Weis Markets (NYSE: WMK) and United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, dividends, profitability, earnings, risk, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

31.9% of Weis Markets shares are owned by institutional investors. 26.9% of Weis Markets shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.4% of United Natural Foods shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

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

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Weis Markets 2.16% 8.13% 5.39%
United Natural Foods 1.40% 8.10% 4.50%

Dividends

Weis Markets pays an annual dividend of $1.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.9%. United Natural Foods does not pay a dividend. Weis Markets pays out 42.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Weis Markets and United Natural Foods’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Weis Markets $3.14 billion 0.36 $87.16 million $2.81 14.76
United Natural Foods $9.27 billion 0.27 $130.15 million $2.56 19.35

United Natural Foods has higher revenue and earnings than Weis Markets. Weis Markets 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.

Risk and Volatility

Weis Markets has a beta of 0.69, indicating that its stock price is 31% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, United Natural Foods has a beta of 1.46, indicating that its stock price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Weis Markets and United Natural Foods, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Weis Markets 0 0 0 0 N/A
United Natural Foods 5 8 5 0 2.00

United Natural Foods has a consensus price target of $41.71, suggesting a potential downside of 15.80%. Given United Natural Foods’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe United Natural Foods is more favorable than Weis Markets.

Summary

Weis Markets beats United Natural Foods on 8 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Weis Markets

Weis Markets, Inc. is engaged principally in the retail sale of food in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The Company’s retail food stores sell groceries, dairy products, frozen foods, meats, seafood, fresh produce, floral, pharmacy services, deli products, prepared foods, bakery products, beer and wine, fuel and general merchandise items, such as health and beauty care and household products. As of December 31, 2016, it had owned and operated approximately 204 retail food stores. The majority of the Company’s stores are concentrated in central and northeast Pennsylvania, central Maryland, suburban Washington, District of Columbia and Baltimore regions and New York’s Southern Tier. As of December 31, 2016, it had operated four stores in Delaware, 50 stores in Maryland, five stores in New Jersey, nine stores in New York, 121 stores in Pennsylvania, 13 stores in Virginia and two stores in West Virginia, for a total of 204 retail food stores operating under the Weis Markets name.

About United Natural Foods

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.

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