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JB Hi-Fi: The best retail stock of 2013?

In 2013 business and consumer confidence remained volatile. Meanwhile, as online retail expanded rapidly, concerns continued to amass regarding the future of the bricks-and-mortar retail industry.

Despite these concerns, a number of retailers heavily outperformed the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) in 2013. Let’s have a look at which retail stocks performed the best over the year.

The best:

JB Hi-Fi (ASX: JBH) delivered shareholders with an incredible 108% gain, not including dividends. The consumer electronics retailer has very low costs and can maintain lower margins than most of its competitors, while it also continues to grow sales and open new stores. Rival Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) also had a stellar run with its shares up 65.8% in the same period.

David Jones (ASX: DJS) and Myer (ASX: MYR) have also delivered investors with outstanding returns. DJ’s shares are up 26.7% and Myer’s are up 26.4%. Both offer very attractive dividend yields, with David Jones’s standing at 5.6% fully franked while Myer offers a 6.5% fully franked yield.

Nick Scali (ASX: NCK), Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) and Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL) also had an outstanding 12-month period, with their shares up 75.9%, 20.9% and 33.4% respectively. The Reject Shop (ASX: TRS) also jumped over 16% in what was a rollercoaster ride for shareholders.

The negatives:

Although Specialty Fashion Group (ASX: SFH) gained 37.5% for the year, it was a rather disappointing result considering its performance early on. The shares opened at 64c for the year and climbed as high as $1.24 by April, but gradually fell away as the year progressed. Thorn Group (ASX: TGA) had a similar experience, with its shares falling away at the year’s end to produce a gain of just 6.9%.

On another negative note for the sector, Oroton Group (ASX: ORL) shares plunged 37.2% as it ended its long association with Ralph Lauren and also lost its CEO Sally MacDonald. Cash Converters (ASX: CCV) also lost 25.9% for the year, although its future is looking bright. At today’s price of $0.86c per share, investors should consider adding Cash Converters to their portfolio or at least their watch list.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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