Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) and The Bon-Ton Stores (OTCMKTS:BONT) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, valuation, analyst recommendations, dividends, risk, institutional ownership and earnings.

Profitability

This table compares Kohl's and The Bon-Ton Stores’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Kohl's 3.47% 12.72% 4.78%
The Bon-Ton Stores -3.57% N/A -5.09%

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Kohl's and The Bon-Ton Stores, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Kohl's 4 9 6 0 2.11
The Bon-Ton Stores 0 0 0 0 N/A

Kohl's currently has a consensus target price of $43.09, indicating a potential downside of 13.43%. Given Kohl's’ higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Kohl's is more favorable than The Bon-Ton Stores.

Dividends

Kohl's pays an annual dividend of $2.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.4%. The Bon-Ton Stores does not pay a dividend. Kohl's pays out 58.4% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Kohl's has increased its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Volatility & Risk

Kohl's has a beta of 1.24, meaning that its stock price is 24% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, The Bon-Ton Stores has a beta of 3.13, meaning that its stock price is 213% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Kohl's and The Bon-Ton Stores’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Kohl's $18.69 billion 0.45 $556.00 million $3.77 13.20
The Bon-Ton Stores $2.67 billion 0.00 -$63.41 million ($4.60) -0.09

Kohl's has higher revenue and earnings than The Bon-Ton Stores. The Bon-Ton Stores is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Kohl's, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

16.8% of The Bon-Ton Stores shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.2% of Kohl's shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 45.7% of The Bon-Ton Stores shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Kohl's beats The Bon-Ton Stores on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Kohl's Company Profile

Kohl’s Corporation (Kohl’s) is an operator of department stores. The Company operates approximately 1,154 Kohl’s department stores, a Website (www.Kohls.com), approximately 12 FILA outlets, and approximately three Off-Aisle clearance centers. The Company’s stores and Website sell moderately-priced private label and national brand apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty and home products. The Company’s Website includes merchandise that is available in its stores, as well as merchandise that is available only online. The Company’s merchandise mix includes both national brands and private brands that are available only at Kohl’s. The Company’s private brands include Apt. 9, Croft & Barrow, Jumping Beans, SO and Sonoma Goods for Life. The Company’s exclusive brands include Food Network, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Rock & Republic and Simply Vera Vera Wang.

The Bon-Ton Stores Company Profile

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is a department store operator. The Company operates through two segments: stores and eCommerce (its Internet Websites). The Company offers a range of brand-name fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children. It operates approximately 270 stores in over 26 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates, encompassing a total of approximately 25 million square feet. Its nationally distributed brand assortment includes a range of labels in the apparel, accessories, footwear, cosmetics and home furnishings industries, such as Anne Klein, Calvin Klein, Carters, Chaps, Clarks, Clinique, Coach, Estee Lauder, Fossil, Free People, Frye, Jessica Simpson and Vince Camuto. Its private brand portfolio includes Laura Ashley, Ruff Hewn, Relativity and Casa by Victor Alfaro.

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