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

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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 0.8%. By the end of trading, Staples fell $0.43 (-2.5%) to $16.41 on average volume. Throughout the day, 5,406,385 shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 7,047,600 shares. The stock ranged in price between $16.39-$16.77 after having opened the day at $16.74 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $16.84. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Hastings Entertainment ( HAST), down 10.4%, Lentuo International ( LAS), down 7.5%, 1-800 ( FLWS), down 7.5% and Barnes & Noble ( BKS), down 5.0%.

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. It operates in three segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial, and International Operations. Staples has a market cap of $11.1 billion and is part of the services sector. Shares are up 46.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday. Currently there are 6 analysts that rate Staples a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Staples as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, 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, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

On the positive front, Mecox Lane ( MCOX), up 8.8%, Sport Chalet ( SPCHA), up 8.1%, Charles & Colvard ( CTHR), up 3.8% and China Auto Logistics ( CALI), up 1.7% , 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).

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