In a year where many stocks have been dragged down by the bear market, companies that pay dividends can be especially appealing. Assuming each company has the financial fortitude to continue to pay its dividend through rough times, these businesses can help weather the storms of the stock market.

One place to start this search is the list of Dividend Aristocrats. These are companies that have increased their dividends each year for at least 25 consecutive years. While nothing is guaranteed, this list is a great starting point to find strong businesses that are likely to be reliable dividend payers -- and growers -- for years to come.

After having their share prices beaten down in 2022, Target (TGT -1.55%) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA -3.08%) are positioned to have better times ahead, and are now available at attractive discounts.

1. Target: Business is strong despite inventory struggles

Year to date, Target stock is down 28%; a large reason for that is the inventory struggles it had over the second half of 2022. When the company reported the results of its first quarter (ended April 30) in May, the stock plummeted 25% as inventory issues began to impact the bottom line. This was followed a few weeks later by an announcement that the company would start slashing prices on items in order to relieve the inventory pressures. Unfortunately, the second-quarter earnings report was more of the same, with net income falling 90% year over year.

As this chart makes clear, this year's inventory issues are an outlier from Target's historical results:

TGT Inventories (Quarterly) Chart

TGT Inventories (Quarterly) data by YCharts.

One bright spot in the Q2 report was management's more positive outlook for the second half of the year. For example, it predicted that the operating margin would be around 6% in the second half of the year, which would represent a substantial improvement from the operating margin rate of 1.2% in Q2.

Target's Q3 results showed some positive signs, but there were also continuing struggles. Comparable sales were up 2.7% on top of 12.7% in the year-ago quarter, driven by a 1.4% increase in traffic growth and a 1.2% increase in average ticket. Net income was $712 million, a substantial increase from the Q2 result of $183 million.

Unfortunately, the operating margin came in at 3.9%. While that's a strong increase from Q2, it fell short of management's expectations and resulted in lowered Q4 operating margin guidance of 3%. Additionally, no meaningful progress was made in reducing inventory.

The pressures on Target's stock price as a result of this year's inventory issues are understandable. However, there's every reason to believe that they're temporary, and that the resulting discounted share price offers a compelling opportunity for investors. This is what's been lost in the noise around the falling share price.

Target's dividend yield is now 2.4% and the dividend is in no danger of being reduced or cut. The stock has a long history of strong performance, and I believe we'll look back at 2022 as a bump in the road that provided a no-brainer buying opportunity.

2. Walgreens: Healthcare initiatives may drive growth

Walgreens is already well-known to consumers as a neighborhood pharmacy. What may not be as well-known are the investments the company has made into the healthcare space. This new segment of the business is designed to provide healthcare services within Walgreens locations. Some have been developed in-house, but the company also has taken majority positions in a primary care provider as well as a specialty pharmacy integrator.

The U.S. healthcare segment had revenue of $1.8 billion in the 2022 fiscal year, which ended in August. While that only accounted for 1.4% of total revenue, management expects U.S. healthcare revenue to reach $11 billion by its fiscal 2025. That would be an impressive growth rate, and would make this new initiative an important part of Walgreens' business.

Year to date, the stock is down 20%, a decline greater than the S&P 500's 13%. On a valuation basis, Walgreens looks incredibly cheap -- both its price-to-sales and price-to-earnings multiples are near 10-year lows:

WBA PS Ratio Chart

WBA PS Ratio data by YCharts.

Not only is the stock cheap, but its dividend also currently yields 4.6%, providing a return that easily outpaces the S&P 500's yield of 1.8%. Considering its current valuation and dividend yield, and its potential in the healthcare business, I see Walgreens as a no-brainer buy heading into 2023.