Whether or not you are purely a “value investor,” some undervalued stocks are difficult to pass on. Their allure comes from more than just the scope and magnitude of the undervaluation but also from the other strengths of the business. The strengths include a stable business model, strong financials, reputation, or the stock’s ability to reclaim its value soon, which makes it a powerful short-term investment.
Many perpetually underrated stocks almost always fly under the radar. But sometimes, a very well-known stock may find itself undermined and undervalued in favour of flashier options. Such a stock may prove to be a great value pick, and one Canadian retail stock currently fits the bill.
The conglomerate that owns Sobeys, Empire Company (TSX:EMP.A) can be considered a compelling retail pick, even if we disregard the undervaluation. Sobeys is the crown jewel of the Empire company, but it has several other retail chains under its banners, which collectively make it one of the largest retail chain owners in Canada.
This includes 255 Sobeys stores, 350 fuel retail locations, 217 Foodland stores, and 194 IGA locations.
Grocery retail is the primary business of this conglomerate, but it’s also in the real estate business through a real estate investment trust (REIT) and a development company. The REIT primarily leases to Empire Company’s own locations, and this interdependence offers both parts of the business a bit more leash and resilience than either possessed on their own.
The stock is currently trading at a healthy 22% discount, which is one of the factors behind its modest undervaluation. Considering its 14-day Relative Strength Index is closer to the oversold levels than it’s to the overbought line, we can deduce that it’s undermined by the investors, making it a compelling discounted pick.
It’s also a compelling long-term holding as both a dividend and growth stock. The company offers a very modest yield of 1.8% even now, when it’s adequately discounted. But what it lacks in yield, it makes up for in the consistency and the financial stability of the dividends. It has raised its payouts for 28 consecutive years and is considered an Aristocrat, even by the stringent U.S. standards.
The growth has experienced some setbacks in the past decade. The stock fell by over 50% during the 2015-2016 bear market phase. It made a decent recovery, and despite this slump and a few smaller slumps since then, the 10-year stock growth is still at 49%.
Empire Company can be considered a healthy and rewarding long-term holding. It’s also a resilient company. That’s partly because of its grocery- and food-oriented retail business and partly because of the diverse business model which covers different market segments.