True Religion Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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What: Shares of denim demigod True Religion (Nasdaq: TRLG  ) were getting thrown in the dirty-clothes hamper by investors today, falling as much as 28% in intraday trading after the company reported fourth-quarter earnings.

So what: For the final quarter of the year, True Religion managed $0.62 in adjusted earnings per share on $119.4 million in revenue. That represented revenue growth of 7.7% and a slight drop in EPS, but that was well off from the $128 million in revenue and $0.71 in per-share profit that analysts were looking for.

The company's Consumer Direct segment, which includes True Religion's stores, performed well during the quarter, posting 24% total sales growth and 11% comparable-store sales growth. That segment now accounts for 65% of the company's total sales. However, looking at the company broadly, the lack of significant profit growth for 2011 is no doubt worrisome considering the hopeful valuation multiple that investors had been awarding True Religion's stock.

Now what: But wait, it gets worse. For 2012, the company said that it expects sales to be between $450 million and $460 million, while earnings per share is seen clocking in between $1.88 and $1.95. The average analyst estimates for the year had been for $2.37 in per-share profit on $494 million in sales.

At the midpoint of management's guidance, True Religion's earnings per share would grow roughly 2% in 2012. There's nothing impressive about that and it wouldn't surprise me if investors continued adjusting the stock's valuation downward even after today's big slide.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook

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