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As Goals Soccer Centres plc Dives 20%, Are Boohoo.Com PLC And Restaurant Group PLC Better Small-Cap Investments?

Shares in Goals Soccer Centres (LSE: GOAL) have slumped by as much as 20% today after the company released a profit warning. While the performance of the five-a-side football centre operator in the first half of the year was encouraging, it has reduced guidance for the full year as a result of challenging trading conditions.

This means that, while Goals was forecast to post a pretax profit of £10.9m for the full-year, it now expects pretax profit to be between £9.3m and £9.8m. While not as impressive as previously expected, it would still represent a significant increase on the £6.7m pretax profit that was posted last year. As such, the company’s share price decline appears to have been something of an overreaction, with Goals still having huge expansion potential in the US where its Los Angeles centre is performing extremely well and delivered a 22% rise in sales in the first half of the year.

Furthermore, Goals trades on a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of just 10.2 which, despite today’s disappointment, seems to be rather low. That’s especially the case since Goals will beef up its marketing campaign so as to encourage more bookings and also has the potential to expand in the US, which is a rapidly growing market in terms of the popularity of football/soccer. As such, Goals seems to be a relatively risky, but potentially very rewarding, buy at the present time.

Of course, other UK-focused consumer stocks also have considerable appeal. Online fashion retailer Boohoo.Com (LSE: BOO) has also faced a testing recent period, with its share price having declined by 15% since the turn of the year. However, just as with Goals, it has the scope to turn recent disappointing performance around, with Boohoo.Com’s earnings set to rise by 42% in the current year, and by a further 25% next year. This means that its earnings could be as much as 78% higher next year than they were last year, which is likely to have a positive impact on investor sentiment.

In addition, Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN) is another appealing consumer stock. It is a very stable performer, having increased its earnings in each of the last five years at an annualised rate of 11%. Given that the UK has been in a tough economic period for at least two of those years, such a strong financial performance is hugely impressive. And, looking ahead, Restaurant Group is expected to deliver a rise in its earnings of 13% this year, followed by 12% next year. This puts it on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.5 which, given its defensive attributes, seems to be a bargain.

Because of this, and while all three stocks appear to be worth buying, the stability of Restaurant Group makes it stand out as the preferred option at the present time. Furthermore, with Boohoo.Com performing well right now, it appears to offer less risk than Goals and at least as high a potential return.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.