The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS)The San Francisco-based family clothing chain has seen its stock price climb steadily since February, when it raised its earnings-per-share guidance for its fourth quarter, upped its annual dividend by 11 percent from the previous fiscal year and announced it would build capital with a $1 billion share-repurchase program. Since then it entered the South African market, and raised its EPS forecast twice. It now expects to pay $1.95 to $2 in this fiscal year, above the $1.56 paid the previous year.
Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL)It entered the year at near $23 a share and is approaching $40, the highest level for the company in over a decade, and much higher than the bottom of below $4 during the height of the last financial crisis. The New York-based shoe outlet announced last month a 59 percent rise in profits in its second quarter. Apparel was its strongest category. Domestic comparable stores sales rose 20% during that time, riding on new sneaker fabrics and the sport-frenzy linked to the London Olympics.
The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD)The home improvement retailer based in Atlanta has seen its share price climb steadily since late last year. It started the year by announcing the acquisitions of San Mateo, Calif.-based redbeacon, a tech company that offers services linking customers to home-services providers, like plumbers, electricians and cleaners. It increased its fiscal 2012 sales and earning guidance in May, announced a deal to sell Frigidaire-branded white goods in July and last month said it was acquiring Irving, Tex.-based U.S. Home Systems, which had been supplying the chain with bath refacing products and services as well as closet and garage organizational systems. On Aug. 14 it upped its FY2012 earnings forecast 19 percent, to $2.95.
Ross Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq:ROST)In December Ross announced a 2:1 stock split and the off price apparel and home fashion merchandiser’s shares have been rising steadily ever since. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based chain increased the earnings forecasts for the first two quarters and raised its FY2012 earnings guidance to between $3.26 and $3.37. Investors have shrugged off the company’s inability to meet Wall Street forecasts in the second and third quarters. The company entered the year at $36 and was above $46 on Wednesday.
The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX)OK, technically this Framingham, Mass.-based discount apparel and home fashions outlet was slightly underperforming Apple Inc. as of market close on Tuesday, mainly because Apple’s stock has been rising ahead of Wednesday’s big announcement. TJX, which operates primarily as T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, has seen its share price climb steadily over the past 12 months. In February it announced a 2-for-1 stock split. It raised its FY2012 forecast three times so far this year and on Aug. 30 said it expects to finish the year with earning per share at the high end of the 56-cent-to-59-cent range.
Wall Street has been gaga over Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: APPL) over the past year, sending the company's stock price well past its previous all-time high of $636.23 it hit on April 9. The price has been above that level since Aug. 16 in the run-up to the widely anticipated unveiling of the latest iPhone. But considering that the price of one share of Apple is about the same price as its unlocked iPhone (the one that allows you to switch carriers), there are less exciting, less expensive stocks out there that have done as well or better than the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant over the past 12 months. Here are four retailers whose stocks have greatly outperformed Apple, and one that did just as well.