Some investors may understandably be concerned about the stock market potentially crashing. After all, it's been volatile ever since inflation started rearing its head late in 2021. That led the Federal Reserve to talking about interest rate increases to try and tame price increases in the real economy. 

If you are looking for stocks that can hold up well during a stock market crash, Target (TGT -1.08%) and Tilly's (TLYS 0.26%) can fit the bill. The two are selling at inexpensive valuations, which could stop them from falling as much as the many stocks that sell more dearly. 

People shopping in a clothing store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Target's digital sales are supplementing brick-and-mortar locations

Target has been one of the prime beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic. The company has grown sales by $27 billion since 2019. Target was undoubtedly helped by being deemed an essential retailer, allowing it to stay open during lockdowns when others had to close.

However, management had done an excellent job building out Target's multi-pronged, interconnected sales channels. Target, arguably more than any other retailer, offer shoppers an array of convenient ways to get what they're looking for. Indeed, the $27 billion increase in sales since 2019 was driven equally by stores and digital options.

The rise in sales boosted Target's operating profit margin, at 8.4%, to its highest level in the last decade. And despite the economy's reopening, management expects sales to grow a few hundred basis points in fiscal 2022 and its operating profit margin to remain above 8%.

TGT Price to Free Cash Flow Chart

TGT Price to Free Cash Flow data by YCharts.

Fortunately for investors, Target's stock is trading inexpensively compared to two of its top rivals, Walmart and Costco

Tilly's is reporting record earnings 

Tilly's is a specialty retailer headquartered in California, and with the bulk of its stores in California, Texas, and Florida. The company has done an excellent job bouncing back from the disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

Tilly's reported its highest earnings per share in its most recently completed fiscal year in the last decade. Management planned well in advance and secured enough quality inventory to sell during widespread shortages. What's more, because its competitors did not do as well in securing products to sell, Tilly's could sell its inventory at higher profit margins. Its gross profit margin of 35.7% was also its highest in the past decade.

The company is one of the smaller brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S., with roughly 241 locations, but management plans to add 15 to 20 stores in the coming year. 

TLYS Price to Free Cash Flow Chart

TLYS Price to Free Cash Flow data by YCharts.

Like Target, Tilly's stock is cheap according to the price-to-free-cash-flow and price-to-earnings metrics. That's true whether you look at Tilly's valuation historically or in comparison to other companies. 

A final word on valuation

Target and Tilly's are undoubtedly inexpensive, as shown above. That feature can go a long way in protecting their stock prices from falling further. While they may not be explosive growth stocks that will 10x your money in five years, they will work to protect your portfolio in the event of a stock market crash.