Tickers in this Article: WMT, KO, MCD, YUM, GIS, HNZ, PG
Dividend investing gets a bad rap, but the reality is that there is no one way to long-term investment success. Some people simply do not have the time or the inclination to play the peripatetic game of momentum investing. For investors who are content to let investment theses play out over a span of years, here are some high-quality consumer-focused names to consider.

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Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)
Take a look at a chart of Wal-Mart's stock price over the past ten or eleven years and you may as well be looking at a map of Kansas. Outside of a few excursions, the stock has stayed relatively steady between $45 and $55 for most of the past decade. During that same period, though, the shares have returned nearly $7 in dividends, so long-term investors are not exactly empty-handed.

Wal-Mart is not likely to ever excite anyone with its growth again, but the company is caulking up some of its gaps. The company is working to repair relationships with suppliers and pay a bit more attention to what customers would like to see in the stores.

At the same time, the company is expanding relatively aggressively overseas. With a shockingly consistent record of mid-teen returns on total capital, a large foreign opportunity and a nearly 3% yield, Wal-Mart can be a core holding in conservative portfolios. (For more, see Remember The Discounters.)

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)
The notion that Coca-Cola is a remarkable company is only slightly more controversial than the idea that Friday will follow Thursday. This company often produces returns on total capital of nearly 30%, and while the acquisition of Coca Cola Enterprise's North American bottling operations will compress those returns for a while, the fact remains that Coca-Cola is exceptionally good at building value. There has to be an upper limit to the world market for colored sugar water, but Coca-Cola offers some compelling numbers. Not only is there a nearly 3% yield here, but a 15-year record of sales growth in excess of 4% a year, EPS growth of nearly 8%, and dividend growth of nearly 10% a year.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)
McDonald's has arguably had more fits and starts than Coca-Cola or Wal-Mart, but the company still stands as a leading global fast-food brand. While Subway has overtaken McDonald's in terms of store count and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) has done very well indeed overseas, the story is not over for MickyD just yet. Not only does the company have the capacity to raise its dividend, there is new store growth potential in foreign markets and domestic brand expansion potential as well. Consider the successes of the Dollar Menu and McCafe concept and it's clear that McDonald's is not out of opportunities to do more in the United States.

The Tale of the Tape
As the table shows, there are more than a few consumer-focused companies out there that offer solid dividend growth prospects out of stable, high-quality asset bases.

Company
15-yr Sales Growth
15-yr EPS Growth
15-yr Div Growth
Dividend Yield
Dividend Payout
EV / EBITDA
Wal Mart (NYSE:WMT)
11.50%
13.70%
18.90%
2.80%
32.70%
6.9
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)
4.7%
8.50%
10.60%
2.90%
37.20%
15.4
McDonald\'s (NYSE:MCD)
6.20%
10.80%
21.00%
3.20%
53.30%
10.4
General Mills (NYSE:GIS)
7.00%
8.60%
4.90%
3.00%
46.70%
9.8
Heinz (NYSE:HNZ)
1.90%
4.40%
4.5%
3.60%
60.60%
10.3
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)
6.60%
10.70%
12.40%
3.10%
52.60%
10.9



The Bottom Line
Of course, any list is just a starting point for further due diligence. As McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble suggest, though, quality brands run by focused managers can deliver double-digit growth in earnings and or dividends over a long stretch of time. While the size of these companies argues that dividend investors need to look at smaller names to replicate this sort of growth (trees do not grow to the sky), conservative investors can nevertheless look to these names as quality cornerstones in an income-oriented portfolio. (For more, see Value In Consumer Staples.)

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