Shares in Whitbread(LSE: WTB) fallen by 29% in the last year and now hold considerable appeal. That's because the company's business model remains very strong and its products continue to offer growth potential. For example, Whitbread's Premier Inn hotel chain has been able to increase its pricing in recent years and with the potential for further locations over the medium term, there are upbeat growth prospects on offer.
Similarly, Whitbread's Costa Coffee chain remains highly popular and while the store estate is now relatively large in comparison to its peers, there's still huge scope for international expansion. That's despite Costa already being the world's second-largest coffee chain with outlets in 30 countries. So, while the impact of the living wage may be somewhat detrimental to its UK operations since it may force Costa to increase its prices or else live with squeezed margins, the company has the ability to offset this through growth abroad.
With Whitbread trading on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15, it may not appear to offer good value for money while the FTSE 100 has a P/E ratio of around 13. However, with its bottom line having grown in each of the last five years and it being forecast to do so over the next two years, it remains a very reliable growth play for the long term.
Good time to buy
Also offering upbeat growth prospects is Vodafone(LSE: VOD). Unlike Whitbread, Vodafone has struggled in recent years to deliver improvements in its bottom line, but has adopted a strategy that positions it for future growth. It has invested heavily in its network across Europe, while also diversifying into new product lines such as broadband. This should allow it to offer a more stable revenue stream and also enhance cross-selling opportunities over the medium-to-long term.
With Vodafone forecast to increase its bottom line by 23% in the next financial year and by a further 28% in the following financial year, now seems to be a good time to buy it. Certainly, there could be disappointment regarding the performance of the European economy, but Vodafone seems to be well-placed to not only survive, but also to deliver upbeat growth over the medium to long term.
Back in fashion
Burberry (LSE: BRBY) has also struggled in recent years, with a slowing China causing its sales performance to come under pressure. While this is disappointing, Burberry is a global brand and so over the medium term it seems likely that other regions will help to offset the challenges it faces in China. And with China likely to become a more focused consumer economy, the opportunities in the long run remain bright for consumer goods companies such as Burberry.
Burberry has a wide economic moat and considerable pricing potential. This means that its margins could expand and boost its bottom line. Looking ahead, it's forecast to return to positive growth this year and then deliver earnings growth of 8% next year, which could help to boost investor sentiment and increase its rating from the current 18.7.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Burberry and Vodafone. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Burberry. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.