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Thursday, 5 February 2004
February 5, 2004 Claire's Stores (CLE)
Hello Friends! I promised you that I would write a note on Claire's today....so I have a couple of minutes before I run off and down a low-carb, hopefully, lunch....so here goes! As always, please do your own due diligence on every investment idea and discuss this with your investment advisor before acting on anything on this website!

Claire's is having a nice day today, CLE is trading at $20.30, up $1.60 or 8.56% as I write. According to money.cnn.com "snapshot", Claire's "...is a mall-based retailer that specializes in one-stop shopping for teens' accessories." What helped drive this stock higher today was a same-store sales report for the month of January, 2004, showing that store open at least a year jumped 10% in January. In addition, they were positive about fourth-quarter earnings report raising estimates to $.56-$.57/share from prior guidance of $.55-$.56/share. This was bullish for the stock price!

Their latest earnings report was released on November 26, 2003, and covered the third quarter results for the three month period ended November 1, 2003. During this period, net sales increased 15% to $264.2 million compared to $230.0 million the prior year...and during the quarter they reported strong same store sales growth of 8%. Net income for the third quarter was outstanding increasing 104% to a record $25.3 million or $.51/share compared to $12.4 million or $.25/share the prior year.

Looking at the "5-Yr Restated" Financials on Morningstar.com, we can see that revenue has grown fairly steadily from $.6 billion in 1999 to $1.1 billion in the trailing twelve months.

During this same period, earnings/share have increased, not as steadily, from $.67/share to $1.07/share in the trailing twelve months.

Free cash flow has been very nice improving from $60 million in 2001 to $121 million in 2003 with $126 million in the trailing twelve months.

This has contributed to their very nice balance sheet which, per Morningstar, shows $213.4 million in cash, enough to cover their current liabilities of $158.7 and most of the long-term liabilities of $87.1 million. In addition, they report $165.5 million of other current assets.

Looking at valuation issues, if we check "key statistics" on Yahoo.com, we can see that the market cap is a large $1.99 billion. The trailing p/e is nice at only 18.84 with a forward p/e for fye February, 2005, is even nicer at 13.96. The PEG is downright cheap at 1.01, and price/sales isn't bad at 1.68.

There are 98.17 million shares outstanding with 87.40 million of them that float. There are only 696,000 shares out short representing 0.80% of the float or 0.827 trading days. The company even pays a small dividend of $.24/share yielding 1.28%. The last stock split was recently, on 12/22/03!

If I may be so bold as to look at a technical picture for CLE we can use the free point and figure charts on stockcharts.com for CLE and see that this stock broke through a resistance line in early 2002 at about $11.5 and has not looked back since.

Overall I like this stock a lot. In fact I like it enough that I bought it this morning!

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to post them right here on the website or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 12:16 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink

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