Adding shares to your portfolio in fast-growing businesses is an exciting way to play the stock market. Witnessing these companies boost their revenue and earnings as they steal market share and gain customers in their industries is rewarding for any investor to see. The potential for market-beating returns also doesn't hurt.
Coming back into fashion
Eric Volkman (Capri Holdings): These days, I'm partial to Capri Holdings, the luxury-fashion company that holds three iconic (and diverse) brands in its portfolio -- Michael Kors, Versace, and Jimmy Choo. This stock has done well since its most recent -- and rather impressive -- earnings report, but I think it still has plenty of runway in front of it.
Earlier this year, before the delta variant of the coronavirus spread menacingly around the world, investors were anticipating a monster recovery in the retail sector. Delta put the kibosh on that, and since then, price growth for many retail and related stocks has been muted.
But that recovery is surely coming once we finally get past the disease in a meaningful way. Consumers around the world will need and/or want to refresh their wardrobes. After all, don't we all want to look as fine as possible when we finally step out in public on the regular? Combine that with the savings that many work-and-stay-at-home folks accumulated, and you have a powerful base for growth in the near future.
We're already seeing Capri Holdings take big strides as it struts away from the pandemic. All three of its "fashion houses" -- Capri-speak for brands -- saw intense year-over-year growth in the company's Q1 of fiscal 2022. Admittedly, that's from a low, coronavirus-era base, but these numbers are still impressive.
Michael Kors, the largest brand (not least because its fashions are less exclusive and therefore more affordable to the general public) led the way with 184% growth. The smallest in size, footwear purveyor Jimmy Choo, was No. 2, with a 178% improvement, and the storied Versace brought up the rear at 158%.
All told, Capri Holdings boosted its revenue 178% higher and dramatically flipped into the black on the bottom line. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income was $221 million, against the highly unfashionable $156 million loss of the year-ago period. Not surprisingly, the company lifted both its revenue and adjusted net profit guidance for the full year.
Analysts tracking the stock are forecasting somewhat choppy revenue and profitability developments over the next few quarters. However, they're also generally expecting double-digit growth from even that most recent and impressive quarterly performance. From fiscal 2022 to 2023, they believe Capri Holdings will grow its per-share net earnings by 16% on the back of a 10% rise in revenue.
Given that pent-up demand and a global economy that might be quite frothy after the pandemic (we hope) fades, I think those estimates are conservative. Capri Holdings stock is as attractive for investors as many of its clothes are for fashionistas.
Comfort over everything
Neil Patel (Crocs): With a share price that has nearly tripled over the past year, Crocs has been one of the best apparel stocks to own. The booming maker of popular foam clogs just reported another fantastic quarter, growing sales 73% year over year to a record $626 million. Profit also jumped a remarkable 148%.
Crocs relies on collaborations to help drive brand awareness. For example, the business did partnerships with musical stars like Post Malone and with recent movie releases like Space Jam: A New Legacy. Additionally, the company does a great job utilizing social media channels to drum up interest from consumers. This strategy seems to be working, as Crocs was the sixth-most-popular footwear brand, according to Piper Sandler's most recent Taking Stock With Teens survey. Gaining relevance with this valuable demographic is very lucrative for Crocs.
What really stands out are the company's superb financials. Crocs' gross margin of 63.9% in Q3 was up from 57.2% in the same period last year. This is outstanding, given that the average selling price of a product during the quarter was just $24.42.
Comfort and affordability for consumers and profitability for the business evidently aren't mutually exclusive components. And Crocs' adjusted operating margin of 32.8% affords it the ability to invest in excess air freight and manufacturing capacity to alleviate supply-chain challenges currently plaguing the global economy.
Don't worry if you missed out on the chance to buy shares over the past year. According to management, this growth-stock's expansion days are far from over. Sales are expected to increase 63.5% (at the midpoint) year over year in 2021. And by 2026, the leadership team forecasts $5 billion in annual revenue, which would be more than double what the business plans to generate this year. Boosting revenue via digital channels (which represents 37% of sales today) and a stronger push into Asia (particularly in China), will propel Crocs over the next several years.
This $9 billion company should be on your investing radar.
A misunderstood pet stock
Jeremy Bowman (Petco): The pet-products industry has taken off during the pandemic as months of social distancing and being homebound led many Americans to adopt a pet. In fact, more than 11 million U.S. households got a pet during the first six months of the pandemic, according to the American Pet Products Association.
That trend has led to a boom for pet stocks like Chewy and Freshpet, but one industry stock seems to be getting ignored -- Petco Health and Wellness. The retailer had its IPO earlier this year as it was reintroduced to the market after being taken private a few years ago.
Petco is best known for its brick-and-mortar stores but is in the midst of a transformation that's making it a more comprehensive pet-care company. It's adding grooming centers, veterinary care, and even full-scale animal hospitals as part of a strategy to offer higher-margin services, in addition to pet products to make a one-stop shop for pet owners.
The company is also leaning on the membership model to drive growth. It recently launched its Vital Care membership, which offers a slew of benefits including discounts on grooming, routine veterinary exams, and discounts on retail products, all for $19/month. Petco has already enrolled more than 100,000 Vital Care members and has more than 700,000 members in its grooming and nutrition loyalty program.
With a retail footprint of roughly 1,500 stores, Petco is much larger than any other pet-focused retailer except PetSmart. It's leveraging that brick-and-mortar foundation to its benefit by offering services that you can't get online.
Like other pet stocks, Petco has seen strong growth lately, with comparable sales up 30% on a two-year stacked basis. However, unlike many of its peers in the industry, the stock looks surprisingly affordable, trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 27 based on this year's expected earnings per share. If Petco can deliver on its transformation goals, the stock should have a lot of upside from here.