Staples Inc. Stock Downgraded (SPLS)

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.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Specialty Retail industry. The net income increased by 172.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $78.06 million to $212.38 million.
  • SPLS's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.18 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that SPLS's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.69, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for STAPLES INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.39%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 3.61% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $233.15 million or 28.13% when compared to the same quarter last year. In conjunction, when comparing current results to the industry average, STAPLES INC has marginally lower results.

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates office products superstores. It operates in three segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial, and International Operations. Staples has a market cap of $7.42 billion and is part of the services sector and specialty retail industry. Shares are down 28.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full Staples Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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