These are the days that wilt one's floral arrangements. Online florist Provide Commerce
The company, which earned a recommendation in our Rule Breakers newsletter service as a heady growth stock with an industry-altering consumer-direct model, was tripped up despite reporting a 40% uptick in March-quarter revenues to go with a 59% spurt in pro forma profitability.
While the company nailed its top-line target by producing $57.2 million in sales during the period, it reported a profit of only $0.25 a share -- a penny or two shy of its January guidance. What's worse is that the current quarter is shaping up to be even more of a letdown: Provide Commerce is looking to earn between only $0.52 and $0.54 a share in its fiscal year ending in June. Earlier this year, the company was looking for profits to come in as high as $0.62 a share.
Despite the good fortune of having the flower-friendly Easter holiday fall during the month of March this time around, the floriculture sector didn't do so hot. 1-800-Flowers
Then again, the quarter wasn't a complete wash for the florists, given that all three grew their online business by better than 20% -- with Provide Commerce's flagship ProFlowers.com site leading the way.
That doesn't mean that Provide Commerce can come off clean here. Not living up to your guidance, usually a conservative earnings projection by most companies, is bad no matter how you coat it. However, the company's growth was still significant during the period, and its model -- in which growers ship directly to the consumer, saving the buyer money with fewer layers of merchandise handling -- is sound and clearly winning over a bigger audience.
It just hurts when you can't clear your own hurdles. Perhaps the company should send itself some flowers.
A rose headline by any other name still has its thorns:
- Rival 1-800-Flowers had already some fretting the March quarter with its poor showing last week.
- Check out a recent interview about the state of floriculture with the CEO of 1-800-Flowers.
- Think that some ultimate growth stories have better stories to tell than Provide Commerce does? Then come and see what else the Rule Breakers team is unearthing these days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Provide Commerce customer recently, but he does not own shares in 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.
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