Buy Reitmans, hold onto FirstService

Article Excerpt

REITMANS (CANADA) LTD. $14.25 (Toronto symbol RET.A; TSINetwork Rating: Extra Risk) (514-384-1140;; Shares outstanding: 66.3 million; Market cap: $944.8 million; Dividend yield: 5.6%) owns 975 women’s clothing stores across Canada. The chain consists of 366 Reitmans, 158 Penningtons, 158 Smart Set, 123 Addition Elle, 77 Thyme Maternity, 68 RW & Co. and 25 Cassis stores. Reitmans is in the process of closing the Cassis stores and converting them to its other chains. In the three months ended October 29, 2011, Reitmans’ earnings fell 49.0%, to $10.6 million, or $0.16 a share, from $20.7 million, or $0.31 a share, a year earlier. The company’s sales were down 3.2%, to $254.1 million from $262.5 million. Same-store sales declined 5.8%. Fewer shoppers visited Reitmans’ stores in the quarter, due to weaker consumer confidence. As well, the company spent more on promotions to fend off rising competition. However, Reitmans’ strong brands should help its earnings rebound as consumer spending continues to recover. Moreover, strong Canadian dollar helps…

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