Ahead of the Bell: Jamba tumbles on lower outlook

Jamba skids after saying lower consumer spending and other factors are hurting its sales

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of fruit smoothie maker Jamba plunged in premarket trading Tuesday after the company cut its fiscal 2013 guidance, saying reduced spending by consumers hurt its sales in the third quarter.

The operator of Jamba Juice now says sales at stores open at least a year will grow no more than 1 percent this fiscal year. It had forecast growth of 4 to 6 percent. The biggest factor was limited spending by consumers, but Jamba said its results were also hurt by bad weather in key markets and greater competition, and it said its promotions were not as effective as they were last year. The company is also forecasting reduced profit margins.

Sales at stores open at least a year are considered an important measurement of retailer performance. The measurement leaves out results from locations that opened or closed within the last year.

Jamba Inc. shares fell $2.54, or 18.9 percent, to $10.93 in premarket trading. The stock reached a three-year high of $17.50 in June.

On Monday afternoon the Emeryville, Calif., company said sales at locations open at least a year fell 3.4 percent in the third quarter. It said reduced consumer spending hurt those sales by 3 to 4 percent.

Jamba said sales at stores open at least a year should grow 2 to 4 percent in fiscal 2014, and it expects better profit margins in the new fiscal year. The company said it is in the process of opening 1,000 JambaGo mobile smoothie sites, giving it about 1,800 locations. Jamba plans to open another 1,000 in fiscal 2014 and said it believes it might be able to open more stores in international markets than it previously expected.

Jamba has 829 stores worldwide, including 295 company owned stores and 492 franchised locations in the U.S., and 42 stores in other countries.

Wedbush analyst Kurt Frederick said the company's reduced 2013 guidance is overshadowing some important good news. He said JambaGo locations are expanding faster than expected, and JambaGo could eventually make a major contribution to the company's new income. Frederick added that Jamba is calling for "impressive" profit growth in the new fiscal year.

He maintained an "Outperform" rating on the shares and cut his price target to $15 from $18.

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