Legendary mutual fund manager Peter Lynch once coined the investing strategy: "Buy what you know."
The philosophy seems so simple and easy. But is it?
If you eat three times a week at McDonald's, the strategy goes, then you should buy the stock. If you wait in line for hours to buy the latest Apple product, buy the stock. If you run a blog dedicated to all the new drinks at Starbucks, then you should buy the stock.
In other words, if you love the company's product, then buy the stock.
But if it was so easy, everyone would do it. Fundamentals still matter. You may have loved Krispy Kreme a decade ago, but the company ran into trouble when it expanded too quickly and the stock tanked.
A hot product sometimes doesn't translate into a hot stock price.
Who Owns It?
If you were Warren Buffett and your favorite drink was Coke, then it was easy to know what company to buy. You buy Coke's stock. But what if your favorite drink was A&W Root Beer? There is no A&W listed on the stock exchanges. So who owns it?
This is where "buy what you know" can get tricky.
It turns out, the A&W Root Beer brand is owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group which also owns 7UP and Hawaiian Punch, among other brands.
"Secret" Companies That Own Your Favorite Brands
Love the Loft store? The Loft, which used to be called Ann Taylor Loft, is owned by, of course, Ann Taylor. That one is easy to figure out.
But did you know that Anthropologie stores are actually owned by Urban Outfitters? You also may not be aware that Athleta is owned by Gap.
Here's a quiz: who owns the following well-known brands?
1. Tommy Bahama
3. North Face
These famous brands are owned by 3 "secret" companies you probably haven't heard of. Even better, these companies also own, in some cases, multiple famous brands.
It also just so happens that all 3 of these companies are expected to have double digit earnings growth this year. Two out of the three are also Zacks Rank Buy stocks.
It may take some extra sleuthing to uncover the companies that own these brands, but with these solid fundamentals and growth projections, it's well worth the extra effort.
If your favorite brand also has great fundamentals, why not "buy what you know"?
1. Tommy Bahama = Oxford Industries (OXM - Snapshot Report)
Oxford Industries operates 121 Tommy Bahama stores, including 15 restaurant-retail locations, Lilly Pulitzer with 21 retail stores, and the brands Ben Sherman, Oxford Golf, Arnold Brant and Billy London.
On June 11, Oxford beat the Zacks Consensus for the fiscal first quarter by 5%. It saw strength in both Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer as Tommy saw 10% same store sales growth. It opened its first two Tommy Bahama stores in Japan in the quarter, which is part of its broader strategy to expand in Asia.
Forward P/E = 20.6
Fiscal 2013 expected earnings growth: 19%
Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
2. Vilebrequin = GIII Apparel Group (GIII - Snapshot Report)
GIII-Apparel can trace its history all the way back to 1956 in New York's Garment District. Today, the company has a portfolio of 30 licensed brands where it markets apparel, outerwear, beachwear, luggage, women's handbags, small leather goods and accessories.
But it also owns several retail brands outright including Wilson's Leather and Vilebrequin, which it just acquired. Vilebrequin, founded in 1971 in Saint-Tropez, is a luxury men's and boy's luxury swimsuit retailer with stores in prestige locations such as Beverly Hills, Paris, and Cartagena. GIII will be rolling out women's swimsuits this summer which the analysts believe will significantly add to the bottom line.
Forward P/E = 14.6
Fiscal 2013 expected earnings growth: 13.6%
Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
3. North Face and Timberland = V. F. Corporation (VFC - Analyst Report)
V. F. Corporation has to be one of the least known companies with famous brands out there. Yet, it is one of the largest apparel retailers in the world. In addition to North Face and Timberland, it also owns Wrangler, Vans, Lee and premium jeans maker 7 For All Mankind and athletic clothing maker lucy, to name just a few.
On June 11, the company released its 5-year revenue and EPS targets. It is projecting compounding annual growth of 10% through 2017. Its top brands are forecast to continue with their double digit revenue gains. North Face is expected to grow at 12% annually. Vans is expected to see 13% to 15% growth and Timberland is expected to do 10%.
Forward P/E = 17.4
Fiscal 2013 expected earnings growth: 12.8%
Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)
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Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.