What happened

Shares of specialty retailer At Home Group (NYSE:HOME) are down more than 20% today after the company released preliminary third-quarter earnings results. Expected net sales growth of 47% compared to the year-ago period apparently wasn't enough. 

But the reaction isn't new for shareholders of the home decor retailer. Shares have been on a see-saw ride since the company released preliminary second-quarter results on July 29, then actual second-quarter results on Sept. 1, and through today. 

HOME Chart

HOME data by YCharts

So what

Today's news release said comparable-store sales are expected to be up approximately 44% for the third quarter ended Oct. 24, 2020. At Home chairman and CEO Lee Bird called the comp sales number "a new high watermark for our business," even coming after a record second quarter. 

coastal bedroom decor

Image source: Getty Images.

Bird also noted that a newly announced partnership with delivery company Postmates will expand its delivery platform in time for the upcoming holiday season.

Now what

At Home said it continues to grow its Insider Perks membership program. It grew members 42% year-over-year in the third quarter, following its second quarter where membership grew 44%. The growth has brought it up to 8.3 million members.

So with all that seemingly good news, why the stock reaction? Investors can likely chalk it up to past performance. Even with today's drop, the stock has tripled since the start of 2020. And after shares have climbed back up from the sell-off following strong second-quarter results, investors are selling what they consider the news in this preliminary report.

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.