It was nice knowing you, Vitacost.com
The online retailer of wellness and beauty care products hit nearly every sour note that a company can hit in a quarterly report.
- Vitacost posted a loss of $0.02 a share, when analysts were banking on a modest profit.
- Net sales did climb 14% higher, but the pros were expecting a 21% advance.
- Vitacost's proprietary brands -- which carry the juiciest markups -- managed a mere 5% top-line growth spurt.
- Every expense line item grew significantly faster than sales, with the overall 75% surge in operating costs crushing margins.
- The e-tailer is suspending guidance, given deteriorating conditions.
- CEO Ira Kerker is out. Former Vitamin Shoppe
(NYSE: VSI)CEO Jeffrey Horowitz is stepping in on an interim basis.
- Oppenheimer & Co. will no longer be exploring strategic alternatives for the company.
In short, it's a flop of a quarter.
Things aren't going to get better anytime soon. Vitacost explained that fundamentals deteriorated during the latter half of the quarter, as cutthroat pricing by competitors forced it into discounts and subsidizing free shipping costs.
Yes, it's just that ugly at Vitacost, and the stock is understandably trading for far less than the $12 price that it went public with less than a year ago.
You should have seen this coming.
I singled out the rudderless e-tailer in my Throw This Stock Away column four months ago.
To be fair, two of the three portfolio replacements that I suggested at the time have also tanked over the past few months. My recommendations of Drugstore.com
I had singled out the restaurant reservation specialist as a rival 2009 IPO that had lived up to the hype, blowing past Wall Street's profit target in each and every quarter as a public company. Vitacost clearly has let its original public investors down, naturally leading one to wonder if going public was simply an exit strategy.
It takes a long time for a busted IPO to win back investor confidence. Do yourself a favor and write off Vitacost until it actually delivers several quarters of better-than-expected results. Who knows how many CEOs it will have gone through at that point -- but that's not your problem anymore, is it?
Have you bought into any recent IPOs? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.