Impressive second quarter results, attractive return on equity
(ROE) and strong outlook helped
The Fresh Market Inc
), a specialty grocery retailer, achieve a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong
Buy) on October 12. Moreover, a solid year-to-date return of 41.2%
and strong top-line performance makes this stock an attractive
KROGER CO (KR): Free Stock Analysis Report
FRESH MARKET (TFM): Free Stock Analysis Report
WHOLE FOODS MKT (WFM): Free Stock Analysis
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The Rank Driver
Better-than-expected second quarter earnings, management's focus on
expanding the store base, driving comparable-store sales and
improving margins as well as enhanced outlook are the primary rank
drivers for this stock.
The Fresh Market, which competes with
The Kroger Co
Whole Foods Market Inc
), declared second-quarter fiscal 2012 results on August 29 wherein
earnings of 28 cents a share, topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate
by a penny and jumped 26.4% from the prior-year quarter.
Net sales of $313 million exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of
$309 million and improved 20.6% from $259.5 million in the year-ago
period. Comparable-store sales climbed 8%, attributable to a 5.3%
jump in the number of transactions and a 2.7% rise in average
transaction size. The Fresh Market opened 5 new outlets in the
quarter, and plans to open 14 to 16 new stores in fiscal 2012.
Gross profit escalated 25.6% to $106.7 million, whereas gross
margin expanded 140 basis points (bps) to 34.1%. Operating income
increased 27.8% to $21.7 million, while operating margin elevated
40 bps to 6.9%.
Following its strong results, the company raised its outlook for
the second time in fiscal 2012 and expects comparable-store sales
to grow in the range of 5.5% and 6.5%, which is quite impressive in
these difficult times.
Moreover, the company projects earnings of $1.33 to $1.38 per
share, representing an increase of 25% to 30% over fiscal 2011
earnings per share of $1.07.
Earnings Estimate Revisions
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2012 increased 2.2% to
$1.39 per share in the last 60 days. The current estimate implies a
year-over-year growth of 29.8%. Moreover, for 2013, the Zacks
Consensus Estimate increased 3% to $1.73 a share, reflecting an
estimated year-over-year growth of about 24.9%.
The Fresh Market currently trades at a forward P/E of 40.6x,
reflecting a significant premium to the peer group average of
14.4x. Also, on a price-to-book basis, the shares are trading at
16.7x, a sizeable premium to the peer group average of 1.5x.
However, the return on equity (ROE) for the stock looks lucrative
with a 1-year ROE of 44.1% compared with 12.3% for its peer group.
Given the company's compelling fundamentals, the premium valuation
is justified and well supported by its long-term estimated EPS
growth rate of 20.8% versus 16.4% for the peer group.
About the Company
Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina,
The Fresh Market is a specialty grocery retailer of perishable and
non-perishable products such as meat, seafood, produce, deli,
bakery, floral, traditional grocery and dairy products, as well as
specialty foods that include coffee and candy, and beer and wine.
As of July 29, 2012, the company operated in 24 states through 121
stores. The Fresh Market currently has a market cap of $2.71