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 down 0.3%. By the end of trading, Staples fell 16 cents (-1.4%) to $11.45 on average volume. Throughout the day, 12 million shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 15 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $11.36-$11.72 after having opened the day at $11.65 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.61. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Zagg ( ZAGG), down 6.5%, Books-A-Million ( BAMM), down 6.2%, Office Depot ( ODP), down 6.1%, and Mecox Lane ( MCOX), down 4.9%.
  • ACTIVE STOCK TRADERS: Get full access to Jim Cramer's thoughts for less than $3/week - sometimes before he says them on TV! Start with a 14-Day Free Trial.

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 $7.86 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 8.7, equal to the average specialty retail industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 17.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday. 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. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

On the positive front, Zale Corporation ( ZLC), up 5.4%, Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS), up 4.3%, Trans World Entertainment ( TWMC), up 4.2%, and Barnes & Noble ( BKS), up 3.7%, were all gainers within the specialty retail industry with PetSmart ( PETM) being today's featured specialty retail industry leader.

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).

FREE from Real Money's Jim Cramer: Winners and Losers Election 2012 - Steps to take NOW so you can profit no matter who is in charge! Free download now.