Tilly’s, Inc. (NYSE:TLYS) Might Not Be A Great Investment

Today we are going to look at Tilly’s, Inc. (NYSE:TLYS) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. Specifically, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), since that will give us an insight into how efficiently the business can generate profits from the capital it requires.

First, we’ll go over how we calculate ROCE. Second, we’ll look at its ROCE compared to similar companies. And finally, we’ll look at how its current liabilities are impacting its ROCE.

What is Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)?

ROCE is a measure of a company’s yearly pre-tax profit (its return), relative to the capital employed in the business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Author Edwin Whiting says to be careful when comparing the ROCE of different businesses, since ‘No two businesses are exactly alike.’

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

Analysts use this formula to calculate return on capital employed:

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

Or for Tilly’s:

0.12 = US$25m ÷ (US$293m – US$76m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2018.)

So, Tilly’s has an ROCE of 12%.

View our latest analysis for Tilly’s

Is Tilly’s’s ROCE Good?

ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. It appears that Tilly’s’s ROCE is fairly close to the Specialty Retail industry average of 13%. Independently of how Tilly’s compares to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms appears decent, and the company may be worthy of closer investigation.

NYSE:TLYS Last Perf January 7th 19
NYSE:TLYS Last Perf January 7th 19

When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. ROCE can be deceptive for cyclical businesses, as returns can look incredible in boom times, and terribly low in downturns. ROCE is only a point-in-time measure. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Tilly’s.

Do Tilly’s’s Current Liabilities Skew Its ROCE?

Current liabilities include invoices, such as supplier payments, short-term debt, or a tax bill, that need to be paid within 12 months. Due to the way the ROCE equation works, having large bills due in the near term can make it look as though a company has less capital employed, and thus a higher ROCE than usual. To counteract this, we check if a company has high current liabilities, relative to its total assets.

Tilly’s has total liabilities of US$76m and total assets of US$293m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 26% of its total assets. A fairly low level of current liabilities is not influencing the ROCE too much.

The Bottom Line On Tilly’s’s ROCE

This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Tilly’s could be worth a closer look. You might be able to find a better buy than Tilly’s. 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).

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To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.