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 0.1%. By the end of trading, Staples fell 19 cents (-1.6%) to $11.73 on average volume. Throughout the day, 15.4 million shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 14.4 million shares. The stock ranged in price between $11.70-$12.14 after having opened the day at $11.90 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $11.92. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Lentuo International ( LAS), down 12.7%, Sport Chalet ( SPCHB), down 8.3%, Office Depot ( ODP), down 5.7%, and 1-800 Flowers.com ( FLWS), down 4.3%.
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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 $7.88 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 384.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 16.9% 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. 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, OfficeMax ( OMX), up 12%, Mecox Lane ( MCOX), up 4.6%, Hollywood Media Corporation ( HOLL), up 4.5%, and Francescas Holdings ( FRAN), up 3.4%, were all gainers within the specialty retail industry with Cabela's ( CAB) 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).

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