Why Shares of Weight Watchers International, Inc. Were Looking Great

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 Weight Watchers International  (NYSE: WTW  ) were showing off their new figure today, rising as much as 27% after a better-than-expected first-quarter earnings report.

So what: Despite falling revenue, the weight-loss specialist cut costs to deliver an adjusted per-share profit of $0.31, much better than expectations of $0.09. Sales fell 16.6% in the period to $409.4 million, but that also beat estimates of $399.2 million. As recruitment appears to be stabilizing, CEO Jim Chambers said, "We are encouraged by the progress we are making on our transformation plan, but there is still a great deal of work to do." 

Now what: Total paid weeks declined 13.7%, indicating that its customer "traffic" did not fall as much as the revenue slide may indicate. Weight Watchers is facing competition from new calorie-tracking free mobile apps, among other entrants, and the company has introduced its own app to widen its appeal. As a result of the strong quarter, management raised its full-year EPS guidance to $1.45-$1.70, ahead of estimates at $1.40. While the guidance boost is promising, I'd like to see the double-digit revenue declines disappear before jumping in.  

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