Smart (NYSE: SFS) and SpartanNash (NASDAQ:SPTN) are both small-cap consumer staples companies, but which is the better business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, profitability, institutional ownership, dividends and risk.

Dividends

SpartanNash pays an annual dividend of $0.66 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Smart does not pay a dividend. SpartanNash pays out 37.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Profitability

This table compares Smart and SpartanNash’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Smart 0.21% 4.14% 1.19%
SpartanNash 0.83% 10.00% 4.01%

Volatility & Risk

Smart has a beta of 0.31, indicating that its share price is 69% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, SpartanNash has a beta of 1.06, indicating that its share price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Smart and SpartanNash, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Smart 1 5 4 0 2.30
SpartanNash 1 4 0 0 1.80

Smart presently has a consensus price target of $19.83, indicating a potential upside of 171.69%. SpartanNash has a consensus price target of $24.80, indicating a potential downside of 0.76%. Given Smart’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Smart is more favorable than SpartanNash.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

88.2% of SpartanNash shares are held by institutional investors. 8.5% of Smart shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 3.0% of SpartanNash shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Smart and SpartanNash’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Smart $4.44 billion 0.12 $136.62 million $0.12 60.83
SpartanNash $7.93 billion 0.12 $228.44 million $1.74 14.36

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

Summary

SpartanNash beats Smart on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Smart

Smart & Final Stores, Inc. is a food retailer. The Company is engaged in the business of selling fresh perishables and everyday grocery items, together with foodservice, packaging and janitorial products. The Company operates through two segments: Smart & Final, and Cash and Carry. The Smart & Final segment focuses on both household and business customers. Its Smart & Final stores offer various selections of fresh perishables and everyday grocery items, together with a focused selection of foodservice, packaging and janitorial products, under both national and private label brands. The Cash & Carry segment focuses primarily on restaurants, caterers and a range of other foodservice businesses. It operates non-membership warehouse-style grocery stores under the Smart & Final banner in California, Arizona, and Nevada. The Company also operates non-membership warehouse-style grocery stores in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada under the Cash & Carry banner.

About SpartanNash

SpartanNash Company is a multi-regional grocery distributor and grocery retailer. The Company’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent grocery retailers (independent retailers), select national retailers, its corporate owned retail stores, and the United States military commissaries. The Company operates through three segments: Food Distribution, Military and Retail. The Food Distribution segment provides a range of nationally branded and private brand grocery products and perishable food products to independent retailers, food service distributors and its corporate owned retail stores. The Military segment contracts with manufacturers to distribute a range of grocery products primarily to military commissaries and exchanges located in the United States, the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahrain and Egypt. As of December 31, 2016, the Retail segment operated 157 corporate owned retail stores in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions.

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