Why The Fresh Market Shares Went Bad

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 The Fresh Market (NASDAQ: TFM  ) were looking wilted today, falling as much as 12% after delivering a rotten earnings report.  

So what: The Whole Foods imitator reported earnings of $0.32 per share, in line with estimates, while revenue increased 13%, to $354.8 million, $1 million short of estimates. Since The Fresh Market is considered a growth stock, with a P/E of just 35, the market wasn't shy about sharing its distaste for the revenue miss. Same-store sales increased 3.4%, an average pace, while the company's guidance added to the pain. The grocer sees a full-year EPS of $1.50-$1.55 due to higher costs, which is below the analyst consensus of $1.57.

Now what: This is an expansion play for investors, as The Fresh Market is increasing its store base by about 15% this year, or 21 to 22 stores. Considering that pace, however, a 13% sales increase is pretty weak. A stock valued so dearly should be seeing stronger top-line growth. However, the high-end grocer's results and outlook were barely worse than estimates; the problem seems to be that the stock was overvalued in the first place. I'd wait for this one to go on special before getting on board.

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