In the kingdom of no-brainer Mother’s Day gifts, flowers wear the crown. Which publicly traded pony to back isn’t as obvious, but pretty close.
The two biggest names battling for your attention are 1-800-FLOWERS.com (NASDAQ:FLWS) and United Online’s (NASDAQ:UNTD) FTD. Product-wise you could go either way, but your investment dollar would be better spent with FLWS right now.
Not that FTD is a poor company — far from it. Thing is, FTD is only a part of what United Online does; the company also lords over other web holdings, including NetZero, Classmates.com and MyPoints. In fact, FTD will be spun off later this year — and when it does, United Online CEO Mark Goldston is calling it quits. So you’ll not only have UNTD without its successful FTD unit, but in corporate limbo.
For now, you’d be better off putting your chips on 1-800-FLOWERS.com — which, by the way, isn’t just about flowers. No, FLWS delivers an expanding number of Mother’s Day favorites, including gift baskets, candies, candles and stuffed animals (my mom’s favorite).
Thanks to the success of that wide stable of gifts, FLWS expects to grow earnings by 35% this year and another 15% the next. So while the company is loftily priced — 23 times trailing earnings, and 21 times 2014 earnings — after a share-price doubling in the past 52 weeks, it’s for good reason.