Folks who bought into the recent IPO of leading mattress maker Sealy (NYSE:ZZ) probably wish they had just stashed that cash under their own mattress. It has been a tough debut, to say the least, for this reasonably well-known company, with worries about the health of the bedding/furniture market and the general market malaise leading to investors taking some lumps.

Last week's earnings report really didn't help matters too much. Performance wasn't bad at all relative to estimates, but 6% overall sales growth, minimal operating profit growth, and flat adjusted EBITDA performance don't tend to get folks too excited. It should also be noted that those latter two figures exclude the impact of the rather considerable expenses booked in the quarter for the company's IPO.

Even though the stock has been weak ever since the IPO, I think this could be the sort of sleepy stock (sorry, folks, that pun was just too easy to pass up) that does respectably well over time. Sealy has the leading market share (more than 20%) in a fragmented industry where profits are relatively well protected by a mix of low imports, low big-box retail store sales, and exclusive arrangements with specialty retailers.

That second item I just mentioned might ultimately be the one that helps the most. Companies like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and Target (NYSE:TGT) don't really play in this category, and I don't see that changing soon. Mattresses are something folks don't buy often, and there's usually a fair bit of help required from informed salespeople -- attributes that really are antithetical to the way Wal-Mart and Costco run their businesses.

While growth in the bedding industry tends to track the gross domestic product over the long haul, there have been some recent shake-ups to mention. Newer bedding technology from companies like Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS) and Tempur-Pedic (NYSE:TPX) have made an impression, even though these companies' combined market share doesn't really come close to Sealy's. While new technology may be something of a threat to bedding companies with fewer resources, Sealy has the wherewithal to develop competing products and/or perhaps buy one of these two companies.

You could certainly do worse than buy a leading company in a stable industry, particularly one with what seems to be good returns on capital. Accordingly, value-oriented Fools might want to hold off on the warm milk just long enough to peek under the covers at Sealy.

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What type of investor are you? Wal-Mart was recommended in Inside Value, Costco was selected in Stock Advisor, and Select Comfort is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Talk stocks with other investors and our analysts when you give our newsletters a try.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).