If you're an investor looking for stock angles with a Valentine's Day bent, last year must have been a heartbreaker. In May, it was Vermont Teddy Bear that agreed to be acquired by a Boston-based private equity firm at $6.50 a share. In December, it was ProFlowers.com parent Provide Commerce
Stuffed bears? Field-fresh flowers? A hopeless romantic would appear to be running dry on publicly traded pure plays for inspiration this time around. Well, all hope isn't lost. You still have companies like 1-800-Flowers
Rocky Mountain is coming off a healthy fiscal third quarter that saw diluted earnings per share soar 31% higher, and the company has been accelerating its store openings. Selling at roughly 25 times this fiscal year's bottom line may make the shares appear as rich as some of the chain's confections, but keep in mind that fiscal 2006 ends in a few weeks. Looking ahead to fiscal 2007, we see the stock is trading at less than 20 times projected profitability, and that's certainly reasonable, given the company's recent growth bent.
1-800-Flowers hasn't fared as well. David Gardner interviewed CEO Jim McCann last year, and challenges remain for the floral delivery specialist. Its shares have been nearly halved since peaking three years ago. Margins have been hit hard over the past year, even though the company is now looking to build off its success on that front this past quarter, when sales rose by 21% and net profits grew by a healthy 31% sum.
Other lovestruck plays are either struggling -- like FTD
So maybe your inner Cupid should take that bow and arrow elsewhere. Unless you bank on 1-800-Flowers or Rocky Mountain keeping growth going at their recent heady clips, maybe you should earmark that investment to buy a ring for someone special.
Tempted? If so, then maybe we need to reconsider the thesis and look at fast-growing engagement-ring retailer Blue Nile
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz did use Provide Commerce to deliver flowers to his wife on April Fool's Day last year. Yes, it's a holiday around these parts. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.