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Capital Allocation Trends At National Vision Holdings (NASDAQ:EYE) Aren't Ideal

If we want to find a potential multi-bagger, often there are underlying trends that can provide clues. Firstly, we'll want to see a proven return on capital employed (ROCE) that is increasing, and secondly, an expanding base of capital employed. Ultimately, this demonstrates that it's a business that is reinvesting profits at increasing rates of return. Having said that, from a first glance at National Vision Holdings (NASDAQ:EYE) we aren't jumping out of our chairs at how returns are trending, but let's have a deeper look.

Return On Capital Employed (ROCE): What Is It?

For those that aren't sure what ROCE is, it measures the amount of pre-tax profits a company can generate from the capital employed in its business. Analysts use this formula to calculate it for National Vision Holdings:

Return on Capital Employed = Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) ÷ (Total Assets - Current Liabilities)

0.045 = US$88m ÷ (US$2.3b - US$337m) (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 2022).

Therefore, National Vision Holdings has an ROCE of 4.5%. In absolute terms, that's a low return and it also under-performs the Specialty Retail industry average of 18%.

See our latest analysis for National Vision Holdings

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Above you can see how the current ROCE for National Vision Holdings compares to its prior returns on capital, but there's only so much you can tell from the past. If you're interested, you can view the analysts predictions in our free report on analyst forecasts for the company.

The Trend Of ROCE

In terms of National Vision Holdings' historical ROCE movements, the trend isn't fantastic. Over the last five years, returns on capital have decreased to 4.5% from 6.0% five years ago. On the other hand, the company has been employing more capital without a corresponding improvement in sales in the last year, which could suggest these investments are longer term plays. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's earnings from here on to see if these investments do end up contributing to the bottom line.

Our Take On National Vision Holdings' ROCE

Bringing it all together, while we're somewhat encouraged by National Vision Holdings' reinvestment in its own business, we're aware that returns are shrinking. Unsurprisingly, the stock has only gained 22% over the last five years, which potentially indicates that investors are accounting for this going forward. As a result, if you're hunting for a multi-bagger, we think you'd have more luck elsewhere.

If you'd like to know about the risks facing National Vision Holdings, we've discovered 1 warning sign that you should be aware of.

If you want to search for solid companies with great earnings, check out this free list of companies with good balance sheets and impressive returns on equity.

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

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.

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