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Returns On Capital Signal Tricky Times Ahead For Grocery Outlet Holding (NASDAQ:GO)

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If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'd want to identify a growing return on capital employed (ROCE) and then alongside that, an ever-increasing 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 briefly looking over the numbers, we don't think Grocery Outlet Holding (NASDAQ:GO) has the makings of a multi-bagger going forward, but let's have a look at why that may be.

Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)

If you haven't worked with ROCE before, it measures the 'return' (pre-tax profit) a company generates from capital employed in its business. To calculate this metric for Grocery Outlet Holding, this is the formula:

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

0.045 = US$106m ÷ (US$2.6b - US$214m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

So, Grocery Outlet Holding has an ROCE of 4.5%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Consumer Retailing industry average of 8.0%.

Check out our latest analysis for Grocery Outlet Holding

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In the above chart we have measured Grocery Outlet Holding's prior ROCE against its prior performance, but the future is arguably more important. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

The Trend Of ROCE

When we looked at the ROCE trend at Grocery Outlet Holding, we didn't gain much confidence. To be more specific, ROCE has fallen from 6.6% over the last three years. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It may take some time before the company starts to see any change in earnings from these investments.

The Bottom Line On Grocery Outlet Holding's ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by Grocery Outlet Holding's reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Since the stock has declined 33% over the last year, 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.

On a final note, we've found 3 warning signs for Grocery Outlet Holding that we think you should be aware of.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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