1-Star Stocks Poised to Plunge: Barnes & Noble?

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, book retailer Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) has received the dreaded one-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Barnes & Noble's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Barnes & Noble facts

Headquarters (Founded)New York (1986)
Market Cap$1 billion
IndustrySpecialty stores
Trailing-12-Month Revenue$7 billion

CEO William Lynch Jr.

CFO Joseph Lombardi

Trailing-12-Month Return on Equity(8.6%)
Cash/Debt$59.4 million / $463.1 million

Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN)

Costco (NAS: COST)

Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 44% of the 515 members who have rated Barnes & Noble believe the stock will underperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bears include Becker2011 and All-Star huddaman, who is ranked in the top 5% of our community.

Earlier this summer, Becker2011 summed up the Barnes & Noble bear case:

I see [Barnes & Noble] following [Borders Group] down into the abyss in next few years. ... Brick and [mortar] book store is just not the best place to buy books anymore. Heck you can even get new releases at Kroger or Wal-mart while buying your groceries.A good place to drink a cup of coffee, but thats about it.

Over the next five years, in fact, Barnes & Noble's bottom line is expected to decrease 50% annually. Meanwhile, rivals Amazon, Costco, and Wal-Mart are expected to grow their earnings at a rate of 28%, 13%, and 10%, respectively.

CAPS All-Star huddaman elaborates on the Barnes & Noble bear case:

They might exist in 5 years, but only after emerging from a bankruptcy. ...

If you need to buy a book, their store is not the place to do it. You have to do it online. And with e-books gaining popularity, that's "the last nail in the coffin.". We as a society just cannot expect the privilege of walking around in a physical book store, or just cannot expect to do it so conveniently. Not if we continue buying most of our books online or in electronic format.

I think the stores are great and I would miss them, but they cannot continue operating as a for profit entity for too long unless they make some radical changes.

What do you think about Barnes & Noble, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to protect your portfolio from any undue risk. Staying away from dangerous stocks is crucial to securing your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to flag them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale and Wal-Mart Stores. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Wal-Mart Stores, and Costco Wholesale, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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