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 up 0.3%. By the end of trading, Staples fell $2.05 (-15.3%) to $11.35 on heavy volume. Throughout the day, 68,904,496 shares of Staples exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 8,655,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $11.16-$12.01 after having opened the day at $11.87 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $13.40. Other companies within the Specialty Retail industry that declined today were: Office Depot ( ODP), down 5.7%, CST Brands ( CST), down 4.7%, Hastings Entertainment ( HAST), down 4.4% and Medifast ( MED), down 3.5%.

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 $8.8 billion and is part of the services sector. Shares are down 15.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

On the positive front, Sport Chalet ( SPCHA), up 12.6%, Trans World Entertainment ( TWMC), up 8.0%, Lentuo International ( LAS), up 7.3% and Sport Chalet ( SPCHB), up 7.2% , 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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