Monday was relatively calm on Wall Street, with no big news emerging to give stocks clear direction. With little to inspire the markets, the major benchmarks stayed close to where they started the session. The biggest news of the day seemed to be the total solar eclipse capturing the public's imagination as it moved its way across the country. In the absence of market-moving news, it was individual companies that made headlines of their own. Ulta Beauty, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA), Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL), and Francesca's Holdings Corporation (OTC:FRAN) were among the worst performers of the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.
Does Ulta need a makeover?
Shares of Ulta were down 4% today, as the stock was downgraded by several analysts. Stifel Nicolaus cited concerns over slower growth of the beauty industry in the U.S., and lowered its price target on the company to $270 from $325. This was more of a short-term call, as Stifel expressed optimism over the longer term and pointed to Ulta's position as a specialty retailer as a positive, while also pointing out its loyalty program, credit card, and targeted promotions as overall strengths. OTR Global also downgraded the stock, expressing concerns about the growing dominance of online retail. These moves come in advance of Ulta's second-quarter financial report, which is scheduled after market close on Aug. 24.
Foot Locker turns an ankle
Foot Locker shares fell more than 7%, continuing the carnage that began last Friday when the stock fell 26%. The footwear retailer announced revenue that fell 4.4% year over year and comparable-store sales that declined 6%. The disappointing results were followed by a spate of analyst downgrades, as competition from e-commerce put pressure on the footwear retailer. Direct-to-consumer selling by some of Foot Locker's biggest suppliers is becoming more of a concern, as changing behaviors lead consumers to make purchases online and forgo the trip to the athletic retail store. The company blamed some of the pain on its suppliers, citing "limited availability of innovative new products in the market." Investor concerns have led to the stock falling 55% so far this year.
Francesca's is out of fashion
Women's boutique retailer Francesca's saw its share price fall by 16%, before settling down 12% after being hit with a double whammy. The company announced the departure of its chief merchandising officer (CMO), as well as revealing uninspiring preliminary results for the just-completed quarter. Laurie Hummel, the company's executive vice president and CMO, has left the company after less than two years, and Francesca's gave no reason for her exodus, only saying that the company had already begun a search for a replacement. On the financial front, comparable-store sales decreased 3%, and the company said it expects earnings per share of $0.20, slightly higher than the $0.16 investors expected. Having a C-suite executive leave so soon after joining the company is likely weighing on investors' minds, leaving them to wonder what caused the split.