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Why Overstock Shares Sank 40% in March

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Apr 6, 2018 at 12:35PM

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Investors weren't happy to hear a warning from the e-commerce giant that net losses were in store for at least the coming year.

What happened

E-commerce specialist Overstock (OSTK -3.19%) badly trailed the market last month, plunging 40% compared to a 3% decrease in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts.

That slump still left shares up by more than 100% over the last 52 weeks.

So what

March's decline followed a fourth-quarter earnings report that wasn't well-received by investors. Revenue fell 13% over the critical holiday shopping period, Overstock revealed, which led to a slight decrease for the full fiscal year. Marketing expenses continued to climb, though, which pushed contribution margin, a measure of profitability, down to 7% of sales from 10% a year ago.

A man enters his credit card information into a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

In response to the poor market share trends, Overstock executives said the company is shifting strategies to aim for high growth at the expense of growing losses. The move should allow the business to recapture ground lost to competitors like Wayfair, if you believe the management team. "We have already turned on the jets," CEO Patrick Byrne said in a press release, "and will demonstrate this year that our growth engine is far more efficient" than Wayfair's.

Given the mounting losses that could be in store in 2018, and the uncertain impact on sales growth, it's no surprise that investors are taking a more cautious view of Overstock.

Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends W. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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