Value stocks are companies that trade at relatively low valuation multiples compared to their long-term growth potential and earnings. They are a great way for investors to maximize potential returns and minimize risk in the stock market. Here are two value stocks investors should consider buying right now because of their strong brands and compelling business models. 

The first stock is Nike (NYSE:NKE), a blue chip apparel company with a massive growth opportunity in China. The second stock is Costco (NASDAQ:COST), a discount wholesaler with a fast-growing e-commerce operation. Both stocks are poised for bull runs. 

Close up of a $100 bill

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Nike 

Nike is one of the world's most iconic apparel brands, known for its high-quality shoes and sports gear. The company straddles the fence between value and growth, but the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the stock deeper into value territory, making it a great deal for investors who want to hop on board while they can still get a good deal on shares.

The shoemaker is poised for continued growth as it shakes off the impacts of COVID-19, especially in key markets like China.

In Nike's fiscal 2020 (which represents the 12 months ended on May 31) the company reported a revenue decline of 4% to $37.4 billion due to supply chain disruption and lockdowns around the world. However, the greater China market held up exceptionally well, posting 8% sales growth in the fiscal year. Nike's e-commerce operations also performed well, with fourth-quarter digital sales increasing by 75% to make up 30% of total revenue in the period.

According to management, around 90% of Nike-owned stores are now open across the globe, with retail traffic improving week-over-week. The situation in China is even better, with 100% of stores open for business.

Costco 

Costco operates a global chain of membership warehouses that sell consumer goods at lower prices than traditional outlets. The company passes on cost savings to consumers by eliminating overhead costs like salespeople and fancy buildings -- a business model exceptionally well-suited to this tough economic environment.

Costco's stock has soared by 16% year to date compared to the market's measly 4% return over the same period. And the company is poised for continued growth because of its defensive strategy and rapidly expanding e-commerce operations.

Costco reported fiscal third-quarter earnings on May 28, and the results demonstrate the strength of its business model. Total sales jumped 7.3% to $36.45 billion, while e-commerce sales soared 64.5% in the quarter. Costco's momentum is continuing in the fourth quarter, with July sales rising 14.1% to $13.04 billion, up from $11.43 in the prior-year period. The company is also poised to benefit from increased retail demand in the holiday season, as consumers may turn to discount retailers amid a weak economy and elevated unemployment numbers.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.