Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) and The Fresh Market (NASDAQ:TFM) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitabiliy, dividends, valuation, earnings, risk and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Wal-Mart Stores and The Fresh Market, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Wal-Mart Stores 3 16 12 0 2.29
The Fresh Market 0 0 0 0 N/A

Wal-Mart Stores currently has a consensus price target of $78.39, suggesting a potential upside of 2.95%. Given Wal-Mart Stores’ higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Wal-Mart Stores is more favorable than The Fresh Market.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Wal-Mart Stores and The Fresh Market’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Wal-Mart Stores $487.51 billion 0.47 $32.97 billion $4.41 17.27
The Fresh Market N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Wal-Mart Stores has higher revenue and earnings than The Fresh Market.

Profitability

This table compares Wal-Mart Stores and The Fresh Market’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Wal-Mart Stores 2.79% 16.96% 6.68%
The Fresh Market 4.40% 24.25% 14.96%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

30.2% of Wal-Mart Stores shares are held by institutional investors. 51.4% of Wal-Mart Stores shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Wal-Mart Stores pays an annual dividend of $2.04 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. The Fresh Market does not pay a dividend. Wal-Mart Stores pays out 46.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Wal-Mart Stores has raised its dividend for 42 consecutive years.

Summary

Wal-Mart Stores beats The Fresh Market on 7 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Wal-Mart Stores

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is engaged in the operation of retail, wholesale and other units in various formats around the world. The Company operates through three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam’s Club. The Walmart U.S. segment includes its mass merchant concept in the United States operating under the Walmart or Wal-Mart brands, as well as digital retail. The Walmart International segment consists of the Company’s operations outside of the United States, including various retail Websites. The Walmart International segment includes various formats divided into three categories: retail, wholesale and other. These categories consist of various formats, including supercenters, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs, such as Sam’s Clubs, cash and carry, home improvement, specialty electronics, apparel stores, drug stores and convenience stores, as well as digital retail. The Sam’s Club segment includes the warehouse membership clubs in the United States, and samsclub.com.

About The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market, Inc. is a United States-based specialty grocery retailer. The Company focuses on perishable categories, which include meat, seafood, produce, deli, bakery, floral, sushi and prepared foods. Its non-perishable categories include traditional grocery, frozen and dairy products, as well as bulk, coffee and candy, and beer and wine. It is engaged in sale of items at its specialty food stores, which are located in over 30 states in the United States. It offers products, such as steaks, ground beef and whole roasts under meat department. The Company offers over 200 varieties of imported and domestic cheeses under deli department. It offers products in bulk format, such as nuts, dried fruits and snack mixes. Its floral offerings include roses, orchids and tulips. Its gift selection includes candles, and seasonal and holiday gift baskets. It offers everyday wines, wines from local vintners and its private-label wines. It offers beers from local, domestic and foreign brewers.

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