What happened

Shares of Stage Stores (NYSE:SSI) plunged a brutal 57% on Monday, following the release of its holiday sales figures.

So what

Stage Stores' comparable-store sales rose only 1.4% during the holiday period, which was well below management's forecast. The company, in turn, was forced to lower its guidance for full-year comp growth to 4%-4.5%, down from a prior estimate of 7% to 9%. 

"While our positive comparable sales for the holidays did not meet expectations, we remain confident that our off-price strategy will lead to profitable growth in the future," CEO Michael Glazer said in a press release. 

Investors, apparently, are less confident that Stage Stores can successfully convert its remaining department stores to a new off-price format.

A downwardly sloping line chart

Stage Stores' stock plummeted more than 50% on Monday. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Due to its weaker-than-expected sales, Stage Stores was forced to offer heavy discounts to clear out excess inventory. As such, management now expects as much as $30 million in additional losses. That would place the company's 2019 full-year net loss at approximately $95 million. 

On a more positive note, despite today's gruesome decline, Stage Stores' stock is still up more than 200% over the past year, following the retailer's spectacular gains in 2019.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.