Stock Analysis

Gap (NYSE:GPS) Could Be Struggling To Allocate Capital

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NYSE:GPS
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What trends should we look for it we want to identify stocks that can multiply in value over the long term? Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. However, after investigating Gap (NYSE:GPS), we don't think it's current trends fit the mold of a multi-bagger.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

Just to clarify if you're unsure, ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. To calculate this metric for Gap, this is the formula:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.052 = US$410m ÷ (US$11b - US$3.1b) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2023).

Thus, Gap has an ROCE of 5.2%. Ultimately, that's a low return and it under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 12%.

View our latest analysis for Gap

roce
NYSE:GPS Return on Capital Employed January 29th 2024

Above you can see how the current ROCE for Gap compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report for Gap.

What Does the ROCE Trend For Gap Tell Us?

In terms of Gap's historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 24% over the last five years. 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.

In Conclusion...

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Gap's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Unsurprisingly then, the total return to shareholders over the last five years has been flat. Therefore based on the analysis done in this article, we don't think Gap has the makings of a multi-bagger.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing Gap, we've discovered 2 warning signs that you should be aware of.

While Gap isn't earning the highest return, check out this free list of companies that are earning high returns on equity with solid balance sheets.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Gap is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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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.