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Chewy Inc(CHWY-N)

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Chewy Stock: Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Motley Fool - Mon Oct 9, 2023

Chewy(NYSE: CHWY) has carved out a niche for itself in the online pet product market. The company's stock price, which currently hovers around $18, down from earlier highs of nearly $53, has many questioning whether Chewy remains a smart investment.

To truly gauge the potential of Chewy's stock, one must not only scrutinize its financials but also understand the broader dynamics of the pet industry to determine if it's the right time to buy, sell, or hold shares.

Why investing in Chewy could prove beneficial

Chewy's recent quarterly financial performance seems to show a company on the rise. A 14.3% year-over-year growth in net sales, culminating in a whopping $2.78 billion, represents no small feat. This growth trajectory indicates that Chewy continues rapidly becoming a preferred choice for pet owners.

The success of Chewy's Autoship subscription program further underscores the company's ability to retain customers and ensure recurring revenue. A thriving subscription program like Autoship means that Chewy doesn't solely rely on one-time purchases; it has a steady inflow of recurring revenue.

The pet industry continues to undergo a transformation. According to NIQ's 2023 pet brands report, personalization sits at the forefront of this change. Chewy's extensive product range positions it very well to cater to this emerging demand. Furthermore, as the report indicates, the industry is shifting toward sustainable protein sources, and Chewy's diverse product offerings can cater to a new breed of environmentally conscious consumers.

Potential red flags to pay attention to as well

However, the decline in Chewy's stock price from its peak is cause for some concern. NIQ reports changes in the broader economic landscape characterized by rising prices in the consumer packaged goods sector, and hints at potential headwinds. As the cost of everyday products rises, consumers might tighten their purse strings, which could impact companies like Chewy. The reported 2022 surge in pet food prices further complicates the landscape.

A closer examination of Chewy's financial metrics reveals potential pitfalls. Net margin is a crucial indicator of a company's profitability as it tells investors how good a company is at converting sales into profits. A declining net margin, such as the 20 basis points lost year over year in the most recent quarter, might suggest rising operational costs or other internal challenges.

Furthermore, the dip in Chewy's earnings per share from the previous year could be a red flag for potential investors. Financial metrics don't just represent numbers on a balance sheet; they influence market perception and can drive down stock prices.

The case for holding on to Chewy stock

Yet, there's a silver lining. The increasing trend seen by NIQ of treating pets akin to family members presents a lucrative opportunity. When consumers start treating their pets like family, they are more likely to prioritize quality over cost -- and they may be willing to spend more for premium products and services for their pets.

This behavioral shift translates to a growing demand for high-quality pet products. If Chewy can effectively tap into this trend and position itself as the go-to brand for premium pet products, it could establish a significant competitive advantage.

Chewy's proactive approach to growth remains commendable. The company's impending foray into the Canadian market, coupled with its emphasis on creating a revenue stream with sponsored ads, showcases its forward-thinking strategy. Additionally, Chewy's commitment to omnichannel shopping, melding the convenience of online shopping with the tangibility of in-store experiences, indicates adaptability to evolving consumer behaviors.

Is Chewy stock a good investment?

For potential investors, a holistic evaluation of these pros and cons remains paramount. Chewy is grappling with challenges from both external market trends and internal financial metrics. But its growth potential and its alignment with positive trends in the pet industry make it a compelling investment for those willing to take the risk.

Buy, sell, or hold? Buy, with an eye toward long-term results.

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Nicholas Robbins has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Chewy. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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