Three top retailers for low-risk growth

Article Excerpt

As part of our three-prong approach to investing, we recommend investors spread their money out across the five main economic sectors: Manufacturing, Resources, Consumer Goods, Finance and Utilities. We also advise investing mainly in well-established companies, and downplaying stocks in the broker/media limelight. Due to recent stock market turmoil, investor interest in one of the less-volatile sectors—Consumer Goods—is rising. That includes the three Canadian retailers we analyze below. All are profiting from recent acquisitions, while their upgraded stores are attracting more shoppers. They’re also rolling out effective loyalty programs that spur repeat visits. LOBLAW COMPANIES LTD. $69 (Toronto symbol L; Conservative Growth Portfolio, Consumer sector; Shares outstanding: 412.7 million; Market cap: $28.5 billion; Price-to-sales ratio: 0.6; Dividend yield: 1.4%; TSINetwork Rating: Above Average; www.loblaw.ca) plans to close 52 less profitable stores in the next year, including supermarkets, gas bars and stand-alone Joe Fresh clothing outlets. Following these closures, it will operate 2,400 stores, including the 1,250 Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies…

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