The holidays can be a great time for giving and receiving gifts. One of the best gifts you can receive is an ownership share in an excellent public company.
Three Motley Fool contributors have each found one great stock to put on your holiday wish list this season. Walt Disney (DIS 2.46%), Kroger (KR 2.82%), and RH (RH 3.09%) can be gifts that keep on giving for years. Here's why they could be great additions to your portfolio.
Disney, knocked down by the pandemic, is rising stronger
Parkev Tatevosian (Disney): The Walt Disney Company has a long and wonderful future ahead. The House of Mouse has been delighting families with its unique stories for generations. The holidays are a time when the company thrives. Millions of people worldwide visit Disney's theme parks, watch its movies on the big screen, and buy toys inspired by its characters. This holiday season, it might be prudent to put Disney's stock on your shopping list.
Disney was devastated at the pandemic onset when it had to close all its theme parks. Thankfully, billions of doses of effective vaccines have been administered into people's arms, and that's allowing economies to reopen worldwide. All its theme parks are now open. Moreover, management made improvements to operations designed to improve profitability and the guest experience simultaneously. That's great news for a company that regularly maintained operating profit margins over 20% in the years before the outbreak.
The coronavirus pandemic caused hundreds of millions of people to hunker down at home for nearly a year. Spending so much time at home created a surge in demand for in-home entertainment. Fortunately, Disney had launched its flagship streaming service Disney+ in November 2019. Since its launch, the service has attracted 118 million paying subscribers as of Oct. 2.
Still, investors are worried about the company's prospects in a world where COVID-19 infections remain high despite robust vaccination. Indeed, Disney's stock is down 18.4% year to date in 2021. That being said, the company's long-term prospects are better than they were before the outbreak. It added a widely popular streaming service that is gaining traction and made improvements to its theme parks. While the near term could be volatile for Disney, it will likely reward investors who are willing to buy and hold the stock for several years.
This leading grocery chain offers great value
John Ballard (Kroger): Grocery stores might not sound like an exciting investment opportunity, but they have their advantages in a well-rounded portfolio, particularly with many growth stocks getting more expensive. Owning shares of companies that sell everyday essentials is great during a recession. A leading grocery store like Kroger benefits from massive scale, with $133 billion in annual sales. This sales volume is driven by highly loyal customers who tend to stick with their local grocer instead of driving across town to a competitor.
Kroger has delivered solid operating results over the last few years, and it really came to life during the pandemic where comparable (or identical) store sales accelerated to as high as 19% in the fiscal first quarter of 2020. The number of customers using its digital service, such as pickup and delivery, nearly doubled last year, and even during the reopening, those digital customers stuck with Kroger and returned to in-store shopping.
In the most recent quarter, Kroger reported a slight decline in comp sales growth of 0.6%, which is understandable given the surge in sales growth last year. However, on a two-year basis, comp sales were up 14%. Consumers are eating more at home, which bodes well for further momentum in Kroger's business in the near term, especially if higher inflation makes it even more expensive to eat out.
The stock trades at a low valuation of 12.9 times expected earnings for fiscal 2021. It also pays an above-average dividend yield of 1.8%. This looks especially attractive considering the inflationary environment that is starting to pressure the valuations for growth stocks. Kroger is a solid company that gets a lot of repeat business. The main risk is a continued surge in the rate of inflation, which would pressure Kroger's already razor-thin profit margin. At the very least, investors should keep this value stock on their watch list.
This inexpensive furniture stock has a history of delivering excellent returns
Jennifer Saibil (RH): RH, the premium furniture brand formerly known as Restoration Hardware, wasn't one of the big pandemic winners. With its niche in luxury goods, it weathered the pandemic environment without too much trouble. But it's back to brisk business in 2021, and people are out spending again.
Sales increased 39% year over year to nearly $1 billion in the fiscal second quarter (ended July 31), marking a rebound, and management raised its outlook to 32% for the fiscal year at the midpoint. It's enjoying stronger profits as well, with net income growing 130% in the second quarter to $227 million.
RH in an under-the-radar success story, creating a luxury story out of its chair sets and door handles. Its moat is in its upscale branding, where it has woven the luxury experience into the purchase process. That includes a six-story New York flagship store with an art exhibit and a fashionable restaurant as well as dedicated designers and completely customizable solutions, an important element of the premium market where shoppers don't want to look like everyone else.
The other side of its recent incredible showing is the link between online and in-store shopping, something that other luxury goods retailers are still struggling with. The company only has a select few stores, and they're not in the standard flagship urban locations but in strategic, affluent areas that reach its target clientele. It offers online shopping, professionally led designing, catalogs, and in-store shopping.
And there are important trends supporting its strategy. With more people working from home, people are moving to suburban locations, necessitating new and more furniture. Others are buying second homes. These are trends that benefit all furniture companies and in particular a company like RH that's focused on the upwardly mobile and has the capacity to service its clients through its varied omnichannel network.
RH stock has been good to investors, gaining 414% vs. the S&P 500's 67% gain over the past three years. It's not expensive, trading at 34 times trailing-12-month earnings. This is a top consumer goods stock that should reward you this holiday season and beyond for a very long time.