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Why Mattress Firm Holding Corp. Stock Plunged Today

By Steve Symington - Mar 22, 2016 at 2:44PM

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The mattress retailer dropped after releasing disappointing earnings and revealing a new CEO. But its long-term story still holds.

IMAGE SOURCES: Mattress Firm Holding Corp.

What: Shares of Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: MFRM) fell as much as 15.3% early Monday after the company released weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and a new CEO.

So what: Quarterly revenue climbed 3.4% year over year, to $618.6 million, helped by new locations and comparable-store sales growth of 0.7%. Based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), that translated to earnings per share of $0.37. On an adjusted (non-GAAP) basis, which excludes items like acquisition, asset impairment, and severance costs, earnings per share climbed 29% year over year, to $0.53. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization came in at $255 million.

Analysts, on average, were more optimistic on both the top and bottom lines, with consensus estimates predicting revenue of $623.2 million, and adjusted earnings of $0.56 per share.

Nonetheless, Mattress Firm CEO Steve Stagner insisted the company is "pleased" with its performance, which included a 90 basis expansion in adjusted EBITDA margin, and the company's 10th straight quarter of comparable-store sales growth.

"Our Chicago business has turned market-level EBITDA positive," Stagner elaborated, "and our streamlined organizational structure is generating significant leverage. With the recently completed Sleepy's acquisition, we believe we are well positioned to realize meaningful synergies and leverage the benefits of national scale, driving continued growth, opportunities, and profitability over time."

That said, Mattress Firm also announced Stagner will assume the role of executive chairman of the company, and chairman of the board, effective immediately. Stagner will be replaced as CEO by Ken Murphy, who joined Mattress Firm in 1998 and most recently served as president of the company. Murphy also spearheaded the company's current strategic framework, employee focused programs, and community-centric activities designed to resonate with customers on a local level. This transition, according to the company, is "part of a long-term succession plan for the organization and will allow for better division of responsibilities for the two executives."

Now what: In the meantime, Mattress Firm anticipates reporting a GAAP loss per share of $0.32 to $0.25 in the current quarter, primarily due to dilution related to financing the Sleepy's acquisition and the fact Sleepy's should continue operated at roughly breakeven at the adjusted EBITDA level. On an adjusted basis in the first quarter, Mattress Firm expects to be between breakeven and a loss of $0.07 per share -- well below analysts' expectations for adjusted earnings of $0.43 per share.

In the second and third quarters, however, Mattress Firm expects "meaningful" year-over-year growth in adjusted earnings, as Sleepy's is strongest in these quarters and given the realization of synergies and other strategic initiatives as the year progresses. As such, Mattress Firm anticipates full-year revenue of $3.95 billion to $4 billion, comparable-sales growth of 4% to 5.5%, adjusted EBITDA of $365 million to $370 million, GAAP EPS of $2 to $2.05, and adjusted earnings per share of $2.50 to $2.60. By comparison, analysts' consensus estimates called for lower full-year revenue of $3 billion, and higher earnings of $2.85 per share.

In the end, it's no surprise the market is bidding Mattress Firm down on Tuesday given its quarterly miss, expected near-term losses, and uncertainty created by the CEO transition. However, I still think the company's long-term thesis remains intact. For shareholders willing to patiently hold as Mattress Firm realizes the fruits of its big acquisition and strategic initiatives, this might well be as solid a buying opportunity as anyone can realistically hope. 

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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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