business customers, and those segments have shown growth: Business service revenue is up 2% and consumer broadband service revenue is up 5% over the first quarter of 2012.

5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014: Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX)

Express Scripts Holding Company, incorporated in 2011, provides healthcare management and administration services on behalf of its clients, which include health maintenance organizations (HMOs), health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers compensation plans, and government health programs. The Company operates in two segments: Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) and Emerging Markets (EM). PBM services include network claims processing, home delivery services, patient care and direct specialty and fertility home delivery to patients, benefit plan design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary management, drug data analysis services, distribution of injectable drugs to patients homes and physicians offices, bio-pharma services, and fulfillment of prescriptions to low-income patients through manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs. EM segment provides distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to p roviders and clinics, healthcare account administration and implementation of consumer-directed healthcare solutions. In September 2013, it announced the acquisition of the SmartD Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).

On July 20, 2011, Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) entered into a merger agreement (the Merger Agreement) with Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (Medco). During the year ended December 31, 2011, it reorganized its FreedomFP line of business from its EM segment into its PBM segment. On April 2, 2012, the Company completed the Merger Agreement, and after which ESI and Medco became the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Company. The Company’s customers include HMOs, health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, government health programs, office-based oncologists, renal dialysis clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, primary care physicians, retina specialists and others.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mani]

    Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) could deliver relative outperformance in 2014 as the upcoming generic wave should offer a two-fold opportunity for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

  • [By Lu Wang]

    Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) declined 4.5 percent to $60.88, the lowest since May. The largest U.S. processor of prescription drug claims reduced its 2013 cash flow forecast, citing delays in some non-client integration activities.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Express Scripts (ESRX) has fallen 2.7% to $62 in after-hours trading after it reported a profit of $1.08, in line with analyst forecasts, but said the fourth quarter would come in between $109 and $1.13. Analyst had forecast $1.12.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool’s free investing community, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014: Lowe’s Companies Inc.(LOW)

Lowe’s Companies, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a home improvement retailer in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling, home decorating, and property maintenance. It provides home improvement products in the categories of appliances, lumber, paint, millwork, building materials, lawn and landscape products, flooring, rough plumbing, seasonal living, tools, hardware, fashion plumbing, lighting, nursery, outdoor power equipment, cabinets and countertops, home organization, rough electrical, and home fashion, as well as boards, panel products, irrigation pipes, vinyl sidings, and ladders. The company also offers installation services through independent contractors in various product categories. Lowe’s Companies serves homeowners and renters primarily consisting of do-it-yourself customers and do-it-for-me customers; and commercial business customers, who work in the construction, rep air/remodel, commercial and residential property management, or business maintenance professions. As of August 15, 2011, it operated approximately 1,725 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company also offers its products through electronic product catalogs and Lowes.com. Lowe’s Companies, Inc. was founded in 1952 and is based in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Dessauer]

    Lowe’s (LOW) reported a stronger than expected fourth quarter, and the stock moved up about 5%. For the final quarter, adjusted earnings per share were $0.31, which matched analysts’ expectations.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Other stores offering special weekend pricing are home improvement giants The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW). In fact, this is virtually the home improvement stores’ real Black Friday weekend. Both Home Depot and Lowe’s hire thousands of seasonal employees for their Spring selling season, and just as the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas holiday season is a make or break for many retailers, this time of year really is make-or-break time for these two giants.

  • [By Bloomberg]

    Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images Housing starts in the U.S. were little changed in February after declining less than previously estimated a month earlier, indicating the home-building industry is stabilizing after bad winter weather curbed construction. The 0.2 percent decrease to 907,000 homes at an annualized rate last month followed a revised 909,000 pace in January, figures from the Commerce Department in Washington showed Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for a 910,000 rate after a previously reported 880,000 in January. Warmer temperatures, a pickup in demand during the spring selling season and limited housing supply may help fuel further gains in new residential construction. The outlook for the industry later this year depends on whether hiring picks up enough to overcome higher mortgage rates and home prices. “We will see improvement as the year goes on and weather improves,” said David Sloan, a senior economist at 4cast in New York and the top-ranked forecaster of starts in the last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The pace of increase will be fairly moderate. It suggests we’re going to get respectable economic growth, but maybe not a strong acceleration.” Estimates of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from 792,000 to 986,000. The February pace was the slowest in four months. Another report showed consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in February for a second month, according to the Labor Department. More than half the increase was due to higher food costs. Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the figures, with the contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June rising 0.4 percent to 1,857.4 at 8:43 a.m. in New York. Building Permits Permits filed for future projects increased 7.7 percent to a 1.02 million pace in February, the most since October and reflecting a surge in applications for apartment-building construction. One-family home-building permits

  • [By Victor Selva]

    Finally, I always like to see one of the most important financial ratios applying to stockholders, the best measure of performance for a firm’s management: the return on equity. The ratio has increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. With ROE of 25.51%, it is well above the industry mean of 9.10% and Lowe’s Companies Inc. (LOW) good ratio of 14%.

5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014: Family Dollar Stores Inc.(FDO)

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. operates a chain of self-service retail discount stores primarily for low and middle income consumers in the United States. The company offers consumables, including household chemicals, paper products, candy and snack products, health and beauty aids, hardware and automotive supplies, and pet food products and supplies; and home products, which comprise domestics, housewares, giftware products, and home decor products. It also provides apparel products and accessories consisting of men?s and women?s clothing products, boys? and girls? clothing products, infants? clothing products, shoes, and fashion accessories; and seasonal products and electronics, such as toys, stationery and school supplies, seasonal goods, and personal electronics. As of August 11, 2011, the company operated approximately 7,000 stores in rural and urban settings across 44 states. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. was founded in 1959 and is headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina .

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Next week investors will be waiting for several key earnings reports including JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) and Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO).

  • [By Editor , Dividend Growth Investor]

    Family Dollar (FDO) has boosted distributions for 38 years in a row. The company has managed to increase dividends by 13.60% per year over the past decade.Yield: 1.70% (analysis)

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Through his Trian Partners fund, Nelson Peltz also owns large stakes in Pepsico Inc. (NYSE: PEP), Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO), Du Pont E I De Nemours & Co. (NYSE: DD), and Lazard Ltd. (NYSE: LAZ).

5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014: Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS)

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (Barnes & Noble), incorporated on November 19, 1986, is a bookseller. The Company is a content, commerce and technology company that provides customers access to books, magazines, newspapers and other content across its multi-channel distribution platform. As of April 27, 2013, it operated 1,361 bookstores in 50 states, 686 bookstores on college campuses, and operates one of the Web eCommerce sites, and develops digital content products and software. Barnes & Noble operates in three segments: B&N Retail, B&N College and NOOK. The Company’s principal business is the sale of trade books (generally hardcover and paperback consumer titles), mass market paperbacks (such as mystery, romance, science fiction and other popular fiction), children’s books, eBooks and other digital content, NOOK and related accessories, bargain books, magazines, gifts, cafe products and services, educational toys & games, music and movies direct to customers through its books tores or on barnesandnoble.com.

Of the Company’s 1,361 bookstores, 675 operate primarily under the Barnes & Noble Booksellers trade name. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC (B&N College), a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, operates 686 college bookstores at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble Retail (B&N Retail) operates the 675 retail bookstores. Retail also includes the Company’s eCommerce site and Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. (Sterling or Sterling Publishing), a leader in general trade book publishing.

B&N Retail

This segment includes 675 bookstores as of April 27, 2013, primarily under the Barnes & Noble Booksellers trade name. These stores generally offer a dedicated NOOK area, a comprehensive trade book title base, a cafe, and departments dedicated to Juvenile, Toys & Games, DVDs, Music, Gift, Magazine and Bargain products. The stores also offer a calendar of ongoing events, incl uding author appearances and children’s activities. The B&! N Retail segment also includes the Company’s eCommerce website, barnesandnoble.com, and its publishing operation, Sterling Publishing. Barnes & Noble stores range in size from 3,000 to 60,000 square feet depending upon market size, with an overall average store size of 26,000 square feet. During the fiscal year ended April 27, 2013 (fiscal), the Company reduced the Barnes & Noble store base by 0.3 million square feet, bringing the total square footage to 17.7 million square feet. The Company’s B&N Retail segment purchases physical books on a regular basis from over 800 publishers and over 50 wholesalers or distributors. As of April 27, 2013, Barnes & Noble had stores in 162 of the total 210 Designated Market Area markets.

Sterling Publishing is a publisher of non-fiction trade titles. It is a range of non-fiction and illustrated books and kits across a range of imprints, in categories, such as health and wellness, music and culture, food and wine, crafts and photo graphy, puzzles and games, history and current affairs, as well as a children’s books.

B&N College

B&N College sells new and used textbooks in campus bookstores and online. As of April 27, 2013, B&N College operated 686 stores nationwide. The Company’s customer base, which is mainly consisted of students and faculty, can purchase various items from their campus stores, including textbooks and course-related materials, emblematic apparel and gifts, trade books, computer products, NOOK products and related accessories, school and dorm supplies, convenience and cafe items.

As of April 27, 2013, B&N College operates 651 traditional college bookstores and 35 academic superstores, which are generally larger in size, offer cafes and provide a sense of community that engages the surrounding campus and local communities in college activities and culture. The traditional bookstores range in size from 500 to 48,000 square feet. The academic su perstores range in size from 8,000 to 75,000 square feet. B&! N College! ’s three customer constituencies are students, faculty members and campus administrators.

NOOK

This segment includes the Company’s digital business, which includes the Company’s eBookstore, digital newsstand and sales of NOOK devices and accessories to third party distribution partners, as well as to B&N Retail and B&N College. Barnes & Noble’s NOOK digital bookstore and Reading Apps provide customers the ability to purchase and read their digital content and access to their Lifetime Library on a range of digital platforms, including Windows 8 PCs and tablets, iPad, iPhone , Android smartphones and tablets, PC and Mac. Barnes & Noble has implemented features on its digital platform to ensure that customers can access their NOOK content from almost all of today’s most popular devices.

The Company competes with Target, Books-A-Million, Waldenbooks, Amazon.com, Apple, Wal-Mart and Costco.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Barnes & Noble (BKS) are tumbling for a second day after John Malone’s Liberty Media (LMCA) said it would sell most of its stake in the struggling book seller.

    REUTERS

    In a report released yesterday, Credit Suisse analysts Gary Balter and Andrew Kinder note that Liberty Media’s exit could mean the end of the line for Barnes & Noble’s Nook:

    The removal of Liberty Media as a significant investor in [Barnes & Noble] also seems to be another signal in the company’s strategic shift with managing the NOOK. Similar to CEO William Lynch’s departure, it appears those most interested in growing the NOOK platform have now left. Under new management, the new strategy being implemented for the NOOK is one where cost cuts are emphasized and attempts are made to monetize, not grow, the remaining assets. This strategy has decreased the value drag of the NOOK this year. However, it is too [early] to see to what extent this strategy will result in the ability for shareholders to see just the positive EBITDA contributions from Retail and College, something that the bulls are currently hoping for.

    Shares of Barnes & Noble have dropped 4.8% to $18.19 at 3pm today, while Liberty Media is off 2.4% at $1127.30.

  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Mel Evans/AP From a media giant growing its reach through rental cars to a beleaguered theme park operator warning of even slower turnstile clicks, here’s a rundown of the week’s best and worst from the business world. Microsoft (MSFT) — Winner Many argued that Microsoft deciding late last month to offer up its flagship Microsoft Office suite of productivity software for iPads was too little, too late. Folks had already moved on to free or nearly free alternatives, and Microsoft was already suffering with a global slump in PC sales. Well, Microsoft still has plenty of bite. It announced there were 12 million downloads of its Word, Excel and PowerPoint iPad apps in its first week of availability. Barnes & Noble (BKS) — Loser It’s not just bookworms checking out of Barnes & Noble. Liberty Media (LMCA) is selling 90 percent of its shares of the struggling bookstore operator, taking its stake of 17 percent down to less than 2 percent. Liberty Media will give up the right to appoint a pair of board members now that it’s a shrinking investor, but that seems to be a small price to pay for an investor that wants to deploy that money somewhere else. Running a book superstore isn’t easy these days. Barnes & Noble’s sales have been sluggish as readers go digital, and the chain’s push to cash in on the trend with its own Nook line is fading fast. Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) — Winner Satellite radio will be easier to tune into in rental cars. Avis Budget Group (CAR) revealed this week that in-dash Sirius XM receivers are now available in more than 60 percent of its Avis and Budget car rental agencies. Avis Budget previously relied on portable plug-and-play receivers that renters could order at the counter. Drivers will still have to pay for access. There’s no free lunch even if it’s a prepaid rental. However, it’s still a good way for Sirius XM to expand brand awareness and ideally hook future subscribers. SeaWorld (SEAS) — Loser Looks like the killer

  • [By Sue Chang and Saumya Vaishampayan]

    BKS: Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS)  shares slid 5.4%. Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA)  said Thursday it would sell the majority of its 17% stake in the book retailer.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe] o contribute to sales growth.

    Moreover, the company’s product launches throughout 2013 improved substantially, with Disguise’s new Halloween costumes, kids’ furniture, Tollytots infant and preschool products, Outdoor Engineer Sports products and Maui Toys’ Impulse line driving sales. The recent integration of technology and novelty in its product launches, via Dream Play and Technology Kid, has received positive responses from customers and I think this angle could provide the base for JAKKS’s future profits. The firm’s international efforts are also impressive, and 2014 should be a prime year for profits in this segment, as the firm obtained rights for the Sofia doll line in Latin America, Australia, Taiwan and China, while Walt Disney Company (DIS)’s Princess doll sales remain strong in Europe.

    Valuation

    With 2013’s weak financial results in mind, it’s no surprise that JAKKS is focused on turning its losses around into profitability. Earnings per share posted a $2.43 loss for 2013, while the third quarter showed a $0.50 loss. And despite quarterly revenue growth of 3.1% year over year, due to improved sales in the Novelty, Role Playing and Seasonal toy segment, annual revenue declined by 5.0%, closing at $632 million. However, EPS has returned to an upward trend, and investors should expect 2014 to show profitability, with EPS ranging between $0.30 and $0.40. The company’s aggressive restructuring plan and cost saving initiatives, which include reduction in leased space, employees and overhead expenses, should help regain momentum throughout 2014, leading to growing revenue and margin expansion.

    However, I must point out that 2013’s restructuring plan also led to the suspension of JAKKS’s quarterly dividend, making competitors like Hasbro Inc. (HAS) and Mattel Inc. (MAT) much more attractive investment options, given their consistent dividend increases. Nonetheless, I believe JAKKS has the potential to regain

5 Best Retail Stocks To Buy For 2014: 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’s 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.