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Why Vince Holding Corp.’s (NYSE:VNCE) Return On Capital Employed Looks Uninspiring

Simply Wall St

Today we'll evaluate Vince Holding Corp. (NYSE:VNCE) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment idea. In particular, we'll consider its Return On Capital Employed (ROCE), as that can give us insight into how profitably the company is able to employ capital in its business.

First, we'll go over how we calculate ROCE. Next, we'll compare it to others in its industry. Then we'll determine how its current liabilities are affecting 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. Ultimately, it is a useful but imperfect metric. 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'.

So, How Do We Calculate ROCE?

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 Vince Holding:

0.034 = US$8.8m ÷ (US$325m - US$67m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to August 2019.)

So, Vince Holding has an ROCE of 3.4%.

View our latest analysis for Vince Holding

Is Vince Holding's ROCE Good?

ROCE is commonly used for comparing the performance of similar businesses. In this analysis, Vince Holding's ROCE appears meaningfully below the 11% average reported by the Luxury industry. This could be seen as a negative, as it suggests some competitors may be employing their capital more efficiently. Putting aside Vince Holding's performance relative to its industry, its ROCE in absolute terms is poor - considering the risk of owning stocks compared to government bonds. There are potentially more appealing investments elsewhere.

We can see that, Vince Holding currently has an ROCE of 3.4% compared to its ROCE 3 years ago, which was 2.7%. This makes us think the business might be improving. You can click on the image below to see (in greater detail) how Vince Holding's past growth compares to other companies.

NYSE:VNCE Past Revenue and Net Income, November 15th 2019

Remember that this metric is backwards looking - it shows what has happened in the past, and does not accurately predict the future. ROCE can be misleading for companies in cyclical industries, with returns looking impressive during the boom times, but very weak during the busts. ROCE is, after all, simply a snap shot of a single year. What happens in the future is pretty important for investors, so we have prepared a free report on analyst forecasts for Vince Holding.

How Vince Holding's Current Liabilities Impact Its ROCE

Current liabilities are short term bills and invoices that need to be paid in 12 months or less. 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.

Vince Holding has total liabilities of US$67m and total assets of US$325m. As a result, its current liabilities are equal to approximately 21% of its total assets. This is a modest level of current liabilities, which will have a limited impact on the ROCE.

What We Can Learn From Vince Holding's ROCE

Vince Holding has a poor ROCE, and there may be better investment prospects out there. You might be able to find a better investment than Vince Holding. 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).

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 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. Thank you for reading.