What happened

Shares of Francesca's Holdings Corp. (FRAN) were down 14% as of 1:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday after the women's clothing retailer announced disappointing fiscal first-quarter 2017 results.

So what

Quarterly revenue climbed 1.5% year over year to $107.7 million, as contributions from 42 new stores more than offset a 5% comparable-sales decline. On the bottom line, net income slid to $4.3 million, or $0.12 per share, down from $7.1 million, or $0.18 per share in the same year-ago period. Analysts, on average, were expecting higher earnings of $0.14 per share on revenue of $113.2 million.

Francesca's merchandise


"We were disappointed in our comparable sales performance, which was impacted by lower than expected boutique traffic and conversion rate," explained Francesca's CEO Steve Lawrence. "February and March sales were soft, primarily as a result of the later Easter, driving weaker than anticipated sales in full-price product."

To be fair, Lawrence also noted that earnings per share still managed to fall at the lower end of his company's guidance range thanks to strong merchandise margins and cost management. Sales trends have also shown improvement since April.

Now what

For the current quarter, Francesca's expects revenue of $120 million to $124 million, assuming a change in comparable sales in the range of negative 3% to positive 1%. That should translate to earnings per share of $0.13 to $0.18. Here again, however, Wall Street was modeling significantly higher earnings of $0.28 per share on revenue of $126.2 million.

Finally, Francesca's now expects full fiscal-year 2017 revenue in the range of $518 million to $537 million (down from previous guidance for $527 million to $543 million) and earnings per share of $1.07 to $1.17 (down from $1.11 to $1.21 previously).

In the end, this was another unfortunate contrast to Francesca's reasonably strong start to the year, when it appeared the company would be spared from today's difficult retail environment. Given Francesca's top- and bottom-line shortfalls and subsequent guidance reduction, it's hard to blame investors for taking a step back today.