United Natural Foods (NASDAQ: UNFI) and SuperValu (NYSE:SVU) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, risk, institutional ownership, earnings, profitability, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Volatility and Risk

United Natural Foods has a beta of 1.39, suggesting that its share price is 39% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SuperValu has a beta of 2.11, suggesting that its share price is 111% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for United Natural Foods and SuperValu, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
United Natural Foods 3 8 3 0 2.00
SuperValu 0 4 2 0 2.33

United Natural Foods presently has a consensus price target of $40.85, suggesting a potential upside of 14.70%. SuperValu has a consensus price target of $33.60, suggesting a potential upside of 70.91%. Given SuperValu’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe SuperValu is more favorable than United Natural Foods.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares United Natural Foods and SuperValu’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
United Natural Foods $9.15 billion 0.20 $316.02 million $2.49 14.30
SuperValu $12.72 billion 0.06 $461.00 million $16.03 1.23

SuperValu has higher revenue and earnings than United Natural Foods. SuperValu is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than United Natural Foods, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares United Natural Foods and SuperValu’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
United Natural Foods 1.38% 8.21% 4.46%
SuperValu 4.46% 220.54% 2.55%

Summary

SuperValu beats United Natural Foods on 8 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc. is a distributor and retailer of natural, organic and specialty products. The Company’s segments include Wholesale and Other. The Wholesale segment is engaged in the national distribution of natural, organic and specialty foods, produce and related products in the United States and Canada. The Other segment includes a retail division, which engages in the sale of natural foods and related products to the general public through retail storefronts on the east coast of the United States; a manufacturing division, which engages in importing, roasting and packaging of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snack items, and its branded product lines. Its operations consist of three operating divisions: Wholesale Division, Retail Division, and Manufacturing and Branded Products divisions. As of July 30, 2016, the Company had offered 100,000 natural, organic and specialty foods, and non-food products, consisting of national, regional and private-label brands.

SuperValu Company Profile

Supervalu Inc. is a wholesale distributor to independent retail customers across the United States. The Company’s segments include Wholesale and Retail. The Company offers a range of advertised brand name and private-label products, including grocery (both perishable and nonperishable), general merchandise and home, health and beauty care, and pharmacy, which are sold through Company-operated and licensed Retail stores to shoppers and through its Wholesale segment to independent retail customers. The Company’s Wholesale segment provides wholesale distribution of products to independent retail customers. Wholesale is organized and operated through two geographic regions: East and West. As of February 27, 2016, the Company conducted its Retail operations through a total of 200 stores primarily organized under five regionally-based retail banners of Cub Foods, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Shop ‘n Save, Farm Fresh and Hornbacher’s, as well as two Rainbow and two County Market stores.

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