In this segment from MarketFoolery, host Chris Hill is joined by Maria Gallagher of Motley Fool Asset Management and summer investing analyst Troy Springer, and he's thinking a bit outside the box.
Usually, the "stocks on our radar" bit is reserved for the Motley Fool Money show on Fridays, but this week, he's taking it to a new venue. So Maria gets an opportunity to explain why she foresees better days for General Mills (NYSE:GIS), and Troy talks about his views of the recently public apparel industry disruptor Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX).
Maria Gallagher is an employee of Motley Fool Asset Management, a separate, sister company of The Motley Fool, LLC. The views of Maria Gallagher and Motley Fool Asset Management are not the views of The Motley Fool, LLC and should not be taken as such.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on July 26, 2018.
Chris Hill: Every week on Motley Fool Money, we have stocks on our radar. I wanted to bring that to Market Foolery with you. I'll start with you, Maria. What's a stock you've been looking at this summer?
Maria Gallagher: I'm going to preface this by saying that consumer packaged goods companies haven't had the strongest run recently, and General Mills, who I'm going to talk about, isn't an exception. Their stock is down around 27% and they haven't had sales growth since 2013. But, this company has been around since 1928, and I think there's a reason behind that.
I think it's an opportunity to buy it, because it's priced and treated in the market like a company that's in terminal decline. While their historically profitable moat of having this brand recognition is eroding, I don't think they're burying their head in the sand. I think their plans for future growth are positive. They're planning to expand their portfolio. They recently acquired a pet food company, they acquired a health food company. They're trying to grow into these more premium categories. They're repositioning their existing brands and driving their e-commerce growth with a goal of $1 billion in sales of e-commerce growth by 2020.
I think it's currently undervalued compared to its peers. I don't think it's as dying as everyone thinks it is. It still has strong brand recognition, it has really strong plans for the future, and it's a company that's going to continue to do well.
Hill: I think you may have made a slight understatement when you said that the industry of packaged goods hasn't had a great run lately. Earlier this year on this podcast, I think I said something along the lines of, "This is now the single worst industry to try to invest into." It has replaced teen apparel as an awful industry to try to invest in. When you look at General Mills, it sounds like the case is almost entirely about valuation.
Gallagher: Yeah, definitely. I think they're a strong company. Right now, they're not being priced as a strong company. You're right, the industry isn't the best, but people always need to eat. I don't think the industry is going away. It's not going to become an industry that no one uses.
Hill: The pet food company that bought, Blue Buffalo?
Gallagher: Blue Buffalo, yeah, $8 billion.
Hill: Yeah, that was a stand-alone company, and there were a few people at this --
Troy Springer: People spend on their pets.
Gallagher: They do.
Hill: They do. I remember, there were a few people, I think Jason Moser was one of them, Abi Malin was another, who were fans of that company and were disappointed when it got acquired.
Springer: I think it was a smart acquisition.
Hill: No, kudos to General Mills for the buy, it was more like, they were hoping they were going to stay independent. Troy, what have you been looking at?
Springer: I've been looking at Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix is a recent IPO in the past year. It's up 80% since it IPO-ed. Stitch Fix is another of those data-driven companies that's a pure play on disrupting retail. What they do is, you go online, fill out a survey of what your style is for men and women. They send you a box with four to five different clothing items in it. You try them on, choose which ones you want to wear. The things you want, you keep; the things you don't, you send back. If you buy all of them, you get a discount. Most boxes cost about $200.
What got me really interested in Stitch Fix when I started looking at it is, at around the time of its IPO, it already had better operating margins than a company like Nordstrom. To me, if Stitch Fix was able to command better margins than a premium company like Nordstrom, that seemed pretty interesting.
They also have a great CEO who's on the Glassdoor Top 100 CEO list, Katrina Lake, one of the forerunner female CEOs out there right now, graduate of Stanford and Harvard. I think this is a company that's really set up for the future. The data they're collecting on style is really valuable -- the fit, the wear. I've gotten three Stitch Fix boxes, and they're the best clothes I own.
Hill: Nice. Have you used them?
Gallagher: I filled out their online survey, and they picked out some really cute outfits for me --
Springer: Pull the trigger!
Gallagher: [laughs] I haven't pulled the trigger and actually subscribed.
Hill: I'm curious if they've always been for men and women, or they started more for women. The reason I ask that is because I've seen a lot more ads lately specifically for men. I'm just wondering, in the same way that a few years back, Lululemon identified men as a growth category for them, even though it's like, "Yeah, we have a few things for men, but ... " is that the case with Stitch Fix?
Springer: It started for women only, but since they've IPO-ed, they've had a men's line for a long time. I'd say, that's definitely a growth area for them. Men spend 80% of what women do, according to their research, which is a little closer than I thought.
The other thing I'd say, at least for me, I don't like to shop. And I don't have great style, or really care to look in the magazines to figure it out. If I have someone telling me, "Troy, this is what's in style now," and they send it to me, I'm going to believe them.
I think it's a big growth area for men. Their Stitch Fix Men Instagram account has about 70,000 followers. They're working with a lot of the male influencers on Instagram to spread their brand. But there's probably more competition on the men's side, between a lot of other box start-ups that send you stuff. But with the data that Stitch fix has, it's a superior product.