Why LightInTheBox Shares Plummeted

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 Chinese online retailer LightInTheBox  (NYSE: LITB  ) plunged 20% today after its quarterly results and outlook missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: The stock was crushed in late August on signs of slowing growth, and today's Q3 results -- loss widened to $1.89 million on a revenue increase of 33% -- coupled with downbeat guidance only reinforce that worry. On the bright side, gross margins during the quarter expanded 160 basis points to 43.9%, suggesting that the company's cost structure and competitive position is improving.

Now what: Management now sees current-quarter revenue of $75 million-$77 million, below the average analyst estimate of $83.1 million. "We are enhancing our product offerings in the apparel segment by placing greater emphasis on other product lines beyond wedding and special occasion wear, such as fast fashion apparel, which are resulting in increased purchase levels among our customers for such products," Chairman and CEO Alan Guo reassured investors. "We are excited by our opportunities ahead as we continue to build a strong growth platform that we believe will result in improved operating performance and profitability in the coming quarters." But while the stock might be poised for a short-term pop, LightInTheBox's still-speculative nature continues to make it a questionable long-term opportunity.

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