The market scenario for the casual wear retail industry has not been appealing, and with retailers unable to record anticipated growth, some investors have shied away from this segment. Despite this, one casual retailer can be considered as a safe investment for investors, those who believe in slow and steady wins the race.
The Buckle (BKE, Financial) is a retailer of apparel, footwear, and accessories for men and women. The company operates more than 450 retail stores in 43 states throughout the United States by the names of Buckle and The Buckle. The company sells brand name casual apparel having a prime focus on denim, which accounts for more than 45% of sales, other casual tops, bottoms, sportswear, outerwear, accessories, and footwear.
The company has a strong product portfolio with a wide range of brands that offer a rich choice to shoppers. To have a faster return ratio one can think of making fast money on investments as the stock is down by 19% in the past 6 months.
The most appealing thing about Buckle is that it’s a debt-free company with over $200 million in cash and investments. The company has been safeguarding the interest of its investors by regularly paying dividends for the past six years, with an average dividend of 2% which spiked to 9% in 2012.
Another remarkable financial statistic about the company is that it has been consistent with its operating margin that is around 22% and has maintained it for the past five years. Moreover, from an investor’s point of view, is good to know that 33.5% of stake is held by the chairman of the company, and 6% by senior level staff. Investors' money is always considered safe when the board members have high stakes in the company.
The journey ahead
The company has been slow but steady in terms of square footage growth. In terms of square footage, it recorded a constant growth of 3% and the estimated future growth is anticipated to be in range of 5-6%.
The best is yet to come for Buckle as it can grow by opening 15-20 new stores every year, this enables it to be at a faster pace than its closest competitors in terms of new stores. Currently, the number of stores in operation for Buckle hangs around 50% of its competitors like American Eagle (AEO, Financial) and Gap (GAP, Financial).
Outperforming its competitors
On the operating margin front, the company leads competitors like American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF, Financial), with both having operating margins below 10%. Another stringent competitor, Gap, fails to be at par with Buckle in terms of operating margins as it posted its operating margins marginally over 14%.
Investors should opt as buy
The Buckle has a steady five-year earnings yield valuation of over 12%. Buckle has a high short ratio, which today stands at almost 27% of the float. At 5% in dividend yield, P/E ratio of 13.3 and a profit margin of 14.4%, it is definitely a good buy at current levels.