Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Has Foot Locker Become the Perfect Stock?

Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Foot Locker (NYSE: FL  ) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

  • Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
  • Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
  • Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
  • Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
  • Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Foot Locker.


What We Want to See


Pass or Fail?

Growth 5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15% 0.6% Fail
  1-Year Revenue Growth > 12% 8.2% Fail
Margins Gross Margin > 35% 44% Pass
  Net Margin > 15% 5.7% Fail
Balance Sheet Debt to Equity < 50% 6.1% Pass
  Current Ratio > 1.3 3.36 Pass
Opportunities Return on Equity > 15% 15.6% Pass
Valuation Normalized P/E < 20 16.48 Pass
Dividends Current Yield > 2% 2.1% Pass
  5-Year Dividend Growth > 10% 8.2% Fail
  Total Score   6 out of 10

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

Since we looked at Foot Locker last year, the company has kept its six-point score. But investors have to be pleased with the stock's rise of nearly 80% in the past year.

Foot Locker has come a long way with its recent success. As recently as the mid-2000s, the retailer had to do a massive restructuring involving a reduction in store counts in order to survive a highly competitive environment. Now, though, the entire sporting-goods industry has picked up steam.

Despite its gains, though, Foot Locker hasn't benefited as much as some of its competitors. Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS  ) , Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq: HIBB  ) , and Finish Line (Nasdaq: FINL  ) have posted stronger share-price gains as consumers seem to prefer their larger stores. Foot Locker's small mall-based stores have still generated good comparable sales, but they may not have the potential to take the company much further unless mall traffic starts booming again.

In its most recent quarter, Foot Locker reported record profits and same-store sales growth of 9.8%. Especially impressive is the way that Foot Locker has taken cost increases from Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) and other footwear makers and passed them through to customers successfully rather than taking a further margin hit.

For Foot Locker to improve, it needs to keep working on growth. Going to larger stores would be an interesting strategic move for the company to consider in the years ahead.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.

Foot Locker may not be perfect, but we've got some other ideas you might like better. Let me invite you to learn about three smart long-term stock plays in the Fool's popular special report. It's yours for the taking and is absolutely free, but don't miss out -- click here and read it today.

Click here to add Foot Locker to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dick's Sporting Goods. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a diagonal call position on Nike. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2042542, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 3:42:20 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 6 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,199.33 30.06 0.17%
S&P 500 2,139.43 -3.73 -0.17%
NASD 5,250.27 -33.13 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 4:02 PM
FL $68.85 Up +0.85 +1.25%
Foot Locker CAPS Rating: ***
DKS $55.24 Up +0.17 +0.31%
Dick's Sporting Go… CAPS Rating: ***
FINL $20.33 Down -0.09 -0.44%
The Finish Line CAPS Rating: **
HIBB $40.55 Down -0.50 -1.22%
Hibbett Sports CAPS Rating: *****
NKE $51.97 Up +0.92 +1.80%
Nike CAPS Rating: *****