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Why Shares of Burlington Stores Inc. Slumped Today

By Timothy Green – Jun 9, 2015 at 3:23PM

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Weaker-than-expected revenue growth sent shares of Burlington tumbling, despite strong guidance for the full year.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of apparel retailer Burlington Stores (BURL -1.97%) fell on Tuesday after the company fell short of analyst estimates for revenue when it reported first-quarter earnings. After being down nearly 12% soon after the market opened on Tuesday, the stock had partially recovered by 2 p.m., down about 9% at that time.

So what: Burlington reported revenue of $1.18 billion for the quarter, up 4.9% year-over-year but about $40 million short of what analysts were expecting. Comparable-store sales rose by just 0.8%, with the rest of the company's revenue growth being driven by new stores.

Non-GAAP earnings were in line with analyst estimates, coming in at $0.41 per share, 64% higher than the first quarter of 2014. The company also announced that it would be paying all employees a minimum wage of at least $9 per hour starting July 5, with increased efficiencies expected to completely offset the additional labor expense.

Burlington expects sales to increase by 6%-7% in 2015, driven by comparable-store sales growth of 2%-3% and 25 new stores being opened. Non-GAAP EPS is expected to be between $2.15 and $2.25 for the full year.

Now what: Before the decline today, shares of Burlington had nearly doubled over the past year, so the harsh reaction to the company's earnings report may simply be a case of overheated expectations. The stock isn't cheap, trading at about 22 times the high end of the non-GAAP earnings guidance, so the company's slow comparable-store sales growth during the quarter may have unnerved investors.

Overall, Burlington's quarter looked fine, and if the company hits its guidance for the full year, the decline in the stock price today will likely be just a bump in the road.

Timothy Green has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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