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Overstock shares plunge after warning of weak retail earnings

Jonathan Garber

The online retailer Overstock warned Monday that its earnings from its retail business won’t be as strong as previously thought, which sent shares plunging.

Overstock listed five reasons for its revised 2019 guidance, including increased costs on goods manufactured in China and “waning consumer confidence.” The company said it has seen a retail business adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, of roughly break-even so far in its third quarter, putting its full-year guidance of $17.5 million in question. Overstock will give updated numbers on its third-quarter earnings call.

“In spite of these recent headwinds, we’re confident in our retail strategy,” said Dave Nielsen, president of Overstock Retail. “We see positive leading indicators, including increased organic traffic, and we believe we will deliver profitable and sustainable growth for our retail business through our ongoing MarTech and Supply Chain initiatives.”

Alongside its retail warning, Overstock announced some changes in the executive ranks.

Jonathan Johnson was named CEO. He became interim CEO after the August resignation of founder Patrick Byrne. Byrne, in a Sept. 18 filing, divested his entire holding of common shares, Overstock said.

“Jonathan is a strong leader with a steady hand,” said Allison Abraham, chairwoman of Overstock’s Board of Directors. “He is the best choice to lead Overstock. He has the right experience in both our retail and blockchain businesses, and the Board has confidence in his ability to deliver value to our shareholders.”

Also on Monday, Greg Iverson resigned as CFO. He will be replaced by Robert Hughes on an interim basis.

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Overstock shares were down about 5 percent this year, including Monday's drop.

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