Yesterday's quarterly report from The Knot
So, what's so special about The Knot? You won't find the key to my admiration by simply skimming its fourth-quarter earnings report. Net revenue for all of 2004 rose by a mere 13% to hit $41.4 million, while earnings of $0.06 per share were flat with last year's showing.
But there's more to the numbers than that. Online advertising revenue was up by 41%, and you can just imagine the sponsors eagerly vying for the attention of the brides-to-be who think that no expense should be spared for their special day. In addition, The Knot's growing publishing business was up a respectable 23% in 2004.
The one line item that dragged results down was a 16% dip in the sale of wedding supplies. But time is kind on that front. I love opportunities like this, where you see sluggish segments sandbagging the real growth elsewhere. In fact, revenues were up by 24% in the December quarter, as both online advertising and publishing now account for the two thickest slices of the company's revenue pie.
Yet that's not enough to put me on bended knee. When I'm out looking for Rule Breakers, I like to find companies with misunderstood growth as well as catalysts for even heartier growth. That's what turned me on to Steiner Leisure
My one gripe with the company, which I wrote about last year in my "5 Dot-Com Bargains" article, had been that the company's grip on the fiancee was fleeting. Like a baby wipe, TheKnot.com's signature site is indispensable at the time of need and then quickly discarded.
The past few months have changed that temporary-tattoo assumption. In November, the company launched TheNest.com to help guide newlyweds through various issues once the "Just Married" paint washes away. And last month, it acquired the paired dating sites of GreatBoyfriends.com and GreatGirlfriends.com.
See? The company is stretching its usefulness by attracting people before they begin the courting process and then continuing well into the daily grind of making a marriage work. Yes, dating sites are competitive. TheKnot.com has worthy competition in Yahoo!
Yet with advertising now making up nearly half of the company's business, it makes perfect sense for The Knot to do anything possible to hold on to its customers for as long as possible, while finding ways to bring in new "Knotties" (as the company calls its regulars) into the fold. It's a good plan. I think I just felt my heart skip a beat.
Here are some things to do on your next hot date:
- Read Robert Brokamp's classic commentary, "My Big Fat Cheap Wedding."
- Check out some of the other Rule Breaker stock picks.
- Share plans for that big day in the Wedding Chapel discussion board.
Rick has been married only once -- and once should be enough for him. He recommends The Motley Fool's Guide to Couples and Cash as required relationship reading, and he does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.