2016 has got off to an interesting start for investors in Sainsbury’s (LSE: SBRY), with the supermarket chain announcing that it made a bid for Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail in November 2015. With the bid having been rejected, Sainsbury’s has until 2 February to make a formal bid under UK takeover rules and is said to be considering its position.

Clearly, the deal would diversify Sainsbury’s product offering and would fly in the face of the strategies adopted by a number of its supermarket peers. Tesco and Morrisons are seeking to simplify their business models and return to being more focused supermarkets. Both companies are in the process of disposing of assets that aren’t part of their core supermarket offering.

If Sainsbury’s does bid for Home Retail, this could complicate the company’s strategy at a time when the supermarket industry continues to endure a difficult period. That said, Home Retail trades on a relatively appealing valuation and, if integrated successfully, could positively catalyse Sainsbury’s growth outlook.

Of course, if a deal isn’t agreed, Sainsbury’s has a valuation indicating that 20% upside is very much on the cards, with it trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 11.2 at the present time.

In fashion

Also having the potential to post 20% returns this year is Ted Baker (LSE: TED). It has today confirmed the purchase of a building in London that has served as its head office and, looking ahead, it seems to be well-positioned to continue the stunning earnings growth rate of recent years.

In fact, Ted Baker’s bottom line is due to rise by 20% in the current year and by a further 16% next year. Therefore, an upward rerating may not be necessary in order for it to record 20% gains this year if the company can meet its current forecasts. And with earnings having grown at an annualised rate of 20.5% during the last five years, current guidance appears to be very achievable given the positive recent update that showed excellent performance across all channels and territories.

Growth potential

Meanwhile, shares in Sports Direct (LSE: SPD) could also be 20% higher than their current level come the end of the year. That’s because Sports Direct trades on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1. This indicates that a mix of double-digit earnings growth as well as the potential for an upward rerating could lead to a major turnaround in the company’s share price performance following its 31% decline of the last three months.

Certainly, there are question marks over Sports Direct’s expansion into Europe with writedowns having been made due to poor sales figures. However, with the UK economy moving from strength-to-strength and UK consumers enjoying real-terms rises in their incomes, the outlook for retailers such as Sports Direct still appears to be highly positive for 2016. And while its shares could remain volatile, they appear to have 20% upside potential over the medium term.

Of course, Sports Direct, Sainsbury's and Ted Baker aren't the only companies that could be worth buying at the present time. With that in mind, the analysts at The Motley Fool have written a free and without obligation guide called 5 Shares You Can Retire On.

The 5 companies in question offer stunning dividend yields, have fantastic long-term potential and trade at very appealing valuations. As such, they could deliver excellent returns and provide your portfolio with a major boost in 2016 and beyond.

Click here to find out all about them - it's completely free and without obligation to do so.

Peter Stephens owns shares of Morrisons, Sainsbury (J), and Tesco. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Sports Direct International. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.