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What: Shares of fashion expert The Jones Group
So what: It's earnings season and that means companies have to fess up when things haven't been going as well as they had hoped. In Jones Group's case, the fourth-quarter results were bad enough that the company decided to preannounce the numbers. Adjusted earnings per share -- which excludes impairment and restructuring charges -- came in at $0.02 against $0.11 in the fourth quarter of last year and Wall Street expectations of $0.11. That's a style that just doesn't look good on anybody.
Now what: The company blamed the shortfall on squeezed margins in the quarter stemming from a "retail environment [that] was more promotional than anticipated." If Jones Group isn't careful, disappointing investors could become a trend. The company is hoping that price increases and "disciplined execution" can help turn the tide a bit in the coming year and allow it to report better margins in 2011.
If we want to look at the bright side here, full-year 2010 adjusted earnings are still expected to be more than 30% above 2009's results, and the stock's current price-to-earnings ratio of 8.2 makes it look pretty cheap.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his Motley Fool CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.