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What Does Burlington Stores, Inc.'s (NYSE:BURL) P/E Ratio Tell You?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Burlington Stores, Inc.'s (NYSE:BURL) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Burlington Stores has a P/E ratio of 34.53. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 2.9%.

Check out our latest analysis for Burlington Stores

How Do You Calculate Burlington Stores's P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Burlington Stores:

P/E of 34.53 = $231.33 ÷ $6.70 (Based on the trailing twelve months to November 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does Burlington Stores's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.9) for companies in the specialty retail industry is lower than Burlington Stores's P/E.

NYSE:BURL Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 12th 2020

Burlington Stores's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Burlington Stores shrunk earnings per share by 4.7% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 70%.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does Burlington Stores's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals just 5.5% of Burlington Stores's market cap. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

The Verdict On Burlington Stores's P/E Ratio

Burlington Stores has a P/E of 34.5. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18.7. With some debt but no EPS growth last year, the market has high expectations of future profits.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Burlington Stores 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).

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.