Investors who've been waiting for a better price to buy a piece of Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) finally have their wish. The restaurant chain's stock has cratered by 40% over the last six months as its growth rates plunged.
A bacteria-fueled food-safety scare swamped fourth-quarter results and made Chipotle's 2015 look downright average: Sales rose by just 10% as net income improved by 7%. That's a far cry from the 28% revenue gain -- and 36% profit spike -- it recorded in 2014.
If you have a strong stomach (sorry) for volatility, buying Chipotle stock now could produce huge gains for patient investors, assuming that Chipotle gets back to its market-thumping ways. But there are other places to look for outsized growth potential, as well. Here are three stocks that Motley Fool contributors believe would make great long-term buys.
Jeremy Bowman (Restoration Hardware):
A growth stock I've long had my eye on is Restoration Hardware (NYSE:RH). The high-end furniture retailer just keeps growing and growing and growing. Net income jumped 37% in its most recent quarter on a 7% increase in comparable brand sales, as the company continues to add new real estate footprint and expand into different lifestyle segments.
While sales growth has slowed down from a blistering pace a couple of years ago, the recent sell-off seems to be overwrought. The stock has fallen more than 50% in the last few months on concerns about slowing growth and a possible recession, making it unusually affordable. It now has a P/E of just 21, essentially in line with the market average, and a PEG ratio of just 0.66, indicating its future growth is being undervalued.
Macroeconomic factors also favor RH. The housing market remains strong, driving home furnishing purchases, and the company's stores operate entirely U.S., cushioning it from the strong dollar. In fact, since it purchases some materials in Europe, it actually benefits from a stronger greenback. Rising interest rates could eventually cool off the mortgage market, but they may not be a significant factor for at least a few years.
RH has proven the popularity of its affordable luxury position in home decor, and earnings per share are expected to grow another 25% this year. If the company can deliver over the next few quarters, the stock could easily bounce back and double from here.
Demitri Kalogeropoulos (Under Armour ):
Under Armour (NYSE:UAA) just closed out a banner year, with sales up 28% overall. Kevin Plank and his executive team managed to deliver the retailer's 25th straight quarter of 20% or better growth in its core apparel segment. Meanwhile, a new line of footwear enjoying strong demand: It jumped 95% last quarter and now accounts for a hefty 17% of sales.
The company expects 2016 to produce more of the same kind of strong numbers. Sales should grow by 25% this year -- to just under $5 billion. In part because footwear carries a lower profit margin, earnings are projected to rise at a slightly slower pace, up 23%.
Yet the stock is down 27% despite those bright business prospects. That means investors can now own Under Armour for about 68 times the $1.08 per share it produced over the last twelve months. Sure, that's not cheap. But it's far better than the triple-digit P/E multiple that investors were quoted for most of 2015. Given that the company is dominating its core apparel category while making inroads in growth areas like connected fitness, that premium could seem like a steal in five years.
Keith Noonan (Take Two Interactive):
Take Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) stock is up roughly 140% over the last five years and currently trades at all time highs. Is the stock too good to be true?
A forward price-to-earnings ratio of roughly 57 would seem to indicate that the stock is expensive, and its apparently lofty, growth-dependent valuation deserves extra scrutiny in a volatile market. Throw in the fact that the last fiscal year saw Take Two post its biggest earnings loss ever, and there are plenty of reasons to wonder whether Take Two can keep up its growth story.
A closer look at the spooky valuation metrics and big earnings slump suggests that Take Two is in good position to deliver sustained, long-term wins. The company's earnings results are historically cyclical, and closely tied to the releases of its biggest property, the Grand Theft Auto series, and big losses in the last fiscal year and a high forward P/E value are more indicative of development cycles at the company than of structural problems or an unwieldy valuation.
With a market cap of roughly $3 billion, Take Two has cash and short-term assets of more than $1.2 billion, long-term debt of under $500 million, and an enterprise value of approximately $2.13 billion, or roughly 7 times the company's trailing-twelve-month free cash flow in a cost-intensive year that didn't see the release of a Grand Theft Auto sequel.
So, with valuation in context, what does Take Two's growth story look like? The video game industry is booming, and a number of other factors give the company an impressive long-term growth outlook. Increased digital game and content sales are creating high-margin revenue, more people are playing games than ever before, Take Two's lineup looks stronger than ever, and the potential for mergers and team-ups within the video game industry and beyond it creates even more potential.
Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Keith Noonan owns shares of Take-Two Interactive. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill and Under Armour. The Motley Fool recommends Restoration Hardware and Take-Two Interactive. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.