5. Limited Brands Inc. (NYSE: LTD)
> Product: lingerie, personal care
> 12 month sales: $10.12 billion
> 1-year stock performance: -0.3%
> Market cap.: $12.93 billion
Limited Brands owns Victoria’s Secret, one of the nation’s leading lingerie stores, and Bath & Body Works, a personal care retailer, two the company’s most important brands. Income from core operations for the two brands totaled $215.7 million — $158 million for Victoria’s Secret and $57.7 million for Bath & Body Works — in the most recently announced quarter. The remainder of Limited Brands’ businesses were unprofitable. As of October, there were 1,046 Victoria’s Secret stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and a total of 1,650 Bath & Body Works stores. According to the NRF, among Valentine’s Day shoppers, 22.9% will visit a specialty store such as Bath & Body Works, and 7.5% will buy a gift at a specialty clothing store such as Victoria’s Secret for the holiday.
6. Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD)
> Product: prophylactics and personal intimacy
> 12 month sales: $2.92 billion
> 1-year stock performance: 26.5%
> Market cap.: $8.38 billion
Church & Dwight is a consumer goods producer based in Ewing, N.J. In addition to selling household brands such as Oxyclean and Arm & Hammer, the company also manufactures Trojan condoms — the market-leading brand in the United States. On a February 5 earnings call, CFO Matthew Ferrell said, “We are increasing pretty significantly amount of money we are spending on Trojan this year and that will help the entire franchise.” Valentine’s Day, when condom sales are usually at their best, may be one of the first tests of the company’s aggressive approach. Church & Dwight will market its products in New York City by offering free taxi rides during which passengers take a sexual health quiz.
7. IAC/InteractiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI)
> Product: online dating
> 12 month sales: $771 million
> 1-year stock performance: -4.9%
> Market cap.: $3.79 billion
IAC is an digital media company that owns search engines, news media sites and online dating sites. Among the properties owned by the company are Match.com and OkCupid. In the most recent quarter, IAC’s profits from its dating site operations totaled $62.4 million — a 71% increase from the year before. More than 1.8 million subscribers pay to use the company’s core dating sites, such as Match.com and Chemistry.com. IAC expects its online dating business to continue to grow as the “stigma against online dating [continues] to decline.” The company now offers singles’ events through its dating websites, as well as mobile dating apps such as Tinder. Amarnath Thombre, chief strategy officer for IAC’s Match.com, explained that the period between New Year’s and Valentine’s Day is the busiest business period the site has all year.
8. Bloomin’ Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN)
> Product: high-end and upscale restaurants
> 12 month sales: $3.95 billion
> 1-year stock performance: 38.0%
> Market cap.: $2.25 billion
Bloomin’ Brands owns a number of upscale and fine dining restaurants, including Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Roy’s. With 246 company-owned locations for higher-end customers, Bloomin’ is likely to appeal to the 33% of customers Technomic reports plan on visiting an upscale casual restaurant, or the 24% planning to choose fine dining, for Valentine’s Day. According to the NRF, 36.2% of customers are expected to spend money on an evening out this year, more than in any year since 2009. Bloomin’ has had a strong run since going public in August 2012, its stock rising 37.8% in that time, versus 8.36% for the S&P 500.