Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that health, sports, and fitness trends have been slowly but surely creeping into our daily lives. From "healthy" milkshakes to fake meat (think: vegan burgers), the trend sweeping across America (and most of the developed world) seems to be: Get healthy and stay healthy.
Whether some of these will eventually end up as fads, we don't know at this point in time. But what we do know is that a huge wave of consumerism has been focused on getting healthy and staying healthy, and it's created new industries adjacent to the old sports and wellness ones. There's even been an app introduced recently to help you customize your weight management!
Let's focus on the sports side of things for now. Healthier lifestyles (and hastily-made New Year's resolutions) have led to brisk sales of sports footwear, apparel, and accessories. Here are three companies that sell athletic and sports footwear and apparel that you should consider owning. I believe these names are some of the best consumer staple stocks to own at the moment.
Nike (NYSE:NKE) is one of the most prominent sports brands in the world. The sports footwear and apparel manufacturer has a long track record of innovative products and spends significant sums of money on research and development to come up with great new products for its customers.
For first quarter 2020 earnings, Nike continued to knock the lights out with a 7% year-over-year revenue growth, while net income jumped 25% year over year to $1.37 billion. Gross margin continued to expand by 150 basis points to 45.7%. The company's share price continued to scale new all-time highs at around $101 per share.
Nike continues to broaden its product offering by providing women with over 90 styles across running, training, and sports wear. The company is also developing a new personalized cushioning platform called Joyride for launch in the fiscal year 2020. As the Tokyo Olympics are approaching in July-August 2020, Nike should see demand for its products surge even more as they gear up for more spending on athletics and sports.
Skechers (NYSE:SKX) is ranked among the top three footwear companies in the USA and is also a leader in multiple product categories. The company has more than 3,300 stores worldwide and designs and develops a diverse and impressive range of lifestyle and performance footwear for both men and women.
For the first nine months of 2019, sales jumped by 9.2% year over year to $3.9 billion, and 2019's third-quarter sales hit a new record high of $1.35 billion. Gross margin remains impressive at 47.7%, while net income jumped 13.1% year over year to $287 million. The company also won two awards last year and launched unique collaborations in Asia, North America, and other regions.
Growth was achieved across all domestic, international, and direct-to-consumer businesses, and international sales now represent the bulk, or 58.8%, of total revenue. Chief Operating Officer David Weinberg mentioned in the Q3 2019 conference call that growing internationally remains the primary growth driver for the business. Almost every distribution center saw double-digit increases in pairs shipped during the quarter, and this strength should extend into the fourth quarter as well. India is being converted to a subsidiary in the first quarter of 2020, while Mexico will become a joint venture in the second quarter of 2020, fueling growth this year and beyond.
Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU) is known for starting the "athleisure" trend, which pairs the word "athletics" with "leisure." The company is a designer and retailer of athletic apparel and as of Sept. 30, 2019, had 479 company-operated stores, of which 242 were in the USA and 49 in Canada.
The company delivered sparkling numbers in the first nine months of 2019. Revenue was up 21.7% year over year. Operating income jumped 26.2% year over year, while net income surged 31% year over year to hit $347.5 million. Gross margin inched up 60 basis points from 54.1% to 54.7%, while comparable same-store-sales growth hit 17%. It's no wonder Lululemon's share price has continued hitting new all-time highs at $235 per share.
CEO Calvin McDonald outlined three growth priorities for the company in its five-year plan released in 2018 -- innovative product (expansion of both core and new product categories for men and women), omni guest experiences (creating an integrated customer experience through multiple channels, including digital), and expand markets (broadening Lululemon's appeal globally, with China as a key focus).
These multi-pronged, long-term initiatives sound like an effective and far-sighted strategic plan for building continued growth for the business as it latches on to the athleisure trend.
A note of caution on valuation
Though the three companies above have witnessed strong growth and surging profits, it's noteworthy to point out that valuations for all three aren't exactly cheap. Nike is trading at around 35 times price-earnings while paying out a $0.22 quarterly dividend (for a 0.9% dividend yield), while Lululemon is trading at 55 times price-earnings and doesn't pay a dividend. Skechers is cheapest among the three at just under 20 times price-earnings. Investors need to be confident that all three can continue to deliver knock-out revenue and earnings growth in order to justify their valuations.