Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own For 2015


In the mobile world, there are really only two companies that make every other smartphone maker envious — Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Samsung. Samsung is the world’s largest tech company by revenue, and holds 41% of the Android market share. And, according to researcher Juniper Analytics, the company shipped twice as many smartphones as Apple, and grew nine times faster in Q1 2013.

While Apple’s success story has been chronicled in many news articles, books, and a forthcoming biopic, Samsung’s advancement is a little more elusive and probably less dramatic — but the impact on the smartphone market has been just as important.


Good artists copy, great artists steal
Pablo Picaso’s oft-quoted phrase was one Steve Jobs used himself. Jobs once added to the phrase in an interview saying, “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.” In an ironic twist, that’s the same approach Samsung took shortly after the iPhone launched.

Apple’s smartphone popularity had already been solidified at that time, and Samsung did its best to capitalize on it. In a 2010 Samsung document — which surfaced during a trial last year between the company and Apple — Samsung appeared to copy iPhone designs and functionality. Last year, AllThingsD wrote about the document saying: “In each case, it comes up with a recommendation on what Samsung should do going forward, and in most cases, its answer is simple: Make it work more like the iPhone.”

Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own For 2015: 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 WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]

    Paul Sakuma/AP There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with a few potential mergers coming undone and a maker of electronic learning toys getting schooled. Here’s a rundown of the week’s smartest moves and biggest blunders. Trex (TREX) — Winner It’s summer, and apparently a lot of homeowners decided to invest in sprucing up their outdoor living space. Trex posted strong quarterly results on Monday. The leading maker of weather-resistant wood-alternative decking saw its sales climb 23 percent, and adjusted pre-tax earnings soared 62 percent. There was some weakness earlier this earnings season out of other home improvement specialists, so it’s a welcome surprise to see Trex holding up so well. The good news doesn’t end there. Trex is eyeing accelerating growth, calling for revenue to climb a better than expected 27 percent in the current quarter. Mergers — Loser In any week there seems to be a couple of acquisitions or mergers, but sometimes Cupid isn’t feeling up to the arrow-slinging task. A couple of big potential buyouts came undone this week when Rupert Murdoch pulled his offer to buy out Time Warner (TWX), and Sprint (S) nixed plans to snap up T-Mobile (TMUS). The deals fell apart for different reasons. Murdoch just didn’t have an interest in chasing Time Warner’s stock higher in a hostile buyout bid. Sprint realized that regulators weren’t going to be happy unless there were four major independent wireless carriers out there. Instant Gratification — Winner Amazon.com (AMZN) announced on Wednesday that it was expanding its same-day delivery service to six more cities. Prime shoppers in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, metro areas will now be able to place an order on the website by noon and pay $5.99 to have it delivered that same day. Naturally the selection is limited to items that Amazon stocks locally, but the one knock on Amazon about having to wait a day or two at least for shipme

  • [By Mark Lin]

    What implications does this have for Amazon and peers such as Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) and Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL  ) ?

Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own 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’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.

Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own For 2015: 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. 

Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own For 2015: 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’s 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 Co mpany 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]

    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:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A look at SofTech, Inc’s 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’s 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.

Top 5 Specialty Retail Companies To Own For 2015: Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd (SAXJF)


Sa Sa International Holdings Limited is an investment holding company. The Company’s subsidiaries are principally engaged in the retailing and wholesaling of cosmetic products. Its business covers Hong Kong and Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. The Company operates in two segments: retail segment, engaged in the operation of cosmetics specialty stores, which offer a variety of products from over 600 beauty brands, covering a wide of products from skin care, fragrance, make-up, body care and hair care to health foods, and brand management segment, engaged in the management of over 100 beauty brands. It also offers round-the-clock online shopping services along with product and corporate information through its e-commerce platform, sasa.com. The Company’s subsidiaries include Alibaster Management Limited, Base Sun Investment Limited, Cyber Colors Limited, Docile Company Limited and Elegance Trading (Shanghai) Company Limited, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.MARKETWATCH.COM]

    HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong stocks swung between small gains and losses early Thursday after hitting a seven-month high in the previous session, with the Hang Seng Index (HK:HSI) down less than 0.1%. Most mainland Chinese property developers outperformed the markets, with Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. (HK:2777) (GZUHF) rallying 3.4%, after the company reported a 44% month-on-month jump in sales for June. Shimao Property Holdings Ltd. (HK:0813) (SIOPF) climbed 2.6%, and China Resources Land Ltd. (HK:1109) (CRBJF) rose 1.7%. However, several retailers were weak, as Want Want China Holdings Ltd. (HK:0151) (WWNTF) , the country’s top food and beverage maker, declined 2%. Hong Kong-based cosmetics brand Sa Sa International Holdings (HK:0178) (SAXJF) fell 1.6%, with a decline in Chinese June non-manufacturing data helping weigh on some retailers. Over on the Chinese mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index (CN:SHCOMP) retreated 0.4%, pulling back from its highest close in two weeks.