Stage Stores (NYSE: SSI) and Express (NYSE:EXPR) are both small-cap retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, institutional ownership, profitability and dividends.


This table compares Stage Stores and Express’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Stage Stores -3.33% -8.67% -3.56%
Express 0.85% 4.25% 2.24%

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Stage Stores and Express’ top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Stage Stores $1.44 billion 0.04 -$37.89 million ($1.82) -1.10
Express $2.19 billion 0.28 $57.41 million $0.23 34.04

Express has higher revenue and earnings than Stage Stores. Stage Stores is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Express, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Risk & Volatility

Stage Stores has a beta of 1.16, indicating that its share price is 16% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Express has a beta of 1.33, indicating that its share price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Stage Stores pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 10.0%. Express does not pay a dividend. Stage Stores pays out -11.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Stage Stores has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

55.5% of Stage Stores shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 97.9% of Express shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.4% of Stage Stores shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 2.6% of Express shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and price targets for Stage Stores and Express, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Stage Stores 1 2 0 0 1.67
Express 0 9 0 0 2.00

Stage Stores currently has a consensus price target of $1.00, suggesting a potential downside of 50.25%. Express has a consensus price target of $8.50, suggesting a potential upside of 8.56%. Given Express’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Express is more favorable than Stage Stores.


Express beats Stage Stores on 11 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Stage Stores

Stage Stores, Inc. operates specialty department stores mainly in small and mid-sized towns and communities. The Company’s department stores offer a range of brand name and private label apparel, accessories, cosmetics, footwear and home goods. The Company operates approximately 830 specialty department stores in over 40 states under the BEALLS, GOODY’S, PALAIS ROYAL, PEEBLES and STAGE nameplates and a direct-to-consumer business. The Company’s direct-to-consumer business consists of its e-commerce Website and Send program. The Company’s e-commerce Website includes a range of merchandise categories found in its stores, as well as other product offerings. The Company’s in-store Send program allows customers to have merchandise shipped directly to their homes if the preferred size or color is not available in their local store. The Company’s private label portfolio brands are developed and sourced through agreements with third-party vendors.

About Express

Express, Inc. is a specialty apparel and accessories retailer offering both women’s and men’s merchandise. The Company targets women and men between 20 and 30 years old. It offers an assortment of fashionable apparel and accessories to address fashion needs across multiple aspects of lifestyles, including work, casual, jeanswear and going-out occasions. It is engaged in the operation of its brick-and-mortar retail and outlet stores, e-commerce operations and franchise operations. It sells its products through its e-commerce Website, and its mobile application, and has franchise agreements with franchisees that operate Express locations in Latin America. It operated 656 stores across the United States, in Canada and in Puerto Rico, including 104 factory outlet stores, as of January 28, 2017. Its products are created by its in-house design team. Its portfolio of apparel products includes brands, such as Portofino shirt, Editor pant and 1MX shirt.

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