Market Health

Play Retail’s Recovery With Shares of This Security and Transportation Company

The global pandemic has usurped many aspects of our daily lives.

As we approach the one-year mark of quarantine, many of us are still working remotely. Travel is still largely discouraged. Brick-and-mortar storefronts continue to struggle as e-commerce thrives.

We don’t have to look far to see the devastation.

A dozen national restaurant chains declared bankruptcy, including California Pizza Kitchen, Chuck E. Cheese, Ruby Tuesday and Sizzler. Admittedly, many of those have been in decline for years. COVID-19 was merely the final nail in their coffins, bringing a quick end to long, slow deaths.

It did the same for long-suffering retail chains such as Guitar Center, J.C. Penney, J.Crew, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Neiman Marcus, Pier 1 Imports and True Religion Apparel.

And that doesn’t include the thousands upon thousands of small businesses that went under due to the pandemic and the quarantine measures.

But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic in the year ahead.

First, the unemployment rate has enjoyed a dramatic decline.

Second, and most importantly, a bevy of vaccines has already started rolling out.

This is creating a much brighter economic picture for the U.S. in 2021, as well as a perfect opportunity for this armor-plated play on the road to recovery.

A Discounted Opportunity on Retail’s Return

Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) sees U.S. GDP growing 5.3% this year.

That’s an even more bullish outlook than the Federal Reserve’s expectation of the economy growing 4% in 2021.

Even better, unemployment is projected to tumble down to 5.3%. Hiring is projected to accelerate as businesses across the U.S. begin to reopen and life slowly starts to return to somewhat normal.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though… It’ll be far from a smooth transition.

Currently, COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket worldwide. But by the middle of the year, as the vaccine doses become widely available, we can expect a massive uptick in economic activity… especially any activity that takes us outside our homes.

So here’s the deal… We know the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of e-commerce in the U.S. by years. The percentage of total retail sales taking place online is at a level we didn’t expect to see for quite some time. And I personally don’t believe it will recede too much from here.

That being said, e-commerce growth will moderate. These year-over-year extreme increases we’ve seen over the past year can’t be maintained.

The fact of the matter is that more than 80% of all retail transactions still take place in person.

E-Commerce vs In-Person Retail

And with consumer spending expected to continue higher, this offers a significant opportunity for the right company.

One of those is The Brink’s Company (NYSE: BCO).

The security and transportation firm has roots dating back to the Civil War.

Its instantly recognizable red trucks are seen in 100 countries, and its customers include everything from financial institutions, jewelers and retailers to government agencies and mints.

For more than a century, Brink’s has been couriering cash, jewels and other valuables. And it’s been a particularly strong and profitable business. There can be speed bumps, but we can take advantage of them…

A Look Back to Look Forward

The 2008 financial crisis is the most recent event comparable to 2020.

The threats posed then are similar to those we have now: high unemployment and businesses closing up shop.

During that time, demand for armored courier services expectedly dried up.

And from September 1, 2008, to the end of 2009, Brink’s shares shed 65% of their value.

Brink's vs Markets, Sept 1, 2008 to Dec 31, 2009

That decline is even more striking because the broader indexes were already in recovery mode then.

But momentum eventually shifted in Brink’s shares and they surged from $24.50 all the way to $97.12. The company outperformed the Dow and S&P 500 – even keeping pace with the high-flying Nasdaq – from January 2010 until the end of 2019. And, all the while, it was shelling out a reliable dividend.

Last year, Brink’s shares tumbled 61% from $96.45 on January 6 to $37.45 by May 11. But they’ve jumped since the end of October – with the announcement of the COVID-19 vaccines – to around $70 today.

But the gains aren’t over.

I believe they’ll continue to move higher from here.

Now, I don’t think demand for armored courier services is going to give investors whiplash. But we should definitely see a return to some normalcy. And as businesses reopen, Brink’s revenue will improve.

For 2021, the armored courier’s revenue is expected to increase 13.7% to $4.15 billion. That’s a key metric for me because Brink’s current market cap is $3.42 billion. I’m a huge fan of companies that trade at a discount to future revenue.

The current consensus price target on Brink’s shares is $81.67. That’s roughly a 20% upside from where they’re currently trading.

So for investors looking for a discounted, armor-plated play for retail’s recovery in 2021 – with double-digit upside – Brink’s is an attractive option. And it offers a 0.83% dividend yield to boot.

Here’s to high returns,

Matthew