Delivering is what Provide Commerce
The showing nullifies -- obliterates, even -- the company's April warning, in which it guided investors to expect profits to come in at between $0.52 and $0.54 for the year as a whole. It had originally expected earnings to clock in at $0.62 a share for the year ending in June. In retrospect, the company should have actually revised its targets higher -- not lower -- in the spring, since the healthy June quarter ended with the company producing net income of $0.65 a share in fiscal '05.
What's impressive here is that fourth-quarter sales grew by 28% despite having Easter Sunday (a huge day in floriculture) fall during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 but a quarter earlier this time around.
The future? For the most part -- pun alert -- the outlook is rosy. Provide Commerce is pegging net sales to come in at between $216 million and $224 million this year. That represents top-line growth of at least 22%. Unfortunately, the bottom line isn't going to keep up. Provide expects earnings in the new fiscal year to chime in between $0.63 and $0.71 a share.
Earnings growth sharpens if you back out the young company's stock-compensation expenses. That line item of overhead is expected to grow to $5.5 million this year from $3 million in the recently concluded fiscal year. Backing out those sums and applying the appropriate tax rates, Provide's pro forma profitability is expected to grow from $0.81 a share this past year to between $0.93 and $1.02 in fiscal 2006.
Either way, net margins are contracting somewhat, and that's the one dud of a bud with the company's outlook. As it capitalizes on its grower-direct business for fresh floral deliveries by porting the model to upstart projects such as fine meats and fruit baskets, the company's earnings growth will feel some hiccups along the way.
Its flagship flower business will be the driver for a long time. There the company is competing against slower-growing behemoths including 1-800-Flowers
Provide has gained dot-com street cred by partnering with the likes of Amazon.com
It was that dynamic growth in an otherwise sleepy industry that piqued my interest earlier this year. I recommended the stock in the April issue of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter. We continue to track the company actively, through regular editorial updates and perpetually on our discussion boards, where every subscriber is invited to share his or her thoughts and contribute to the vibrant-growth stock-picking community.
It's a great way to stay abreast of Provide Commerce -- and the 23 other past newsletter recommendations. Yes, that bouquet of growth stocks is now two dozen strong. Some have had their thorns, but the average pick has tripled the stock market's return. How's that for a blooming performance?
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a satisfied Provide Commerce customer in the past, 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.