Why bebe's Shares Got Crushed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of fashion retailer bebe stores (Nasdaq: BEBE  ) were getting thrown in the dirty-clothes hamper by investors today, falling as much as 24% in intraday trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results.

So what: On an absolute basis, there was a lot that looked good about bebe's quarterly report. Sales were up almost 11% from last year while same-store sales increased 7.2%; gross margins increased; and selling, general, and administrative expenses fell as a percentage of revenue. On the bottom line, a $0.2 million net loss -- or roughly break-even on a per-share basis -- reversed a $0.03-per-share loss last year.

However, though sales topped expectations, Wall Street analysts were looking for earnings per share of $0.01.

Now what: But what likely got investors particularly fired up was the fact that bebe's management provided fiscal-fourth-quarter guidance that was short of Wall Street's estimates. For the upcoming quarter, the company sees EPS coming in between $0.02 and $0.04. Analysts had estimated fourth-quarter EPS of $0.09.

So bebe managed to deliver a third quarter that showed definite progress, but considering the soft forward guidance, investors have good reason to be wondering whether the company's recovery is going to continue or sputter out.

Want to keep up to date on bebe stores? Add it to your watchlist.

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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. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.


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