The U.S. economy has had its ups and downs in the past few years, to say the least. An anemic housing recovery and a sluggish job market threaten to slow meaningful domestic growth for the foreseeable future. Thankfully for investors, consumers still want to look good, and they're willing to pay extra to stay looking fabulous. A few standout companies are positioned to outperform the market, boosted by big growth opportunities, domestic and overseas alike.
When it comes to the younger crowd, youth-oriented action sports retailer Zumiez
Investors will pay a premium for Zumiez shares; the company has a P/E of 31 compared with the industry's more subdued 19 P/E. But with five-year sales growth more than 10 times the industry average and the five-year EPS rate triple the industry standard, this higher multiple is more than justified.
More into luxury items? "Willing to pay extra"? Well, you're in luck, my friend! Michael Kors
Now, you're rarely going to see this sort of meteoric growth and brand strength together without an imposing multiple attached to it. Kors is no exception; the company trades at 54 times earnings, more than double the industry average. Suddenly, this stock seems like quite a gamble -- until you consider that insiders own a whopping 50% of shares. With management heavily incentivized to enhance shareholder value, investors can rest a little easier.
Perfumes -- oh, my!
Still not stylish enough for you? Take a trip to Ulta Salon, Cosmetics, & Fragrance
Maybe you're not the type who can rely on getting those free drinks at the local watering hole. Doesn't matter. If the company keeps growing the way it has in recent years (74% EPS growth in 2011 and 64% in 2012), every hour will feel like happy hour. Of course, you should decide whether a growth stock like this is your style before pouring money into it. Like the other two companies, Ulta commands a higher-than-average multiple, currently around 44 times earnings.
Zumiez, Michael Kors, and Ulta all boast robust earnings and sales growth, rapid store expansions, or new e-commerce initiatives. All three have been able to increase same-store sales and have plans for aggressively opening new locations, domestically and abroad.
You don't have to scan foreign exchanges to find companies well positioned for international growth. If you're more comfortable with familiar U.S. companies, you may want to check out this free report: "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World."
Fool contributor John Divine owns none of the stocks mentioned in the story above. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Zumiez and Ulta Salon. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.