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3 Unexpected Stay-at-Home Stocks That Could Keep Running

By Danny Vena – Apr 13, 2020 at 5:27AM

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The pandemic has resulted in a feast or famine situation for some businesses. Here are a few unexpected beneficiaries of the lockdown.

We live in unprecedented times, the result of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Never before has so much of the global population been shuttered away at home, making only occasional forays outside, and with an increasing reliance on businesses specializing in remote services or delivery.

While some of the winners would have been easy to predict, others were dark horse candidates that rose to the occasion and stand to reap long-term rewards. With that in mind, let's look at three outliers that could continue to run, long after the pandemic is a thing of the past. 

Young mother talking on the phone while using laptop in a home office.

Image source: Getty Images.

A home office lifeline

There's no question that e-commerce has been an obvious beneficiary of social distancing, as consumers increasingly turn to digital commerce for many everyday essentials. Amazon.com has been a clear winner from the move to e-commerce, with more than 100 million U.S. households as Prime customers. The company announced that it planned to hire as many as 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to meet the demand. 

However, a much more unexpected standout has been Wayfair (W 0.53%). The online home goods retailer revealed that its revenue growth-rate had doubled year-over-year in late March, and the run-rate had continued into early April. The company also said that it was seeing strong demand in a broad range of categories, both in its domestic and international markets. 

One of the catalysts may be people working remotely and buying home office furnishings, while many were also buying playroom items and children's furniture to accommodate kids at home due to school closures. Others were buying all manner of household items, including mattresses, bedding, sheets, towels, and cookware. The company even noted sales of appliances, like washers and dryers, were up. 

Wayfair will realize a long-term relationship with many of these customers, who will likely continue to patronize the home goods seller, as a good chunk of the company's sales comes from repeat business from returning shoppers.

Two hands picking slices of pepperoni pizza,

Image source: Getty Images.

Pickup or delivery?

The stay-at-home economy has resulted in the family dinner re-emerging like a piece of Americana from a bygone era. With most of the developed world still on lockdown, trips to favorite eateries are out, and overall, restaurant sales have plunged. However, companies with existing delivery operations have been the notable exception.

Perhaps it isn't too surprising then that Domino's Pizza (DPZ -3.25%) has been able to build upon its recent success. In mid-February, the company announced better-than-expected fourth quarter results just as the market began its bearish descent, sending the stock up 25%. Domino's also provided a business update and released preliminary results late last month. While the impact from the pandemic was evident -- with sales growth slowing with each successive month -- year-over-year sales continue to grow -- even through the end of March. 

This illustrates that Domino's is better positioned than many eating establishments to weather the current conditions.

An elderly woman videoconferencing with a doctor on a laptop using a telehealth platform.

Image source: Getty Images.

Digital house calls

Prior to the pandemic, the idea that a widespread virus would result in fewer trips to the doctor's office would have seemed absurd. Yet, the highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus has patients loathe to make visits to their local physician. This has resulted in a massive increase in the visibility of telemedicine and the use of virtual health platforms as a viable alternative.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of that trend is Teladoc Health (TDOC 0.80%). While the telemedicine leader already had serious momentum before the outbreak, its business -- and its stock price -- have soared in the wake of the pandemic. The platform became the go-to health platform for patients wanting medical advice but unwilling to brave a trip to the doctor's office for fear of becoming infected.

When Teladoc announced its full-year 2019 results, its total paid memberships in the U.S. climbed 61% and fee only visits soared 104% -- and that was pre-coronavirus. The company announced in mid-March that patient visits spiked another 50% compared to the prior week, well above peak volumes seen during flu season. 

Now that patients have discovered the ease and convenience of the digital doctor visit, many will be eager to continue the practice long after the pandemic has run its course, with Teladoc handling many of those house calls.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Amazon and Teladoc Health. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Teladoc Health, and Wayfair and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Domino's Pizza, Inc. Stock Quote
Domino's Pizza, Inc.
DPZ
$314.19 (-3.25%) $-10.55
Wayfair Inc. Stock Quote
Wayfair Inc.
W
$35.92 (0.53%) $0.19
Teladoc Health, Inc. Stock Quote
Teladoc Health, Inc.
TDOC
$26.63 (0.80%) $0.21
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$114.41 (-0.64%) $0.74

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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