5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own Right Now

With shares of Pandora (NYSE:P) trading around $29, is P an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Pandora is an Internet radio company that operates in the United States with over 125 million registered users. Pandora’s Music Genome Project and its playlist-generating algorithms predict listener music preferences, play music content suited to the tastes of each individual listener, and introduce listeners to music they will love. The main sources of revenue for the company are advertising as well as subscriptions. As the Internet music boom continues, Pandora is well-positioned to capitalize on potential subscriptions and advertising marketing share.

Pandora reported third-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday that came in line with analyst estimates. Pandora reported a loss of 1 cent per share on sales of $180.4 million compared to last year’s gain of 1 cent per share on sales of $120 million. Earnings came in at 6 cents per share; analysts had expected the company to earn 6 cents per share and report sales of $177 million, according to MarketWatch. Pandora is being closely watched as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released a competing online radio service, iTunes Radio, this fall.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own Right Now: Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc (ULTA)

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (Ulta), incorporated on January 9, 1990, is a beauty retailer, which provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. During the year ended January 28, 2012 (fiscal 2011), the Company opened 61 new stores. It operates full-service salons in all of its stores. Its Ulta store format includes an open and modern salon area with approximately eight to 10 stations. The entire salon area is approximately 950 square feet with a concierge desk, skin treatment room, semi-private shampoo and hair color processing areas. Each salon is a full-service salon offering hair cuts, hair coloring and permanent texture, with salons also providing facials and waxing.

The Company offers products in the categories, such as cosmetics, which includes products for the face, eyes, cheeks, lips and nails; haircare, which includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and hair accessories; salon styling tools, which includes hair dryers, curling irons and flat irons; skincare and bath and body, which includes products for the face, hands and body; fragrance for both men and women; private label, consisting of Ulta branded cosmetics, skincare, bath and body products and haircare, and other, including candles, home fragrance products and other miscellaneous health and beauty products. The Company has combined its three operating segments: retail stores, salon services and e-commerce, into one reportable segment.

The Company competes with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bath & Body Works, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart, Regis Corp., Sally Beauty and JCPenney salons.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Bieglmeier]

    [Related -Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (ULTA): Bullish Options Play Eyes Further Upside in Ulta]

    Ulta operates specialty retail stores in the United States. Its stores offer cosmetics, fragrance, haircare, and skincare products, as well as related accessories and services. As of February 1, 2014, the company operated 675 retail stores across 46 states. It also operates full services salons in its stores and distributes its products through operating ulta.com.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Equities Trading UP
    Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (NASDAQ: ULTA) shares shot up 7.31 percent to $96.05 after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Ulta Salon posted its quarterly earnings of $1.09 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.07 per share.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own 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.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own Right Now: 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.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own Right Now: Vitacost.com Inc (VITC)

Vitacost.com, Inc. (Vitacost), incorporated in May 20, 1994, is an online retailer of health and wellness products, including dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids and metabolites, as well as cosmetics, natural personal care products, pet products, sports nutrition and health foods. The Company sells these products directly to consumers primarily through its Website, www.vitacost.com. It offers its customers the selection of healthy living products. It offers its customers a selection of approximately 40,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), from over 2,000 third-party brands, such as New Chapter, Nature’s Way, Twinlab, Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas, Jason, Desert Essence, Atkins, Bob’s Red Mill, BSN, Optimum Nutrition, USP Labs and MuscleTech in addition to its own brands: Vitacost, Cosmeceutical Sciences Institute (CSI), Best of All, and Smart Basics. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had approximately 2.1 million cus tomers.

The Company offers products in a range of potency levels and dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, vegi-capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids and powders. It offers products that encompass four main categories: Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements; Sports Nutrition; Beauty; and Natural and Organic Food.

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements (VMHS)

VMHS products are taken to maintain or improve health and address specific health conditions. In its dietary supplements category, the Company offers its offer its Vitacost branded products as well as third-party brands such as Nature’s Way, Twinlab, Jarrow, Carlson and Rainbow Light. Vitamin and mineral products include multi-vitamins, lettered vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, D, E and B-complex, along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.

Herbal products include whole herbs, standardized extracts, herb combination formulas and teas. S upplements include essential fatty acids, probiotics, anti-o! xidants, phytonutrients and condition-specific formulas.

Sports Nutrition

Sports nutrition products are used in conjunction with cardiovascular conditioning, weight training and sports activities. Major categories in sports nutrition include protein and weight gain powders, meal replacements, nutrition bars, sport drinks and pre and post-workout supplements. The Company offers bodybuilding and sports products from third parties, such as Optimum Nutrition, CytoSport and BSN as well as our Vitacost branded sports nutrition products.

Beauty

Natural care products consist of a variety of natural products for skin, body, hair and oral health. The Company offers hundreds of natural personal-care products from companies, such as JASON, and Kiss My Face, as well as its CSI-branded products. These products appeal to allergen-conscious and environmentally-conscious consumers seeking products that are made without harsh chemicals and additives.

Natural and Organic Food

Natural and organic food products consist of organic and specialty products such as organic peanut butter, gluten free foods and low mercury tuna and salmon. The Company offers third-party brands, such as Kashi, Eden Foods and Amy’s Organic, as well as its Best of All natural food products.

Under its Vitacost brand, the Company offers over 900 products including multivitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, anti-oxidants and others. Under its CSI brand, it markets and sells health and beauty products such as facial cleanser, facial and body moisturizing creams and lotions, and other beauty and skincare products. Under its Best of All brand, it markets and sells organic food products such as banana chips, trail mix, almonds, cashews and more. Under its Smart Basics brand, it markets and sells organic fruit juices and extracts and related dietary supplements. Under its Walker Diet brand, it markets a nd sells low carb powders used to assist in weight loss and ! managemen! t.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Margins matter. The more Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC  ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That’s why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I’m looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Vitacost.com’s competitive position could be.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

5 Best Specialty Retail Stocks To Own 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.