5 Apparel Stocks to Stuff in Your Stocking

12/20/2013 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

We found top-performing apparel stocks for those in need something to stuff your stockings, and your portfolio, says James Dennin on Kapitall.com.

Bloomberghas this nifty new data visualizer, taking leaderboards to the next level. Making heavy use of color to compare companies on a multitude of different data points and in a number of different industries, it's pretty fun, and slightly addictive.

Now as the holiday season continues, we're still very interested in retail, especially since during this part of the year, some retail firms do as much as 40% of their business.

While children often grumble when they get socks for Christmas, the holidays are certainly the season of wardrobe refreshment. So we decided to use the Bloomberg data visualizer to compare apparel stocks to see which have performed the best this year.

Apparel stocks are an interesting niche as it is extremely difficult to anticipate how much demand there will be for these products, and therefore how much inventory companies should produce.

For instance, no one could have predicted the meteoric popularity of those largely useless sunglasses with shutters instead of lenses. On one hand, if you shortchange yourself and underestimate demand, you're missing out on revenue from products you can sell at a huge markup. But become over-zealous, and you could be stuck with a backlog of newly-uncool products once proponents like Kanye move on.

We decided to compile a list of the top five apparel stocks based on operating margins—a measure of profits once expenses have all been paid out. We found five companies that have been outperforming the median operating margin for the industry: 10.28%.

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Do you see investing opportunities in any of these apparel stocks? Use the list below to begin your analysis.

1. PVH Corp. (PVH): Designs and markets branded dress shirts, neckwear, sportswear, footwear, and other related products worldwide. Market cap at $10.68B, most recent closing price at $131.87. Operating Margins: 10.84%

2. V.F. Corporation (VFC): Designs and manufactures, or sources from independent contractors various apparel and footwear products primarily in the United States and Europe. Market cap at $25.26B, most recent closing price at $231.25. Operating Margins: 13.47%

3. Ralph Lauren Corporation (RL): Designs, sources, and markets branded children's wear. Market cap at $3.81B, most recent closing price at $69.96. Operating Margin: 11%

4. Carter's, Inc. (CRI): Designs, sources, and markets branded children's wear. Market cap at $3.81B, most recent closing price at $69.96. Operating Margin: 11%

5. Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL): Manufactures and sells T-shirts, activewear, underwear, and socks to wholesale screen printers, embroiderers, and retailers in North America, Europe, and internationally. Market cap at $5.88B, most recent closing price at $51.55. Operating Margin: 16.09%

Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, operating margins sourced from Finviz.

By James Dennin of Kapitall.com

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