Ross Stores (NASDAQ: ROST) and Buckle (NYSE:BKE) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, valuation, institutional ownership, risk, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

91.0% of Ross Stores shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 59.7% of Buckle shares are held by institutional investors. 2.3% of Ross Stores shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 41.7% of Buckle shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Ross Stores and Buckle’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ross Stores $12.87 billion 2.28 $1.12 billion $3.13 24.29
Buckle $974.87 million 1.11 $97.96 million $1.73 12.86

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

Profitability

This table compares Ross Stores and Buckle’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ross Stores 8.93% 43.21% 21.90%
Buckle 9.17% 19.13% 14.39%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Ross Stores and Buckle, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ross Stores 0 7 15 0 2.68
Buckle 1 0 0 0 1.00

Ross Stores presently has a consensus price target of $74.53, suggesting a potential downside of 1.98%. Buckle has a consensus price target of $13.00, suggesting a potential downside of 41.57%. Given Ross Stores’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities research analysts clearly believe Ross Stores is more favorable than Buckle.

Dividends

Ross Stores pays an annual dividend of $0.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.8%. Buckle pays an annual dividend of $1.00 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.5%. Ross Stores pays out 20.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Buckle pays out 57.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Ross Stores has increased its dividend for 10 consecutive years and Buckle has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Risk and Volatility

Ross Stores has a beta of 1.1, indicating that its share price is 10% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Buckle has a beta of 0.94, indicating that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Ross Stores beats Buckle on 14 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

Ross Stores Company Profile

Ross Stores, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate two brands of off-price retail apparel and home fashion stores-Ross Dress for Less (Ross) and dd’s DISCOUNTS. The Company is the off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States, with 1,340 locations in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, as of January 28, 2017. The Company offers in-season, name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear, and home fashions for the entire family at savings of 20% to 60% off department and specialty store regular prices every day. The Company also operated 193 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in 15 states as of January 28, 2017. As of January 28, 2017, the Company operated a total of 1,533 stores consisted of 1,340 Ross stores and 193 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores. As of January 28, 2017, the Company owned and operated six distribution processing facilities-three in California, one in Pennsylvania, and two in South Carolina.

Buckle Company Profile

The Buckle, Inc. is a retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories for young men and women. As of January 28, 2017, the Company operated 467 retail stores in 44 states throughout the United States under the names Buckle and The Buckle. The Company markets a selection of brand name casual apparel, including denims, other casual bottoms, tops, sportswear, outerwear, accessories and footwear. The Company provides customer services, such as free hemming, free gift-wrapping, easy layaways, the Buckle private label credit card, and a guest loyalty program. The Company offers denims from brands, such as Miss Me, Rock Revival, Big Star Vintage, Buffalo Jeans, KanCan, Flying Monkey and Levi’s. Its other brands include Hurley, Billabong, Affliction, American Fighter, Fast & Furious, Oakley, Fox, Puma, Obey, RVCA, Salvage, 7 Diamonds, Nixon, Amuse Society, Free People, White Crow, Corral, Reef, Kustom, Timberland, UGG, TOMS, SAXX, Stance, Lokai, Ray-Ban, and Fossil.

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