As back-to-school season kicks into gear, retailers and consumer-product companies are looking forward to a little boost. Even with the challenging retail marketplace, the kids still need new clothes and backpacks -- and they'll probably want an iPod, too. And believe it or not, the National Retail Federation forecasts that parents will increase back-to-school spending on their kids by more than 5% this year, to $594 per family.
In honor of the kids, let's look at three family-friendly retail and consumer stocks this week.
Value in store at Children's Place
In comparison, The Children's Place
The big difference between The Children's Place and Gymboree is product pricing. The Children's Place is offering lower-priced clothing while it continues to cut costs and inventory. At a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, The Children's Place has a slightly higher multiple than Gymboree's 12. However, if The Children's Place can continue to deliver attractive, lower-priced clothing that fits consumers' tighter pocketbooks while it watches its own expenses, the company could generate superior long-term value for investors as well.
Parents, feed your children well
Concerned parents everywhere want to feed their kids healthful and natural foods. That's why Hain Celestial Group
In addition to making wholesome products, Hain was also named one of 2008's Best Green Companies for America's Children in Working Mother Magazine, which cited the company's continued sustainability efforts. To increase its exposure, the company's Hain Celestial Canada group was named the official natural and organic grocery supplier for the 2010 Olympics.
On the downside, the company has struggled to maintain profits with rising food prices. Last quarter's revenue increased by 11%, but earnings dropped by almost a third on a big jump in costs. Hain will report earnings next week, so at this point, it makes sense to wait and analyze the next profit report before proceeding. In any case, with the national and international focus on green investing and organic products, Hain is a good stock to watch in the coming months.
Bouncing with Rubbermaid
Competitor Fortune Brands
Clothes, pens, and food aren't exactly glamorous additions to your portfolio, but they are products that consumers will continue to buy, even when economic times are tough. When purchased at a decent price, these may be some stocks that make a difference between an early retirement and working into your 70s.
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