If Skechers (SKX 1.18%) investors are getting jittery these days, it's because the footwear maker is reporting quarterly results on Wednesday afternoon. Posting fresh financials may not seem like such a big deal, but after seeing its stock plunge 32% the day after posting disappointing third-quarter results in late October, it's hard to ignore Wednesday's update.
The market got spooked last time out by decelerating growth, especially at its domestic wholesale division. The shares were on their way to a monstrous 2015 until that notorious outing. Skechers stock had been trading 151% higher year-to-date before that uninspiring report, and it had even executed a 3-for-1 stock split a week the report.
Things have only gotten worse since its massive one-day dive the day after the poorly received report. Skechers stock has actually shed 40% of its value since the day it posted its results.
At first glance, the market's reaction to Skechers' last report seems extreme. Revenue and earnings from operations clocked in 27% and 29% higher, respectively, than the prior year's third quarter. Comparable-store sales -- a big deal for a company with more than 1,200 namesake retail locations -- rose a hearty 10.4%.
However, even those seemingly strong results were lower than recent growth spurts and market expectations. Year-over-year top-line growth had risen 37% during the second quarter and 40% the quarter before that.
The market's bracing for more revenue growth deceleration for the holiday quarter, but this doesn't mean Wednesday night will go badly for Skechers investors. The stock has now shed nearly half of its value -- 49%, to be exact -- since peaking this past summer. The valuation and expectations have been reset over the past six months.
Skechers remains a growing player, commanding half of the U.S. walking-footwear market and a distant but significant silver medalist when it comes to sports footwear. There's no denying that the fourth quarter will be important for Skechers. If it decelerates at a faster clip than what the market is expecting -- the thing that crushed the stock last time out -- it's not likely to play well on Wall Street.
However, it's been a long time since the shares were this cheap based on the more popular measuring sticks. Its trailing earnings multiple is down to the high teens. It is fetching just 1.5 times trailing revenue. The compelling valuation may help soften the blow if it's a ho-hum report, as long as the company is still growing with prospects for growth to continue. When you're a leading maker of footwear, walking the line is what you have to do.