How often have you heard that before you can judge someone, you must walk a mile in his (or her) shoes? Well, today we're judging companies that make or sell footwear, not people, so no exercise is required -- just a look at the numbers and some informed judgments about companies treading in this field.
Peter Varley: With 4,500 Payless ShoeSource stores worldwide, mainly in the United States, there is probably a store near you. But Collective Brands
I'm impressed that the company is expanding internationally, where there is huge growth potential, and that it has a brand to appeal to just about every segment of the mass market. There are few recent CAPS user comments of substance, but one references an analyst suggesting that $21 is a reasonable target, an improbable-sounding 50% jump from the current price. However, it has seen this level as recently as May of this year, so perhaps it has been oversold since I don't believe the outlook for the company has deteriorated nearly that much. Overall, this stock looks promising and worth further study.
Austin Smith: One of my most favorite shoe companies isn't even really a shoe company -- yet. I'm really interested to see what Under Armour
The risks in this segment are obvious. Under Armour is knocking on the door of Nike
Another company that landed on my radar recently is Crocs