Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT): Five Reasons This Retailer Looks Poised to Outperform

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc (NYSE:WMT)Sometimes as an investor you have to know when to ignore bad information. It’s difficult to do because there is so much of it floating around. What I try to do whenever I read something about a stock I follow is, see if you can punch holes in the theories being presented. If you can’t find anything wrong with the person’s theory, then you add it to your knowledge about the company and adjust your thinking accordingly. With this in mind, I want to check out an article I recently read about Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).

4 Reasons to sell the stock

I stand behind everything I’ve written and I hope that other authors do the same: however sometimes a post gets my attention and seems to call for a response. Consider this my response to a recent post about
“Why Walmart Is A Sell.”

To be clear, I don’t currently own Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), and I don’t have a problem with the idea that popular stocks sometimes should be sold. This article suggests there are at least four reasons to sell the stock. Let’s see if these theories make sense.

#1 – Competition is increasing from companies like Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).

#2 – U.S. Growth is slowing to about 1%

#3 – Walmart customer satisfaction is terrible

#4 – Valuation is on the higher side

2 things that never change

First, Walmart is no stranger to competition. Companies like Amazon.com and eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) are forcing the world’s largest retailer to rethink some of its strategies. However, in Walmart’s last earnings report, the company indicated that it took market share in the grocery, home, and electronics categories among others.

From a numbers perspective, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)‘s gross margin has compressed just slightly over the last few years, from 25.34% in 2011 to 24.85% in the company’s most recent quarter. However, most of this compression has to do with the company’s focus on trying to take grocery business, which is a lower margin endeavor.

While it’s true that some of Walmart’s competitors have better gross margins, this isn’t true across the board. Amazon’s best gross margin was just over 24%, and Costco routinely runs a gross margin in the mid-teens. While Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Family Dollar carry margins of 28.88% and 33.42% respectively, these retailers don’t have the same grocery offerings as Walmart.

The second reason to consider Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) stock is, the company seems to continue growing sales in spite of its customer satisfaction measurements. In one sentence the post says that Walmart’s customer satisfaction is, “going down the drain.” However, in the next sentence the same piece says this is, “the sixth year in a row that the company has either tied or taken last place” (in an American Customer Satisfaction survey). However, Walmart has grown overall sales by 4.5% on average in the last five years. As a former manager of mine once said, Walmart ought to just change their slogan to “our service is terrible, but we know you won’t care because our prices are so cheap.”
The slowing growth illusion

The aforementioned article said that Walmart’s U.S. Growth is slowing to about 1%. Unfortunately, that statement is just flat wrong.

This brings us to the third reason to consider the stock. Last year, Walmart opened 3.26% more U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Club locations and reported a 2% increase in same-store sales. In addition, Walmart actually opened 8.79% more international locations. Between stealing market share from traditional grocers, and opening new stores internationally, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)‘s growth isn’t slowing at all.

Valuation, cash, and dividends

One way to compare companies is something I call free cash flow per dollar of sales. Theoretically, a company that generates more free cash flow from each dollar of sales has either pricing power, more efficient operations, or both.

This gives us a fourth reason to consider Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). Using free cash flow per dollar of sales, the company actually leads its peer group. In the last four quarters, Walmart has generated an average of $0.03 of free cash flow for each dollar of sales. This is tied for first with Target with $0.03, and handily beats Costco at $0.01. By comparison, Family Dollar actually reported negative free cash flow on average in the last four quarters.

Last but not least, when you look at Walmart’s yield, it leads its peers as well. The stock pays a 2.4% yield, compared to 2.09% at Target, 1.7% at Family Dollar, and 1.05% at Costco. The other article said this yield, “does not make it too attractive for dividend investors.” Again, this is short-sighted thinking.

In the last five years, Walmart’s annual dividend has nearly doubled from $0.95 in 2009 to $1.88 today. Second, in the last three years, the average yield on the S&P 500 has ranged from 1.76% to 2.2%. I’m not sure how a yield that is growing, and already beats the S&P could be considered “not attractive.”

The bottom line is, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)‘s yield looks good, the company is winning business, carries a good margin, and generates peer leading cash flow. With shares changing hands at about 14.7 times projected earnings, the stock is also relatively cheaper than Target at 14.99 times, Family Dollar at 15.97, and Costco at 23 times earnings. As you can see, investors have more than enough reasons to consider not only holding their Walmart shares, but buying more at today’s prices. If you want to keep up with what’s happening at the world’s largest retailer, consider adding WMT to your personalized Watchlist today.

The article 5 Reasons This Retailer Looks Poised to Outperform originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Chad Henage.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

On the Move: The 10 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2015

Fast Money: The 10 Highest Paying Fast Food Restaurants

Mixing It Up: The 14 Best Music Mashups of 2014

Rito Pls Buff: The 10 Least Played Champions in LoL Season 4

10 Covers of Popular Songs that are Better than the Originals

Must See TV: The 9 Most Anticipated Shows of 2015

The 15 Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time

10 Things The World Can’t Stand About Americans

Picture Perfect: The 6 Smartphones with the Best Cameras

The 10 Best Countries To Work In the World

A Profitable Day At The Track: 5 Tips For Betting On Horses

Tearing You Apart: 6 Bad Habits That Ruin Relationships

Learning on the Job: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Shopaholics Rejoice: The 12 Biggest Malls in the World

Fright Night: 10 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Mach Mania: The 10 Fastest Jets in the World

Military Heavyweights: The 10 Countries with the Most Tanks

All In: The 7 Richest Poker Players in the World

Abracadabra: The 10 Best Magicians in the World

The 10 Richest Asian Countries in the World in 2014

Eyes in the Sky: 10 Things You Need to Know About Drones

Rising Stars: The 6 Best Silicon Valley Startups

Military Muscle: The 5 Most Advanced Armies in South America

All that Glitters: The 7 Most Luxurious Jewelry Brands in the World

5 Things You Didn’t Know About ISIS but Should

Empowering Your Money: The 5 Best Energy Stocks to Invest In

The 11 Best Android Apps You Can’t Get on iOS

The 10 Most Important International Conflicts in 2014

Mood Enhancers: The 20 Most Uplifting Songs of all Time

Lover Beware: The 8 Countries that Cheat the Most

Breath of Fresh Air: The 25 Countries with the Best Air Quality on the Planet

Singles Beware: The 8 Worst Mistakes Made on First Dates

Healthy and Happy: The 10 Countries with Lowest Healthcare Costs

The 6 Best Company Team Building Activities to Build Workplace Camaraderie

Ships Ahoy: The 10 Busiest Shipping Ports in the World

10 Productivity Tips to Save You Time and Help You Do More With Less

Grab a Bite: The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in America

Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

The 6 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries We May Never Figure Out

7 Useless Products You Never Should’ve Bought

The 5 Reasons Why You’re Single and Miserable

The 7 Most Addictive Foods in the World We Can’t Stop Eating (Even Though We Should)

5 Amazing Places You Can Swim with Dolphins

The Top 7 Most Livable Countries In The World

The 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards Ever Pulled From A Pack

The 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers

Silver Spoon: The 6 Richest Families in the World

The 20 Countries with the Largest Prison Populations in the World

The Top 10 Richest Actors in the World

The 10 Best Airline Stocks to Invest In Before They Fly Too High

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!