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Staples Inc. (SPLS): Today's Featured Specialty Retail Laggard

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

Staples (SPLS) pushed the Specialty Retail industry lower today making it today's featured Specialty Retail laggard. The industry as a whole closed the day up 3.1%. By the end of trading, Staples fell 18 cents (-1.4%) to $12.99 on light volume. Throughout the day, 9.3 million shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 13 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $12.93-$13.28 after having opened the day at $13.25 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.17. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Trans World Entertainment (TWMC), down 3.2%, Dover Saddlery (DOVR), down 2.6%, Signet Jewelers (SIG), down 2.5%, and Zale Corporation (ZLC), down 2.3%.

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Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. The company offers various office supplies and services, office machines and related products, computers and related products, and office furniture under Staples, Quill, and other proprietary brands. Staples has a market cap of $8.93 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 441.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 16.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are six analysts that rate Staples a buy, one analyst rates it a sell, and eight rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Staples as a hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

For investors not wanting singular stock exposure, ETFs may be of interest. Investors who are bullish on the specialty retail industry could consider SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) while those bearish on the specialty retail industry could consider ProShares Ultra Sht Consumer Goods (SZK).

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