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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hidden Gem in the Shopping Mall

The greatest investor of our time, Warren Buffet, is famous for his "invest only in the stock you know" strategy. This simple in words yet complex in execution strategy has bring Buffet to one of the wealthiest man of the planet.

Why is it difficult? Because knowing a stock isn't just about knowing it's name. It's about understanding the stock to a point where you are comfortable that the stock is going to do well. It's about knowing it's balance sheet, the industry, the management team, the operation margin, the sales revenue... etc. I guess that's why we have so many analysts on Wall Street.

So does that mean there's no way we can understand a stock? Well there is actually an easy way to know something more about the stock, such as predicting it's sales revenue, by doing what you or your spouse normally do over the weekend - shopping. Shopping!? That's right! Shopping. Think of al these names: Gap, Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond. Aren't they the shops you go almost once a week or once a month? And you know what, they and many more retailers are listed in the US stock exchange.


When you are in these stores and you are seeing line up, not the line up at the refune counter, then the store shouldn't be doing too bad. Although the stores listed above are probably covered by many institution already so you won't be expecting a multi-fold return, it is still save to invest in those who you overserve as having a great holiday season. However if you found a store that is relatively new in the stock market and is doing pretty well in your neighborhood shopping mall, then you should probably consider include it in your portfolio.

Hidden Gem
This is how I found Build a Bear Workshop(BBW), a St. Louis based specialty retailer on stuffed animals. So another Toy-R-US? Well, Build a Bear Workshop comes up with a inovative idea of lettting the kids design their own stuff animals and also actually seeing it being stuffed. The new stuffed toy is then given a name and birthday. The stuffed bear is not just your typical made-in-China but the one almost created by you or your children. Think of how carefully your kid would take care of the toy. And speaking of the line-up, I recently went to it's store in Ontario Mill, a mega outlet in Ontario, California and were seeing kids wating in line at the animal stuffing machine to create their own babies.

The Finance
The balance sheet is quite strong with no debt unlike those risky high tech. The stock has just gone public a year ago last November and is still trading near the 52 weeks low of $25 per share. With more than 60% of insdier holding the stock, you should count on the management team to not mess around too much. With holiday season coming, the stock should only go up from now on.


Want to buy a Cherished Teddy Bear or find collection of Wildlife Bear Gifts?

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