Investing in Limited Brands
Tween Brands owns the Limited Too and Justice store franchises and is one of the only companies I know of that caters specifically to girls aged 7 to 14. This demographic is also known as "tweens" because it refers to kids that aren't young enough to be considered children anymore but are too young to officially be considered teenagers.
One can only wonder how Tween Brands is able to discover what fickle young females are interested in wearing, but so far the company has put together an impressive string of sales growth and free cash flow generation to prove itself the authority on everything tween.
In fact, back in July the company officially changed its name from Too, Inc. to Tween Brands to "remind the investment community that we are focused on catering to the tween girl." This also speaks to the success of the Justice stores first introduced in 2004. Limited Too still accounts for the bulk of sales due to its recent 562 store count, but sales and growth opportunities are stagnating, as witnessed by the flat same-store sales in the just-reported fourth quarter for 2006.
Justice performed much better, posting a 21% comparable store increase for the fourth quarter, and is accounting for the majority of new store expansion at Tween Brands. In fact, Justice has energized the company's overall top-line percentage growth to the double digits and earnings have jumped over 30% annually over the past two years. Management is currently projecting nearly 13% growth in diluted earnings for the upcoming year, and it's clear Justice has plenty of growth opportunities ahead since there are only 162 stores currently.
I also like Tween's free cash flow generation; for the past two out of three fiscal years prior to 2006, free cash has exceeded reported net income. As a result, the company has no need for debt and can easily open Justice stores from the ample capital created at Limited Too. We'll see how cash flow trends for the most recent year stacked up after the annual 10-K is filed.
The stock is up over 7% after posting strong fourth-quarter earnings trends, but shareholders should continue to benefit from Justice's bright outlook. You can head here for details on the wide array of teen retailing ideas such as Aeropostale
For related Foolishness:
- Good-Looking Quarter for Tween Brands
- Tween Brands Tweaks Its Estimates: Fool by Numbers
- Abercrombie Keeps Its Cool
Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.