Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) and Express (NYSE:EXPR) are both small-cap apparel & accessories retailers – nec companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, valuation, dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings and profitability.

Profitability

This table compares Abercrombie & Fitch and Express’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Abercrombie & Fitch -0.62% -0.79% -0.42%
Express 0.85% 4.25% 2.24%

Dividends

Abercrombie & Fitch pays an annual dividend of $0.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.7%. Express does not pay a dividend. Abercrombie & Fitch pays out -250.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for Abercrombie & Fitch and Express, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Abercrombie & Fitch 6 12 3 0 1.86
Express 0 8 0 0 2.00

Abercrombie & Fitch currently has a consensus target price of $11.94, indicating a potential upside of 0.32%. Express has a consensus target price of $8.50, indicating a potential upside of 25.74%. Given Express’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Express is more favorable than Abercrombie & Fitch.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

97.6% of Abercrombie & Fitch shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.8% of Express shares are held by institutional investors. 0.6% of Abercrombie & Fitch shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 2.6% of Express shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Abercrombie & Fitch and Express’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Abercrombie & Fitch $3.33 billion 0.24 $3.95 million ($0.32) -37.19
Express $2.19 billion 0.24 $57.41 million $0.23 29.39

Express has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Abercrombie & Fitch. Abercrombie & Fitch is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Express, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk and Volatility

Abercrombie & Fitch has a beta of 0.76, suggesting that its share price is 24% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Express has a beta of 1.33, suggesting that its share price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Express beats Abercrombie & Fitch on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Abercrombie & Fitch Company Profile

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is a specialty retailer who primarily sells its products through store and direct-to-consumer operations, as well as through various wholesale, franchise and licensing arrangements. The Company operates through two segments: Abercrombie, which includes the Company’s Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids brands, and Hollister, which includes the Company’s Hollister and Gilly Hicks brands. The Company offers an array of apparel products, including knit tops, woven shirts, graphic t-shirts, fleece, sweaters, jeans, woven pants, shorts, outerwear, dresses, intimates and swimwear, and personal care products and accessories for men, women and kids under the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks brands. The Company has operations in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As of January 28, 2017, the Company operated 709 stores in the United States and 189 stores outside of the United States.

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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