5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy Right Now

Provo, Utah, is the metro area with the most content residents in America, according to the recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The area with the most miserable residents is Huntington, West Virginia.

To determine the well-being of Americans, Gallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2012 and 2013. The survey recorded the physical and emotional health of the residents, as well as financial, employment, and social indicators, among others. The resulting Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index allows for comparisons between places and over time.

Click here to see America’s most content cities 

Click here to see America’s most miserable cities

One of the six categories that comprised the index was physical health. The category included different health measures, such as the prevalence of certain diseases and conditions. Physical health was a meaningful predictor of how content — or miserable — residents were. The higher a metro area’s score in the Well-Being Index, the more likely its residents were to report good physical health.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy 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 “Whole Wallet”or “Whole Paycheck” given how much it costs to shop there.

  • [By David Mamos]

    The Fresh Market Inc. (Nasdaq: TFM), Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. (NYSE: NGVC), and privately held Trader Joe’s are others crowding into the field.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy 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’s 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’s 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 John Udovich]

    As we head towards Black Friday, small cap specialty retail stocks United Online, Inc (NASDAQ: UNTD), TravelCenters of America LLC (NYSE: TA) and MarineMax, Inc (NYSE: HZO) have the distinction of being the best performing small cap specialty retail stocks for this year (according to Finviz.com) with gains of 181.2%, 123.8% and 71.8%, respectively. With those returns in mind, what are these small cap specialty retail stocks doing right and will the performance last through the all important holiday season? Here is what new and existing investors and traders alike need to know or consider:

    United Online, Inc. A provider of consumer products and services over the Internet, United Online’s Content & Media segment services are online nostalgia (Memory Lane) and online loyalty marketing (MyPoints) while its primary Communications segment services are Internet access and email (NetZero and Juno). The reason United Online is among the best performing specialty retail stocks for this year in various stock screening tools like Finviz.com is actually misleading as the company has just completed the spin off of subsidiary FTD Companies, a floral and gifts products company acquired in August 2008 for $441 million, as FTD Companies Inc (NASDAQ: FTD) where United Online shareholders received one share of FTD common stock for every five shares of United Online common stock they hold. In addition, United Online completed a one-for-seven reverse stock split of United Online shares. On Tuesday, small cap United Online, Inc fell 1.01% to $15.72 (UNTD has a 52 week trading range of $11.65 to $62.30 a share) for a market cap of $207.79 million plus the stock is up 181.2% since the start of the year and up 182.2% over the past five years. Meanwhile, the FTD Companies Inc now has a market cap of $611.60 and the stock is up almost 6% since October.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy 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’s 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 ven dor 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’s 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’s 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 includ e classroom exchange Valentine cards and other related Valen! tine products, while its Easter product offerings include Dudley’s 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’s, Don Post Studios, Eureka, Learning Playground, Stickerfitti and iota. Key brands include Paper Magic, Berwick, Offray, C.R. Gibson, Markin gs, Creative Papers, Tapestry, Seastone, Dudley’s, 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’s 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, waxe d 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.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy 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’s Port Supply segment is its wholesale segment. The Company’s 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. Priva te 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.

Stores Segment

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’s wholesale segment, serves wholesale customers seeking convenience and a larger assortment of products than those carried by typical distributors.

Direct-to-Customer Segment

The Company’s 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 underst anding 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. 

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Buy 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.

Retail

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.

Products

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 as sortment 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 c ohosh 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 weigh t 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 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’s 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’s 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 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 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.