Stein Mart (NASDAQ: SMRT) and Express (NYSE:EXPR) are both small-cap retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, risk, valuation, analyst recommendations and dividends.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Stein Mart and Express’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Stein Mart $1.33 billion 0.05 $2.13 million ($0.55) -2.36
Express $2.13 billion 0.24 $147.08 million $0.23 28.18

Express has higher revenue and earnings than Stein Mart. Stein Mart is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Express, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

33.0% of Stein Mart shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.4% of Express shares are owned by institutional investors. 34.7% of Stein Mart shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.6% of Express shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Dividends

Stein Mart pays an annual dividend of $0.30 per share and has a dividend yield of 23.1%. Express does not pay a dividend. Stein Mart pays out -54.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Stein Mart and Express, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Stein Mart 0 3 0 0 2.00
Express 0 7 2 0 2.22

Stein Mart presently has a consensus target price of $7.50, suggesting a potential upside of 476.92%. Express has a consensus target price of $10.15, suggesting a potential upside of 56.64%. Given Stein Mart’s higher probable upside, equities analysts plainly believe Stein Mart is more favorable than Express.

Profitability

This table compares Stein Mart and Express’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Stein Mart -1.89% -34.59% -4.43%
Express 0.85% 4.25% 2.24%

Risk & Volatility

Stein Mart has a beta of 0.81, indicating that its share price is 19% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Express has a beta of 1.44, indicating that its share price is 44% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Express beats Stein Mart on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Stein Mart Company Profile

Stein Mart, Inc. is a national retailer offering the fashion merchandise, service and presentation of a department or specialty store. The Company offers apparel for women and men, as well as accessories, shoes and home fashions. The Company’s target customers are women over 45 years old. The Company operates approximately 280 stores in over 30 states and an Internet store. Its stores are located in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Texas and the Southwest. It is concentrated in the Southeast and Texas where over 180 of its stores are located. The Company’s stores offer a range of services, such as merchandise locator service, a Preferred Customer program, co-branded and private label credit card programs, and electronic gift cards. The Company’s merchants purchase products from approximately 1,200 vendors. It leases all of its store locations, generally for approximately 10 years with options to extend the lease term for over two or five year periods.

Express Company Profile

Express, Inc. is a specialty apparel and accessories retailer offering both women’s and men’s merchandise. The Company targets women and men between 20 and 30 years old. It offers an assortment of fashionable apparel and accessories to address fashion needs across multiple aspects of lifestyles, including work, casual, jeanswear and going-out occasions. It is engaged in the operation of its brick-and-mortar retail and outlet stores, e-commerce operations and franchise operations. It sells its products through its e-commerce Website, www.express.com and its mobile application, and has franchise agreements with franchisees that operate Express locations in Latin America. It operated 656 stores across the United States, in Canada and in Puerto Rico, including 104 factory outlet stores, as of January 28, 2017. Its products are created by its in-house design team. Its portfolio of apparel products includes brands, such as Portofino shirt, Editor pant and 1MX shirt.

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