What Does Citi Trends, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CTRN) P/E Ratio Tell You?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Citi Trends, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CTRN), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Citi Trends’s P/E ratio is 15.39. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.5%.

View our latest analysis for Citi Trends

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Citi Trends:

P/E of 15.39 = $18.82 ÷ $1.22 (Based on the year to August 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

Does Citi Trends Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. As you can see below Citi Trends has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the specialty retail industry, which is 15.4.

NasdaqGS:CTRN Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 25th 2019
NasdaqGS:CTRN Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 25th 2019

Citi Trends’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. So if Citi Trends actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Citi Trends shrunk earnings per share by 19% over the last year. But EPS is up 24% over the last 5 years.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does Citi Trends’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Citi Trends has net cash of US$65m. This is fairly high at 29% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Bottom Line On Citi Trends’s P/E Ratio

Citi Trends trades on a P/E ratio of 15.4, which is below the US market average of 18.1. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. If it achieves that, then there’s real potential that the low P/E could eventually indicate undervaluation.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don’t have analyst forecasts you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than Citi Trends. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.