Elina Furman and her son Julian, 6, with several of the Pley sets.NEW YORK (CNNMoney) When Elina Furman was 7, she came to the United States from Russia with her family and was allowed to bring three toys.
"I appreciated them so much. Each one was a treasure," she said.
That was 1980. Now, parents are overwhelmed with choices, not to mention the cost of buying every flavor of the month. Furman cited a British study that said the average Western kid has 238 toys, but plays with only 12 on a daily basis.
For Furman and her business partner Ranan Lachman, that dilemma sparked an idea. Just as consumers have taken to short-term rentals for everything from autos (Zipcar) to apartments (Airbnb), why not try something similar for toys?
So last May, they launched Pley, which works something like Netflix (NFLX), only with Lego building-block sets. Pley's 15,000 subscribers can choose one or more sets from the company's online "pleylist." Pley ships the toys, and when kids tire of them (usually within two weeks) parents ship them back and get a new set in return. (Pley sanitizes each set before mailing it out.)
Hot Small Cap Companies To Own In Right Now: Primo Water Corporation(PRMW)
Primo Water Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides three- and five-gallon purified bottled water, self-serve filtered drinking water, water dispensers, and carbonating beverage appliances in the United States and Canada. The company?s Primo Water segment sells multi-gallon purified bottled water and self-serve filtered drinking water vending service through retailers in the United States and Canada. It offers its services through point of purchase display racks or self-serve filtered water vending displays, and recycling centers. Its Primo Dispensers segment sells water dispensers that are designed to dispense Primo and other dispenser-compatible bottled water. This segment engages in dispensers sales primarily through retailers. The company also offers home beverage appliances, flavor concentrates, carbon dioxide cylinders, and accessories used with the appliances to make various cold beverages. As of December 31, 2011, its exchange and refill services wer e offered in each of the contiguous United States and in Canada at approximately 23,600 combined retail locations. Primo Water Corporation was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Bryan Murphy]
In November of last year when I first started to suggest Primo Water Corporation (NASDAQ:PRMW) was un undervalued and underappreciated investment opportunity, I received plenty of, shall we call them "colorful disagreements"? PRMW was still sitting in the shadow of a 95% selloff (for a couple of different reasons), and nobody seemed to the think the company was going to survive. I saw hope though, making me the outlier. Glad I was able to look past all the noise and bearish rhetoric and stay convicted to my idea - Primo Water shares are up 146% since my initial call. You know what though, in the same sense I was willing to zig then when everyone else had zagged, I think it's time to close the books on this then-unlikely winner. More on that in a second.
- [By Rick Munarriz]
SodaStream bears pointed to Primo Water's (NASDAQ: PRMW ) FlavorStation as a potential SodaStream slayer two years ago. The bottled water distributor had plenty of retail connections for its flagship H2O but it only managed to get one major retailer -- a home-improvement superstore chain, at that -- to sell FlavorStation carbonators and flavors.
Hot Consumer Companies To Watch For 2014: Celsius Holdings Inc (CELH)
Celsius Holdings, Inc., incorporated on April 26, 2005, is engaged in the development, marketing, sale and distribution of functional calorie-burning beverages under the Celsius brand name. The Company focuses to combine nutritional science with mainstream beverages by using its thermogenic (calorie-burning) MetaPlus formulation. The Company does not directly manufacture its beverages, but instead outsource the manufacturing process to established third-party co-packers. The Company provides its co-packers with flavors, ingredient blends, cans and other raw materials for its beverages purchased by the Company from various suppliers. Celsius, Inc. and Elite FX, Inc. are the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Company.
The Company�� Celsius is a calorie-burning beverage. Celsius is available in seven flavors, lemon-lime, ginger ale, cola, orange and wild berry (which are carbonated) and non-carbonated green tea raspberry/acai and green tea/peach mango. Its beverages are sold in 12 ounce cans, although it has begun to market the ingredients in powdered form in individual On-The-Go packets. The Company�� customer�� include on-the-go women, age 25 to 54, who are looking for a way to burn calories and gain energy with beverages and natural alternatives to diet sodas, as well as sports enthusiasts of both sexes, who are seeking low sodium, preservative-free alternatives. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company developed its MetaPlus formulation into a powder that can be mixed with water.
The Company competes with The Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo, Inc., Nestl茅, Waters North America, Inc., Hansen Natural Corp., and Red Bull.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By John Udovich]
Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ: MNST), a mid cap marketer and distributor of energy drinks and alternative beverages, has been a monster of a performer since the end of the financial crisis as the stock is up around 308% over the past five years, but could new or overlooked players like small cap beverage stocks�Jones Soda Co (OTCMKTS: JSDA), Celsius Holdings, Inc (OTCMKTS: CELH) and Konared Corp (OTCBB: KRED) repeat that performance? A look strictly at the long term performance of all three small caps might have you thinking otherwise. After all, none of these small cap beverage stocks are profitable while�the beverage industry can be a long hard expensive slog just to increase market share by one or two points when you are competing for shelf space with industry giants like Pepsi and Coke. But past performance is just that���the past and only part of the story as there is much more to consider about these small cap beverage stocks which could also make them potential acquisition targets by larger beverage players seeking to expand their product line up with innovative products:
Hot Consumer Companies To Watch For 2014: Fuel Systems Solutions Inc.(FSYS)
Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, and supply of alternative fuel components and systems for use in the transportation, industrial, and power generation markets worldwide. Its components and systems control the pressure and flow of gaseous alternative fuels, such as propane and natural gas used in internal combustion engines. The company offers a range of fuel delivery components, including pressure regulators, fuel injectors, flow control valves, and other components to control the pressure, flow, and/or metering of gaseous fuels; electronic controls comprising solid-state components and proprietary software that monitor and optimize fuel pressure and flow for engine requirements; and gaseous fueled internal combustion engines that are integrated with its fuel delivery and electronic controls. It also provides systems integration support and engineering services to integrate the gaseous fuel storage, fuel delivery, and/or electronic control c omponents and sub-systems; auxiliary power systems for truck and diesel locomotives; and natural gas compressors and refueling systems for light and heavy duty refueling applications. In addition, the company designs, assembles, and markets ancillary components for systems operation on alternative fuels. It sells its transportation products primarily to automobile manufacturers, taxi companies, transit and shuttle bus companies, and delivery fleets; and industrial products principally to manufacturers of industrial mobile equipment and stationary engines through a network of distributors and dealers, as well as through a sales force that develops sales with distributors, original equipment manufacturers, and end-users. Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. was founded in 1958 and is based in New York, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By David Goodboy]
Another top company in the alternative-to-gasoline space is Fuel Systems Solutions (Nasdaq: FSYS).
Fuel Systems specializes in components and system controls that manage the pressure of fuels such as propane and natural gas. Launched in 1958, the New York-based company is far from a startup. It boasts a $400 million plus market cap, a price-to-sales ratio of 1.0 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.3.
Hot Consumer Companies To Watch For 2014: C&C Group PLC (CCGGY)
C&C Group plc, incorporated on March 19, 2004, is engaged the production, marketing and selling of cider and beer. The Company operates in five segments: Republic of Ireland (ROI), Cider United Kingdom (Cider UK), Tennent�� United Kingdom (Tennent�� UK), International, and Third Party Brands United Kingdom (Third Party Brands UK). The Company�� cider brands include Bulmers, Magners, Gaymers Cider, Blackthorn Cider, Olde English, Addlestones, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Wyder�� Cider and Hornsby��. Its other cider brands include Bulmers Berry, Bulmers Pear, Magners Pear, Magners Specials, Special Vat, K, Natch and Diamond White.
ROI includes the results from sale of all products in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), including Bulmers, Tennent��, Caledonia Smooth and third party brands. Cider UK segment includes the results from sale of the Company�� cider products in the United Kingdom, with Magners, Gaymers and Blackthorn the principal brands. Tennent�� UK segment includes the results from sale of the Company�� owned beer brand Tennent�� in the United Kingdom and sales of Caledonia Best in the United Kingdom. International segment includes the results from sale of the Company�� cider and beer products, principally Magners, Blackthorn, Hornsby��, Woodchuck and Tennent�� in all territories outside of the ROI and the United Kingdom. Third Party Brands UK segment relates to the distribution of third party brands and the production and distribution of private label products in the United Kingdom.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
While�Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD ) introduced some fruit-flavored margarita drinks and even Beam offered flavored bourbons to water down the market more,�the bigger threat may be coming from the explosive growth being witnessed in�hard cider.�Brewer Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM ) rolled out its Angry Orchard cider brand just last year and has already catapulted to the top of the market, surpassing C&C Group's (NASDAQOTH: CCGGY ) Vermont Hard Cider, the previous market leader.
Hot Consumer Companies To Watch For 2014: Graham Holdings Co (GHC)
Graham Holdings Company, formerly The Washington Post Company, incorporated on July 21, 2003, is a diversified education and media company whose principal operations include educational services, television broadcasting, cable television systems, and online, print and local TV news. The Company owns Kaplan, a provider of educational services to individuals, schools and businesses, serving over one million students annually with operations in more than 30 countries. Its programs include higher education, test preparation, language instruction and professional training. Its Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc owns six television stations which include WDIV-Detroit (NBC), KPRC-Houston (NBC),WPLG-Miami (ABC), WKMG-Orlando (CBS), KSAT-San Antonio (ABC) and WJXT-Jacksonville (independent). The stations also broadcast digital channels focusing on classic television and lifestyle programming, in addition to operating websites, mobile sites and mobile apps delivering breaking news, weather and community news. Its Cable ONE, headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, serves small-city subscribers in 19 midwestern, western and southern states. Cable ONE provides digital video, Internet and phone service to homes and businesses. The Company�� Slate Group is a daily online magazine that offers fresh angles on stories in the news and entertainment coverage, all with its signature wit and irreverence, publishing provocative commentary on topics such as politics, culture, business and technology. Slate V is a daily online video magazine offering original video about politics, culture, and business, technology.
The Company divested its interest in Avenue100 Media Solutions Inc., a digital marketing company headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, in 2012. The Company sold its interest in the Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited to the Province of Nova Scotia in 2012. In March 2013, the Company announced it has completed the sale of The Herald, a daily and Sunday newspaper and its other print and online products to Sound Publ! ishing, Inc.
Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company, provides a range of education and related services worldwide for students and professionals. Kaplan conducts its operations through three segments: Kaplan Higher Education, Kaplan Test Preparation and Kaplan International. Kaplan Higher Education (KHE) provides a wide array of certificate, diploma and degree programs on campus and online designed to meet the needs of students seeking to advance their education and career goals. During the year ended December 31, 2012, Kaplan�� United States-based KHE division businesses include Kaplan University and KHE Campuses.
Kaplan University specializes in online education, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and holds other programmatic accreditations. Kaplan University�� programs are offered online, while some are offered in a traditional classroom format at 12 campuses in Iowa, Maine, Maryland and Nebraska, and four Kaplan University Learning Centers in four additional states. Kaplan University also includes Concord Law School, a fully online law school. During 2012, Kaplan University had approximately 38,800 students enrolled in online programs and approximately 5,600 students enrolled in its classroom-based programs.
Also residing within Kaplan University is the School of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). PACE offers a range of education solutions to assist professionals in advancing their careers by obtaining professional licenses, designations and certifications. This includes solutions for insurance, securities, real estate, mortgage and appraisal licensing exams and for advanced designations, such as CFA and CPA exams. PACE serves more than 2,900 business-to-business clients, including more than 70 Fortune 500 companies. In 2012, approximately 510,000 students used PACE's exam preparation offerings. As of December 31, 2012, the KHE Campuses business consis! ts of 59 ! schools in 17 states, which provides classroom-based instruction to approximately 21,100 students.
Kaplan International operates businesses in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. In Europe, Kaplan operates in the businesses, which are all based in the United Kingdom and Ireland: Kaplan UK, Kaplan International Colleges (KIC) and a set of higher education institutions. The Kaplan United Kingdom business in Europe is a provider of training, test preparation services and degrees for accounting and financial services professionals, including those studying for ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW qualifications. In addition, Kaplan United Kingdom provides legal and professional training, including the operation of a United Kingdom law school in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University�� Nottingham Law School. In 2012, Kaplan United Kingdom provided courses to approximately 66,000 students, of whom 49,000 were dedicated to accounting and financial services coursework.
The KIC business consists of university pathways business and an English-language training business. The university pathways business offers academic preparation programs especially designed for international students who wish to study in English-speaking countries. KIC operates university pathways programs in collaboration with nine U.K. universities. As of December 31, 2012, KIC�� university pathways business was serving approximately 2,700 students. The English-language business (previously operated as Kaplan Aspect) provides English-language training, academic preparation programs and test preparation for English proficiency exams, principally for students wishing to study and travel in English-speaking countries. KIC operates a total of 41 English-language schools, with 19 located in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and 22 located in the United States, where they operate under the name Kaplan International Centers. During 2012, the English-language business served approximately 65,000 stud! ents.!
Kaplan also operates three higher education institutions in Europe, located in the United Kingdom and Ireland. These institutions are Dublin Business School, Holborn College and Kaplan Open Learning. As of December 31, 2012, these institutions enrolled an aggregate of approximately 6,500 students. In the Asia Pacific region, Kaplan operates businesses in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and China. In Singapore, Kaplan operates three business units, Higher Education, Financial and Professional, which serve more than 16,700 students from various countries throughout Asia.
Kaplan Singapore�� Higher Education business provides students with the opportunity to earn bachelor�� and postgraduate degrees in various fields on either a part-time or full-time basis. Kaplan Singapore�� students receive degrees from affiliated educational institutions in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. In addition, this division offers pre-university and diploma programs. Kaplan Singapore�� Financial business provides preparatory courses for professional qualifications in accountancy and finance, such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
In Australia, Kaplan delivers a broad range of financial services education and professional development courses. In 2012, this business provided courses to approximately 17,400 students through classroom programs and to more than 44,800 students through distance-learning programs. In 2012, Kaplan Australia underwent operational restructuring and offers its programs through three business units: English Language and Pathways; Vocational Education; and Higher Education.
The Vocational Education business of Kaplan Australia includes Kaplan Professional Education (KPE), Carrick Education Group and Franklyn Scholar. KPE offers financial services education programs and continuing professional development courses primarily to a business-to-business market, including banks and numerous! industry! sectors.. Approximately 43,000 students are taught through KPE each year. Carrick has traditionally offered English-language programs, vocational training and higher education courses in Australia. Kaplan is evaluating various strategic alternatives with respect to the Carrick business lines. As of December 31, 2012, Carrick was providing services to approximately 1,300 students. Franklyn Scholar offers a wide range of custom-developed programs to business clients. More than 16,000 students are taught through Franklyn Scholar each year.
The higher education business of Kaplan Australia comprises Kaplan Online Higher Education (KOHE) and Kaplan Business School (KBS), which offers diploma, bachelor�� and master�� degree programs. As of December 31, 2012, KBS has opened a new school in Brisbane and operates in four states in Australia teaching approximately 700 students each year. KOHE teaches approximately 1,800 students annually in postgraduate courses primarily in the financial services sector.
In Hong Kong, Kaplan offers a comprehensive array of programs, ranging from language education and standardized test preparation to corporate and financial training and higher education degree courses. During 2012, Kaplan�� Hong Kong business provided courses to more than 15,700 students.
In China, Kaplan provides foundation programs to Chinese students through partnerships with prestigious Chinese universities and high schools. Kaplan China offers foundation programs at 11 campuses and had more than 1,100 students enrolled at the end of 2012. Kaplan China also cooperates with several Chinese universities to provide ACCA training programs to the students. Cable ONE offers broadband Internet access service on virtually all of its cable systems and is the sole Internet service provider on those systems.
Kaplan International also includes the Kaplan Global Solutions business unit, which continues to develop partnerships with colleges, universities and non-p! rofit corp! orations and foundations. Kaplan Global Solutions, through its Colloquy business, enables its university partners to develop online educational programs by providing an array of research, marketing and design services. Through its Global Pathways programs, Kaplan Global Solutions enables its partner institutions in the Americas to enhance their brand globally and increase international student enrollments by designing and marketing custom programs aimed at student success.
Cable Television Operations
Through its subsidiary Cable One, Inc. (Cable ONE), the Company owns and operates cable television systems that provide video, Internet and voice service to subscribers in 19 midwestern, western and southern states. At the end of 2012, Cable ONE provided cable service to approximately 593,600 video subscribers, representing about 41% of the 1,439,740 homes passed by the systems, had approximately 459,200 subscriptions to high-speed data (HSD) service and 184,500 subscriptions to VoIP (digital voice) service. The video services offered by Cable ONE include certain premium, cable network and local over-the-air channels in high-definition television (HDTV) format. Cable ONE offers voice over Internet Protocol service, which permits users to make voice calls over broadband communications networks, including the Internet.
WaPo Labs is a digital team focusing on experimenting with emerging technologies. In 2012, WaPo Labs launched several projects in partnership with the Company�� media properties: Personal Post, a feature on washingtonpost.com that delivers personalized article recommendations based on a user�� interests and past reading behavior; The Fold, a video news program available on washingtonpost.com, Google TV and Android tablets, and The Root 100, which comprises 100 Android apps aggregating content about the Root 100 honorees, chosen for their impact and influence within the African-American community. In addition to working clo! sely with! the Company�� news websites, WaPo Labs oversees Washington Post Social Reader (Social Reader) and Trove. Social Reader is a Facebook-connected Website that delivers news articles based on a user�� interests and what their friends are reading. Social Reader aggregates content from the Post, Slate, Foreign Policy, Express, the Root and more than 90 other content partners to create a social stream of articles.
Social Code LLC (Social Code) is a marketing solutions company helping Fortune 500 brands maximize their marketing efforts on social media platforms. Celtic Healthcare, Inc. (Celtic) is a Medicare-certified provider of home health and hospice services headquartered in Mars, PA. Through its subsidiaries, Celtic is licensed to provide home health and hospice services throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. These services include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work, nutrition, chaplain and aid services. In addition, Celtic provides virtual care services to patients throughout its service territories. Celtic derives 74% of its revenue from Medicare, with the remaining sources of revenue being Medicaid, commercial insurance and private payors.
The Company competes with Edmunds.com, AutoTrader.com, Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Yelp, OpenTable, Google, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Yahoo!.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Emily Jane Fox]
In the past year, millennials turned up the heat against low wages at Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500), Wendy's (WEN), KFC (YUM, Fortune 500) and others like Kaplan (GHC), which runs tutoring centers.
Hot Consumer Companies To Watch For 2014: R.G. Barry Corporation(DFZ)
R.G. Barry Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in designing, sourcing, marketing, and distributing consumer products in the retail accessories category primarily in North America. It operates in two segments, Footwear and Accessories. The Footwear segment offers footwear products comprising primarily slippers, sandals, hybrid and fashion footwear, slipper socks, and hosiery under the Dearfoams, Angel Treads, DF by Dearfoams, Utopia by Dearfoams, and Terrasoles names. This segment also markets Levi?s branded slippers and sandals. The Accessories segment provides foot and shoe care products, such as cushioned insoles, handbags, tote bags, and travel products for women under the Foot Petals, Fab Feet, Glamour Toez, Heavenly Heelz, Killer Kushionz, baggallini, and Le Bagg names. The company markets its products through accessory sections of department stores, chain stores, warehouse clubs, specialty stores, independent stores, television shopping networks, e- tailing/Internet based retailers, discount stores, and mass merchandising channels of distribution. R.G. Barry Corporation was founded in 1947 and is headquartered in Pickerington, Ohio.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Marc Bastow]
Brand development and marketing products provider R.G. Barry (DFZ) raised its quarterly dividend 11.1% to 10 cents per share, payable on Apr. 4 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 17.
DFZ Dividend Yield: 2.25%