Barnes & Noble Education (NYSE: BNED) and Stamps.com (NASDAQ:STMP) are both consumer discretionary companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, dividends, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations, valuation and institutional ownership.

Profitability

This table compares Barnes & Noble Education and Stamps.com’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Barnes & Noble Education -0.08% -0.12% -0.06%
Stamps.com 26.66% 34.46% 21.63%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Barnes & Noble Education and Stamps.com’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Barnes & Noble Education $1.99 billion 0.15 $82.02 million ($0.04) -162.71
Stamps.com $419.64 million 8.17 $171.47 million $6.17 32.84

Stamps.com has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Barnes & Noble Education. Barnes & Noble Education is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Stamps.com, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

69.0% of Barnes & Noble Education shares are held by institutional investors. 3.5% of Barnes & Noble Education shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 11.1% of Stamps.com shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and recommmendations for Barnes & Noble Education and Stamps.com, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Barnes & Noble Education 0 0 2 0 3.00
Stamps.com 0 0 6 0 3.00

Barnes & Noble Education presently has a consensus price target of $12.00, suggesting a potential upside of 84.33%. Stamps.com has a consensus price target of $201.67, suggesting a potential downside of 0.49%. Given Barnes & Noble Education’s higher possible upside, equities analysts plainly believe Barnes & Noble Education is more favorable than Stamps.com.

Volatility and Risk

Barnes & Noble Education has a beta of 1.11, indicating that its share price is 11% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Stamps.com has a beta of -0.04, indicating that its share price is 104% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Stamps.com beats Barnes & Noble Education on 8 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

Barnes & Noble Education Company Profile

Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. is a contract operator of bookstores on college and university campuses across the United States and a provider of digital education services. The Company offers a support system, and a retail and digital learning experience for students. Through its subsidiary, Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, the Company operates approximately 750 campus bookstores and the school-branded e-commerce sites for each store, serving over five million college students and their faculty. The Company offers a set of products and services to help students, faculty and administrators achieve their shared educational and social goals. Its suite of product offerings includes Textbook and Course Material Sales, Textbook and Course Material Rentals, General Merchandise, Trade, Digital Education and Brand Partnerships. The Company also offers other merchandise, such as laptops and other technology products, notebooks, backpacks, school and dormitory supplies and related items.

Stamps.com Company Profile

Stamps.com Inc. is a provider of Internet-based mailing and shipping solutions in the United States. The Company offers mailing and shipping products and services to its customers under the Stamps.com, Endicia, ShipStation, ShipWorks and ShippingEasy brands. It operates through the Internet Mailing and Shipping Services segment. Under the Stamps.com and Endicia brands, customers use its United States Postal Service (USPS) only solutions to mail and ship a range of mail pieces and packages through the USPS. USPS mailing and shipping solutions enable users to print electronic postage directly onto envelopes, plain paper, or labels using only a standard personal computer, printer and Internet connection. The Company offers USPS mailing and shipping services, multi-carrier shipping services, mailing and shipping services, branded insurance and international postage solutions. The Company offers customized postage under the PhotoStamps and PictureItPostage brand names.

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