We've been reading about it for years, but the e-commerce revolution is truly heating up in 2020. Nonstore retail is a category that includes online shopping, and it's growing like crazy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, total retail and food-service sales from April through June were down 8% year over year. However, nonstore retail sales were up 25%, 28%, and 24% in April, May, and June, respectively.
E-commerce stocks like Etsy, Amazon, and Wayfair have been huge winners this year as a result. And conventional wisdom says to eschew any retail business that's not an e-commerce play. But being a contrarian is a great investing trait in certain situations. For example, Floor & Decor Holdings (FND 2.05%), Tractor Supply (TSCO 0.33%), and Dollar General (DG -0.55%) are three great brick-and-mortar-centric retail chains you can comfortably hold for the next decade.
1. Floor & Decor: A flooring specialist with little competition
Floor & Decor operates enormous warehouse stores. They average 76,000 square feet of almost nothing but flooring options like tile, vinyl plank, and the items needed for installation. While general home-improvement competitors have some flooring options, few retail stores match Floor & Decor's sprawling selection of products.
Professional customers (people who install flooring for a living) love Floor & Decor. The company was greatly impacted in its first quarter by the coronavirus pandemic. Comparable-store sales plummeted 46% in the last six days of Q1 as it was forced to close stores. But the company continued to serve its pro customers as best it can. As a result, the top 500 pros it works with spent twice as much in Q1 as they did last year, a testament to the company's durability even in tough times.
The DIY homeowner is also likely to stick with Floor & Decor instead of going with some e-commerce alternative. People like to see and feel flooring before making such a large purchase. Furthermore, tile is especially fragile, making it ill-suited for shipping.
Floor & Decor is popular and profitable, two great qualities for an expanding concept. Right now, the company has 123 locations and plans to open 11 new stores this year. That's down from its previous guidance of 24 new locations, but it's entirely due to new-construction restrictions caused by the coronavirus. Long term, its plans to grow to 400 locations at a 20% annual pace haven't changed. In 10 years, it will be close to that long-term growth target.
2. Tractor Supply: The "rural lifestyle" leader
Tractor Supply just reported a record quarter. Despite the pandemic, net sales for the second quarter of 2020 surged 35% year over year to $3.18 billion. A lot of the growth came from consumers purchasing more everyday items. But the coronavirus never threatened the core of the company's business; folks will care for their livestock and land even when sheltering in place.
Tractor Supply is more than its namesake retail chain; it also owns a pet chain called Petsense. And both chains are expanding. In 2020, it's opening between 75 and 80 new Tractor Supply locations, and 10 new Petsense stores. This can be a source of sustained top-line growth. And comps have grown for 10 consecutive years, not counting the 19% gain so far in 2020, providing another revenue-growth avenue.
It's hard to imagine shoppers wanting to purchase certain items from many other retailers. For example, Tractor Supply is the natural choice for items like 50-pound bags of horse feed and 16-foot utility gates, among other things. And with nearly 1,900 locations, the company has the requisite supply-network size to offer shipping options of its own. It provides same-day or next-day shipping, allowing it to retain any sales that could otherwise be lost to e-commerce.
In 10 years, I fully expect Tractor Supply will have retained its current business, and grown to accommodate more locations and more market share.
3. Dollar General: Supplying small-town America
In the old days, the general store was a frontier town's only retail option. Take a cruise down a rustic highway in small-town America today, and you'll see Dollar General is continuing this tradition. Most stores are in areas with fewer than 20,000 people. Therefore, in many rural areas, a Dollar General can be one of the only places to buy the consumables (like packaged food and cleaning products) needed for everyday living.
By focusing on areas with limited competition, Dollar General remains a strong business, year in, and year out. Its comps have grown for an astounding 30 consecutive years, and it's on pace for a 31st year in 2020. And since consumables are 78% of the company's business, shoppers are likely to continue spending even during down times.
Dollar General can reward shareholders in at least two ways over the next decade. First, the company can generate robust top-line growth. It still sees room for around 9,000 additional locations. Considering these stores have a payback period of under two years, that's a good use of capital.
Second, it sports a growing dividend currently yielding less than 1%. That's not much now, but it has raised its dividend by more than 10% each of the last three years. It has plenty of room for further dividend growth, and at a double-digit pace, the dividend can double in seven years.