Why Vera Bradley Shares Fell

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 Vera Bradley (NASDAQ: VRA  ) were down as much as 13% today, as the women's handbag maker provided weak guidance in its earnings report ,and said that its CEO would be retiring.

So what: Net income dropped 27%, to $9.2 million, or $0.23 per share; however, that still managed to beat expectations of $0.21 per share. Revenue inched up 5%, to $123 million, also topping estimates of $121 million. Same-store sales grew by less than 1%, as management cited "a challenging retail environment." What really seemed to spook investors, however, was the company's move to lower its full-year guidance on top and bottom lines. It now sees EPS of $1.74-$1.78, down from $1.83-$1.88 previously, and dropped its revenue forecast nearly 3%, to $570-$575 million. CEO Mike Ray, who has been at the helm since 2007, also said he would retire once a replacement is found.

Now what: Putting more negative pressure on shares were downgrades from Robert W. Baird, Wells Fargo, and Piper Jaffray, who all lowered their ratings to the equivalent of Neutral.  Among concerns are slowing growth, and uncertainty in the executive chair. I wouldn't count out Vera Bradley that fast, though. This is a solid brand at a good price and, as a higher-end label, they should see a secular comeback as the economy recovers.

Want more on Vera Bradley? Add the company to your Watchlist here.  


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