As the holidays are rapidly approaching, you probably have lots of items on your shopping list. In addition to your holiday gift shopping, we at the Fool think you may want to consider adding some stocks to your list as well.
Here are three stocks our contributors like as we head into the holidays that could be the gifts you buy for yourself that keep on giving.
Selena Maranjian: One stock to consider adding to your shopping cart for this holiday season is RetailMeNot (NASDAQ:SALE), the coupon specialist. (If you're familiar with it, go to www.retailmenot.com, enter an online retailer you frequent, and you'll be shown coupon codes and other deals available from it.) RetailMeNot's stock began trading in July of 2013 at $26.50 per share, and it was recently around $10.80.
So, what's going right and wrong for RetailMeNot? Well, on the plus side, its top line has grown more than tenfold over the past five years, and it's free-cash-flow positive, too. Its site has grown robustly, with management recently noting that, "Combined, our marketplace has over 600,000 digital offers from over 70,000 retailers and brands, including offers from approximately 90 of the Top 100 Internet Retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer Magazine." It's getting more than 700 million visits annually from shoppers.
On the other hand, its last quarter featured a drop in revenue, reflecting challenges. In-store and advertising revenue grew 91% over year-ago levels, while mobile transaction revenue jumped 55%. Mobile is a relatively small piece of the pie at the moment, though, with desktop revenue far larger -- and down 24% over year-ago levels -- in part due to changes in Google's search algorithm that delivered less traffic. Two offerings that management is bullish about are discounted gift cards and easy digital rebates that can reward shoppers just via a photo snapped of a receipt.
RetailMeNot is not a stock for the faint of heart, as its future remains unclear. You may want to just keep an eye on it, or take a small position now, waiting to see how well it fares in the holiday season. If the company gets on more solid ground and gains traction, today's price will turn out to have been quite attractive.
Dan Caplinger: Athletic footwear and apparel remain favorite gifts among holiday shoppers, and the industry has soared in importance as demographic trends and increased popularity overall have boosted total sales. As the longtime leader in the industry, Nike (NYSE:NKE) has taken full advantage of those favorable conditions, and it has even made moves to extend its reach over a broader swath of the worldwide athletic market.
Nike's most recent quarterly report from September showed just how successful Nike has been over time. Even with tough economic conditions in key areas like Brazil, Nike managed to produce double-digit growth in futures orders on a currency-neutral basis in all but the emerging-markets segment of its business. Online sales have jumped by nearly half over the past year, and the company has managed to grow overall despite immense headwinds from the strong U.S. dollar on its worldwide revenue and profits.
Nike faces plenty of competition from up-and-coming rivals, but the industry leader has nevertheless answered with initiatives to boost its presence in key sports like soccer. Nike products are certain to be a popular gift choice this holiday season, and the stock should benefit from that brand success now and in the future.
Matt Frankel: One stock that I'm seriously considering before the holidays is Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY), the online marketplace for unique items. As the worst-performing IPO of 2015, Etsy has fallen by more than 71% since its first trading day earlier this year, and it has lost more than 23% of its value in the past month alone.
The main reason is the perceived competitive threat from Amazon.com's new "handmade" service, and it's easy to see why. After all, Etsy's resources and customer base don't even come close to Amazon's. However, I think the fears are overblown.
Not only does Etsy have an outstanding reputation for providing quality unique items, but the difference in fees alone could be enough to allow Etsy to continue its impressive growth. Amazon charges sellers a 12% fee on each item, as well as a $39.99 monthly fee to those who sell more than 40 items per month -- significantly higher than Etsy's 3.5% plus $0.20 per item fee.
And, Amazon is requiring that all products are actually handmade (hence the name), whereas Etsy has no such requirement. This could actually create another new revenue stream for the company, as Etsy is experimenting with a service that connects designers with Etsy-approved manufacturers -- both of which will pay a fee for the service.
Finally, Etsy has been growing at a breathtaking pace, with sales up 22% from a year ago. As we head into the holiday season, the continually improving economy and Etsy's growing positive reputation could provide the company with a strong sales boost.