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 $0.27 (-2.0%) to $13.16 on average volume. Throughout the day, 7,006,829 shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,930,700 shares. The stock ranged in price between $13.01-$13.28 after having opened the day at $13.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.43. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Mecox Lane ( MCOX), down 12.1%, Pantry ( PTRY), down 7.9%, Birks Group ( BGI), down 7.5% and PCM ( PCMI), down 5.5%.

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 $8.7 billion and is part of the services sector. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are down 16.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday. Currently there are 5 analysts that rate Staples a buy, 1 analyst rates it a sell, and 8 rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Staples as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, Hastings Entertainment ( HAST), up 32.0%, Lentuo International ( LAS), up 5.0% and Build-A-Bear Workshop ( BBW), up 2.3%.

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).

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12-months. Learn more.

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