What: Shares of apparel retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) continued their downward slide last month, falling 14%, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. Negative momentum and a weak October same-store sales report weighed on the stock in the first half of November, as the chart below shows.
So what: Shares began to slide after the company reported a decline in October same-store sales of 8.1% and an overall revenue drop of 5.4% on November 4, which was the company's seventh straight month of negative same-store sales. That prompted an 8% drop in the share price over the next three sessions. The retailer has been troubled over the year -- the company may be a victim of its own overexpansion, as well the general malaise in the apparel sector. Recent problems have included a poor response to its merchandise selection, prompting rampant discounting, which has led to same-store sales plummeting.
Following the downbeat same-store sales report, the stock bounced up and down through the second half of the month, but finished near its monthly low in anticipation of the company's third-quarter earnings report.
Now what: Zumiez shares began to bounce back following that earnings release on December 4 -- the stock moved up 5% in that session, though it had been down sharply earlier that day. The retailer's per-share profit of $0.36 beat estimates of $0.29, while revenue was slightly ahead of pace as well. Comparable sales for the quarter were down 7.3%, and the company's guidance for the key holiday quarter was lower than expected as management sees a profit of just $0.40-$0.46 per share compared to expectations of $0.63.
CEO Rick Brooks said the company "moved quickly to reduce expenses to protect profitability in the face of challenging sales," and said the fourth quarter was off to a "slow start." Based on the stock's post-earnings surge, the market seems to think Zumiez is starting to turn a corner, but I wouldn't jump in until comps start to turn positive.