A better-than-average customer retention rate is critical for BEN's continued growth. Because advisors build relationships with clients, they can provide level-headed guidance when retail investors get spooked. That avoids some of the problems of retail investors pulling out funds at the worst possible time for both themselves and for Franklin.
2013 is panning out to be a strong year for discount retailer Dollar General ( DG). Shares of the $15 billion firm have climbed close to 8% this year, edging out the S&P 500's performance over that same period of time. DG is the largest discount retailer in the U.S. with around 10,000 stores spread across 39 states. The firm has been a strong performer since it re-emerged as a publicly-traded name in 2009, but that strength doesn't look likely to fizzle out even as consumers become more willing to spend cash.
During the recession, Dollar General was one of the very few retailers that actually saw growth as lower-income consumers traded down from more conventional retail options. Much of that growth has proven sticky, as shoppers opt to stretch their dollars further (for the same items in many cases). In spite of DG's big store footprint, the firm still has considerable room for expansion in untapped states and through same-store-sales increases. Bigger use of private labels and the company's expanded payment options are two big catalysts to watch this year.Management sees a store target that's around twice as big as the firm's current footprint. That's a massive growth opportunity for shareholders right now. With a balance sheet that's in reasonably good shape and substantial free cash generation abilities, DG should have no trouble paying for that growth... Kohl's Last up on this week's Rocket Stocks list is another retail name: Kohl's (KSS - Get Report). Kohl's is a big box department store that operates more than 1,127 stores in the U.S. The firm's focus is value, offering middle-income consumers well-known brand names at moderate prices. Like Dollar General, it should be no surprise that Kohl's has enjoyed some serious success in the last few years as cost-conscious shoppers rewarded value retailers with meaningful growth. Kohl's has traditionally marched to the beat of its own drummer, eschewing conventional department stores' mall anchor store locations in favor of cheaper standalone locations.