Vera Bradley's share tumble on weak outlook

Vera Bradley 2Q profit up 12 percent, but shares slide after company issues weak outlook

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Vera Bradley fell in after-hours trading Wednesday, after the women's accessories company slashed its outlook because of the uncertain economy.

The guidance came after the company posted a 12 percent increase in profit in its fiscal second quarter.

Vera Bradley, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., said that it earned $15 million, or 37 cents per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 3. That compares with $13.4 million, or 33 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The company's revenue edged up 2 percent to $125.4 million, from $123 million in the year-ago period.

Analysts had expected earnings of 32 cents per share on revenue of $124.7 million, according to a survey by FactSet.

"We managed through considerable headwinds in the second quarter, yet delivered results in line with our expectations," said Michael C. Ray, Vera Bradley's CEO in a statement. "Nonetheless, our product offering underperformed in the midst of an uncertain consumer environment, which affected traffic in our retail stores." He added that while he was encouraged by some of the progress the company has made, the company continues to have a "cautious outlook for the remainder of the year."

For the direct segment, revenue increased 14 percent to $75 million as a result of growth across all channels. In retail stores, revenue increased 24 percent, primarily a result of 20 new full-priced and four outlet stores opened in the past year. Revenue at stores opened at least a year — a key gauge of a retailer's health — fell 3.7 percent due to weak sales performance and reduced traffic.

E-commerce revenue increased 1.4 percent due to continued growth in website traffic, offset by reduced conversion. Indirect revenue declined 12 percent to $50.4 million, primarily due to cautious ordering from specialty retailers.

For the current quarter, Vera Bradley expects revenue to be in the range of $128 million to $130 million, down from $138 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per share are expected to be in the range of 33 cents to 35 cents per share.

Analysts had expected earnings per share of 48 cents on revenue of $146.6 million.

For the full year, the company expects revenue to be in the range of $535 million to $540 million. It anticipates earnings per share in the range of $1.47 to $1.52.

That's below guidance issued in June for annual earnings per share in the range of $1.74 to $1.78 on revenue of $570 million to $575 million.

Analyst expected earnings of $1.71 per share on revenue of $571.4 million, on average.

In late trading, shares of Vera Bradley traded at $17.76, down nearly 9 percent, or $1.69.

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