About 10 years ago, my mother-in-law gave me one of the greatest gifts that I've ever received—a copy of Peter Lynch's "One Up On Wall Street." It was the first book about investing that I had ever read, and one that I still pick up every few years and read again. Most of the companies that he discusses in the book are now dated, but his investing principles certainly are not.
Lynch, in his book, talks about investing in stocks that fall into his six "categories"—slow growers, stalwarts, cyclicals, turnarounds, asset plays, and my favorite, fast growers. In this article, I've chosen to write about three small cap stocks trading at bargain prices that I believe Peter Lynch would call fast growers, and that he would have added to his Fidelity Magellan portfolio.
Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc. (BBRG)
Columbus, OH, based Bravo Brio Restaurant Group operates two Italian restaurant brands, Bravo! Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille, totaling 96 restaurants in 30 states. Competing against restaurant giant Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI), Bravo Brio has increased revenue by almost 40% over the last five years, from $265 million in fiscal year 2007 to $369 million in fiscal year 2011.
The company opened eight new restaurants in 2011, has nine planned to open in 2012, with an additional 45-50 planned over the next five years. The stock is currently trading at a super low 4.9 P/E at $18.17 per share, having traded between a 52-week low of $14.04 and a 52-week high of $24.46.
Vera Bradley (VRA)
Fort Wayne, IN, based Vera Bradley designs and sells upscale accessories for women, including a line of handbags and travel and leisure items, sold at Vera Bradley stores and at more than 3,000 other retailers globally. Vera Bradley competes against upscale designers such as Coach, Inc. (COH), and to a lesser extent, Tiffany & Co. (TIF). The company has increased revenue by 63% over the last five years, from $281 million in FY 2007 to $460 million in FY 2012.
Vera Bradley's growth plans include entering underpenetrated markets in the Midwest and Southwest US, and in 2012, it expanded internationally by entering the Japanese market. It also plans to open 14-20 new stores in the U.S. each year over the next five years, and is planning expanded product offerings to enhance its women's handbag and accessory product lines. The stock is currently trading at a fairly low 14.2 P/E at $20.78 per share, having traded between a 52-week low of $18.91 and a 52-week high of $45.91. Vera Bradley also has a very high insider ownership, so rest assured that managements interests are aligned with shareholders.
Teavana Holdings Inc. (TEA)
Atlanta, GA, based Teavana Holdings Inc. operates as a specialty retailer of high-quality teas and tea-related merchandise in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company operates approximately 200 company-owned retail stores in 39 U.S. states and Canada, as well as through franchised stores located primarily in Mexico, and through online sales. Competing for coffee-obsessed Americans' hard-earned dollars against coffee giants, such as Starbucks Corporation (SBUX), Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) and McDonald's Corporation (MCD), Teavana has managed to grow revenue by over 250% over the last five years, from $47 million in FY 2007 to $168 million in FY 2012.
Teavana plans to open 60 new stores in 2012, and has plans to expand to at least 500 stores by 2015 in malls, lifestyle centers and other high sales volume retail venues. The stock is currently trading at a 25.7 P/E, which is respectable for a small cap growth stock. Shares trade at $11.81 per share, having traded between a 52-week low of $11.81 and a 52-week high of $29.35. As with Vera Bradley, Teavana also has very high insider ownership, with founder Andrew Mack owning approximately 55% of outstanding shares.
With formidable competition, and with consumers once again scaling back spending in a slowing US economy, each of these three companies will face significant challenges in the near future. Over the last several years, however, each has demonstrated the ability to deliver remarkably strong growth in a very difficult economic environment, and each also trades at a current share price that offers the investor significant room for growth as well.
Additional disclosure: I am not a registered investment advisor and do not provide specific investment advice. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. It is up to investors to make the correct decision after necessary research. Investing includes risks, including loss of principal.