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Is Vera Bradley, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:VRA) Recent Price Movement Underpinned By Its Weak Fundamentals?

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It is hard to get excited after looking at Vera Bradley's (NASDAQ:VRA) recent performance, when its stock has declined 11% over the past three months. We, however decided to study the company's financials to determine if they have got anything to do with the price decline. Fundamentals usually dictate market outcomes so it makes sense to study the company's financials. Particularly, we will be paying attention to Vera Bradley's ROE today.

ROE or return on equity is a useful tool to assess how effectively a company can generate returns on the investment it received from its shareholders. Simply put, it is used to assess the profitability of a company in relation to its equity capital.

See our latest analysis for Vera Bradley

How Is ROE Calculated?

The formula for ROE is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Vera Bradley is:

7.4% = US$26m ÷ US$353m (Based on the trailing twelve months to July 2021).

The 'return' is the yearly profit. Another way to think of that is that for every $1 worth of equity, the company was able to earn $0.07 in profit.

Why Is ROE Important For Earnings Growth?

Thus far, we have learned that ROE measures how efficiently a company is generating its profits. Based on how much of its profits the company chooses to reinvest or "retain", we are then able to evaluate a company's future ability to generate profits. Generally speaking, other things being equal, firms with a high return on equity and profit retention, have a higher growth rate than firms that don’t share these attributes.

Vera Bradley's Earnings Growth And 7.4% ROE

At first glance, Vera Bradley's ROE doesn't look very promising. Next, when compared to the average industry ROE of 14%, the company's ROE leaves us feeling even less enthusiastic. For this reason, Vera Bradley's five year net income decline of 7.8% is not surprising given its lower ROE. We believe that there also might be other aspects that are negatively influencing the company's earnings prospects. Such as - low earnings retention or poor allocation of capital.

Next, we compared Vera Bradley's performance against the industry and found that the industry shrunk its earnings at 12% in the same period, which suggests that the company's earnings have been shrinking at a slower rate than its industry, While this is not particularly good, its not particularly bad either.

past-earnings-growth
past-earnings-growth

Earnings growth is a huge factor in stock valuation. It’s important for an investor to know whether the market has priced in the company's expected earnings growth (or decline). By doing so, they will have an idea if the stock is headed into clear blue waters or if swampy waters await. Has the market priced in the future outlook for VRA? You can find out in our latest intrinsic value infographic research report.

Is Vera Bradley Making Efficient Use Of Its Profits?

Vera Bradley doesn't pay any dividend, meaning that potentially all of its profits are being reinvested in the business, which doesn't explain why the company's earnings have shrunk if it is retaining all of its profits. So there could be some other explanations in that regard. For instance, the company's business may be deteriorating.

Summary

On the whole, we feel that the performance shown by Vera Bradley can be open to many interpretations. While the company does have a high rate of reinvestment, the low ROE means that all that reinvestment is not reaping any benefit to its investors, and moreover, its having a negative impact on the earnings growth. That being so, the latest industry analyst forecasts show that the analysts are expecting to see a huge improvement in the company's earnings growth rate. To know more about the latest analysts predictions for the company, check out this visualization of analyst forecasts for the company.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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