4 Reasons To Avoid Burlington Stores
With new cases of the coronavirus spiking in the US and worldwide .
With the already historic unemployment levels and job losses in recent months .
And with many Blue Chip stocks looking vulnerable when they’re supposed to be among the best areas to invest your capital.
There are few safe places to invest your capital today. And this number is growing smaller every day this crisis lasts.
The key to continue compounding your investments and build wealth is to keep investing well over time.
Most people think the number one way to do that is to invest in assets that will grow your capital over time.
And this is huge part of things.
But another huge part of this is also losing as little capital as possible.
The fewer investment losses you have the more capital you keep. And the more capital you keep the faster you can invest well to grow your wealth.
Both things are necessary to build wealth. But most only think of investing well.
Today I want to talk about the second part of things that few consider… Staying away from investments where you’ve got a high probability of losing money in.
4 Reasons To Avoid Burlington Stores Stock
- It’s Got A Lot Of Debt
As a percentage of its balance sheet, Burlington Stores (BURL) is enormously indebted.
As of the most recent quarter its balance sheet is made up of 95.8% of total liabilities. And its debt to equity ratio is 16.75.
I want to invest in safe stocks that will be around for decades to come to help me build wealth over the long term. This helps insure I lose as little money as possible over time.
Typically, this means I invest in companies that have little to no debt compared to their cash and equity.
Burlington has the opposite problem – in too much debt on an individual basis. And this makes it enormously risky.
I usually invest in companies that have debt to equity ratios at 1 or below. Burlington’s is 16.75X this.
But there’s another reason to stay away from its stock.
- It’s Not Producing Enough Profits and Cash Flow
In the most recent quarterly data Burlington is barely profitable on a net income basis. And it produced below average free cash flow.
These both due to increased costs related to the coronavirus which I’ll detail more below…
Its net income profitability margin in the trailing twelve months (TTM) period was 0.8%. And its free cash flow to sales (FCF/Sales) margin in this same time was 4%.
EDITOR’s NOTE – Trailing twelve months just means the last 12 months consecutively.
Generally, you want these numbers to be as high as possible on the positive side because that means the company is generating profits and cash flow from its operations.
But net income is barely positive.
On this metric I look for anything above 10% on a consistent basis to consider investing in the stock.
And its FCF/Sales is below my minimum threshold of 5% that I look for to invest in a stock.
These important metrics are both far below what I look for to invest in a company.
The problem with low profitability combined with a massive amount of debt is dangerous by itself…
But there are still other reasons to avoid its stock.
- The Retail Apocalypse
The Retail Apocalypse is former great retailers like Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and others losing out to people shopping online and collapsing.
It’s impossible to give you exact stats on the following due to the slow decline of individual companies in the retail industry.
But millions of jobs have been lost to this trend already. And thousands if not tens of thousands of stores have closed nationwide.
And it’s only going to continue with the rise of people shopping and then getting things delivered directly to their houses.
This has been going on for years… But retail store closures due to the coronavirus is accelerating this.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March the following retailers declared bankruptcy.
- JC Penney
- Brooks Brothers
- Lucky Brands
- J. Crew
- Neiman Marcus
And according to reports many other retailers are preparing to file for bankruptcy.
A few retail stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Burlington, and Macy’s are hanging on as best they can by laying off employees and closing stores to conserve on costs.
But it won’t work.
All these companies are likely to head to $0 at some point barring some kind of discounted buyout or the companies going private.
And speaking of the coronavirus…
That gets us to reason #4 to avoid Burlington stock.
- Uncertainty Related To The Coronavirus
This all circles back to the beginning and the coronavirus.
Air travel, hotels, and restaurants are still getting hammered.
But so are many other industries worldwide. And clothing retail stores are one of those industries.
Retail sales in general are still way down from their high levels before the pandemic hit in March.
And clothing sales specifically are still down 63.3% in the year to year period from May 2019 to May 2020.
With coronavirus cases now exploding in the US and worldwide people will continue avoiding retail stores for the foreseeable future… And that’s if these stores continue to remain open and not get shut down again.
For all the reasons talked about above, retail stores – outside of grocery stores – are in massive trouble.
And with Burlington already having a lot of debt and low margins this will negatively affect them a ton.
I recommend you stay far away from this entire industry for the time being for the reasons above. But especially stay away from Burlington.
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Disclosure – Jason Rivera is a 13+ year veteran value investor who now spends much of his time helping other investors earn higher than average investment returns safely. He does not have any holdings in any securities mentioned above and the article expresses his own opinions. He has no business relationship with any company mentioned above.