You're going to be hearing a lot of bellyaching companies point to the sky in coming weeks. With a ridiculous number of hurricanes making landfall stateside this year, it's probably going to be hard to separate the truly inflicted from those leaning on the perfect scapegoat. So until it's proven otherwise, let's give Books-A-Million
Thirty-five of the bookseller's 203 stores have suffered temporary closures -- some for as long as a week -- as Charley, Frances, and Ivan paid painful visits to the retailer's Southeastern stronghold. The company is insured for business interruptions, and it is now looking for earnings to come in between $0.55 and $0.57 a share this year -- two pennies shy of its original forecast.
Living in Florida and having been fortunately spared the worst of all three storms, I can still sympathize with the situation. I rode out Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and during the chaos, destruction, and power outages, I don't think anyone was in much of a mood to shop. However, books became a welcome source of escape and entertainment during those humid candlelit nights.
I don't mean to imply that these vicious storms will ultimately reward Books-A-Million. And while there were also rivals such as Barnes & Noble
Yet it's not as though the powerless could dial up Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Amazon
And even though Books-A-Million has seen its shares nearly double over the past year, that doesn't mean that the stock is vulnerable or overpriced. The company is trading at just 15 times its new bottom-line targets. It should be noted that even the lower guidance is still higher than the $0.50 a share that the company figured it would earn when the fiscal year began and spells out 30% in earnings growth.
So let the winds blow as they may. Bookmarkers will help save the pages that lead to the happy ending.
What are the words for when no one listens anymore? When's the last time you read a good book by a flame that wasn't part of a book burning? Is book reading becoming a lost art? All this and more in the Words, Words, Words discussion board.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz married an English teacher because she has a way with words. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.