Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ: CENT) and Hershey Company (The) (NYSE:HSY) are both consumer discretionary companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitabiliy, analyst recommendations, valuation, institutional ownership, risk and dividends.

Volatility and Risk

Central Garden & Pet has a beta of 0.12, indicating that its stock price is 88% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Hershey Company (The) has a beta of 0.38, indicating that its stock price is 62% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Central Garden & Pet and Hershey Company (The)’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Central Garden & Pet $1.98 billion 0.93 $201.71 million $1.33 26.78
Hershey Company (The) $7.52 billion 2.13 $1.72 billion $3.14 33.65

Hershey Company (The) has higher revenue and earnings than Central Garden & Pet. Central Garden & Pet is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Hershey Company (The), indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Central Garden & Pet and Hershey Company (The), as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Central Garden & Pet 0 1 3 0 2.75
Hershey Company (The) 2 9 3 0 2.07

Central Garden & Pet currently has a consensus target price of $38.33, indicating a potential upside of 7.62%. Hershey Company (The) has a consensus target price of $108.86, indicating a potential upside of 3.04%. Given Central Garden & Pet’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Central Garden & Pet is more favorable than Hershey Company (The).

Dividends

Hershey Company (The) pays an annual dividend of $2.47 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Central Garden & Pet does not pay a dividend. Hershey Company (The) pays out 78.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Central Garden & Pet has increased its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

21.2% of Central Garden & Pet shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 51.2% of Hershey Company (The) shares are owned by institutional investors. 11.6% of Central Garden & Pet shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.9% of Hershey Company (The) shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Central Garden & Pet and Hershey Company (The)’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Central Garden & Pet 3.49% 13.66% 6.13%
Hershey Company (The) 8.95% 119.66% 18.88%

Summary

Hershey Company (The) beats Central Garden & Pet on 11 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Central Garden & Pet

Central Garden & Pet Company is a marketer and producer of branded products and distributor of third party products in the pet and lawn and garden supplies industries in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: Pet segment and the Garden segment. It is a marketer and producer of pet supplies in the United States. In addition, its Pet segment operates sales and logistics networks in the industry strategically supporting its brands. Its principal pet supplies categories are dog and cat, aquatics, bird and small animal, wild bird feed and animal health products. The Company markets and produces various brands, including Pennington, The Rebels, AMDRO, Lilly Miller, Ironite, Sevin, and Over-N-Out. Its Garden segment operates a sales and logistics network that strategically supports its brands. The Company’s principal lawn and garden product lines include grass seed, wild bird feed and insect control products.

About Hershey Company (The)

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes. Its segments include North America, and International and Other. The North America segment includes its chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery business, as well as its grocery and snacks business. This includes developing and growing its business in chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery, pantry, food service and other snacking product lines. The Company distributes and sells confectionery products in export markets of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and other regions. As of December 31, 2016, the Company marketed, sold and distributed its products under more than 80 brand names in approximately 70 countries across the world.

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