Why Harris Teeter Shares Crumbled

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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 Harris Teeter Supermarkets (UNKNOWN: HTSI.DL  ) were getting knocked down to the bottom shelf today, falling as much as 10%, after coming up short in its earnings report.

So what: The North Carolina-based grocer said overall revenue grew 4%, to $1.16 billion, while same-store sales increased 2.5%. Earnings per share came in at $0.46, well short of expectations of $0.59. The company blamed aggressive pricing from competitors, and a slow retail environment for the miss. In 2013, Harris Teeter plans to open nine additional stores, increasing its store count by about 4%.

Now what: Harris Teeter was greeted by a round of downgrades after its latest update, but I wouldn't dismiss the stock after one quarter. This is a strong brand with the potential to expand outside its home region in the Southeast, and add new stores where it's proven itself. I'd like to see the store count growing faster, but I expect it to bounce back in the long term.

You can keep an eye on Harris Teeter by adding it to your Watchlist here

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Jeremy Bowman

Fool since 2011. I write about consumer goods, the big picture, and whatever else piques my interest. Follow me on Twitter to see my latest articles, and for commentary on hot topics in retail and the broad market.

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