If you're looking for a multi-bagger, there's a few things to keep an eye out for. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. If you see this, it typically means it's a company with a great business model and plenty of profitable reinvestment opportunities. However, after investigating Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.
What Is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?
For those who don't know, ROCE is a measure of a company's yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for Foot Locker:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)
0.043 = US$258m ÷ (US$7.4b - US$1.5b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2023).
So, Foot Locker has an ROCE of 4.3%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 12%.
See our latest analysis for Foot Locker
Above you can see how the current ROCE for Foot Locker compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like, you can check out the forecasts from the analysts covering Foot Locker here for free.
The Trend Of ROCE
When we looked at the ROCE trend at Foot Locker, we didn't gain much confidence. Around five years ago the returns on capital were 23%, but since then they've fallen to 4.3%. Meanwhile, the business is utilizing more capital but this hasn't moved the needle much in terms of sales in the past 12 months, so this could reflect longer term investments. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.
The Key Takeaway
Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Foot Locker's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Since the stock has declined 32% over the last five years, investors may not be too optimistic on this trend improving either. On the whole, we aren't too inspired by the underlying trends and we think there may be better chances of finding a multi-bagger elsewhere.
One final note, you should learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Foot Locker (including 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) .
While Foot Locker may not currently earn the highest returns, we've compiled a list of companies that currently earn more than 25% return on equity. Check out this free list here.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.