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Today we are going to look at Shoe Carnival, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCVL) to see whether it might be an attractive investment prospect. To be precise, we’ll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that will inform our view of the quality of the business.
First up, we’ll look at what ROCE is and how we calculate it. Next, we’ll compare it to others in its industry. Last but not least, we’ll look at what impact its current liabilities have on its ROCE.
Understanding Return On Capital Employed (ROCE)
ROCE is a metric for evaluating how much pre-tax income (in percentage terms) a company earns on the capital invested in its business. Generally speaking a higher ROCE is better. Overall, it is a valuable metric that has its flaws. Renowned investment researcher Michael Mauboussin has suggested that a high ROCE can indicate that ‘one dollar invested in the company generates value of more than one dollar’.
How Do You Calculate Return On Capital Employed?
The formula for calculating the return on capital employed is:
Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets – Current Liabilities)
Or for Shoe Carnival:
0.14 = US$49m ÷ (US$438m – US$84m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2018.)
Therefore, Shoe Carnival has an ROCE of 14%.
Is Shoe Carnival’s ROCE Good?
ROCE can be useful when making comparisons, such as between similar companies. We can see Shoe Carnival’s ROCE is around the 13% average reported by the Specialty Retail industry. Separate from Shoe Carnival’s performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms looks satisfactory, and it may be worth researching in more depth.
When considering this metric, keep in mind that it is backwards looking, and not necessarily predictive. Companies in cyclical industries can be difficult to understand using ROCE, as returns typically look high during boom times, and low during busts. This is because ROCE only looks at one year, instead of considering returns across a whole cycle. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Shoe Carnival.
What Are Current Liabilities, And How Do They Affect Shoe Carnival’s ROCE?
Liabilities, such as supplier bills and bank overdrafts, are referred to as current liabilities if they 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 counter this, investors can check if a company has high current liabilities relative to total assets.
Shoe Carnival has total assets of US$438m and current liabilities of US$84m. Therefore its current liabilities are equivalent to approximately 19% of its total assets. Current liabilities are minimal, limiting the impact on ROCE.
The Bottom Line On Shoe Carnival’s ROCE
This is good to see, and with a sound ROCE, Shoe Carnival could be worth a closer look. But note: Shoe Carnival may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.