I can't believe it, but I'm out of goose jokes. Maybe I'll just have to give you the straight poop about Gander Mountain
No? Not a giggle? Ever look at the local football field after the geese have come through? Never mind, then. That line was accidental anyway. Let's get to the numbers.
As you may remember, there was quite an avalanche at outdoor sporting goods retailer Gander Mountain last fall, when the company slashed its forward guidance by 50%. Bad weather and other factors, it claimed, were to blame for a significant change in the forecast.
Well, we've got several months' perspective on the slow sliding stock, so how do today's Q4 and full-year results measure up? Well, back then management was looking for $8 million to $13 million in "pre-tax" income. As I look at today's results, the last income line before taxes reads $715,000. Ouch. Wait, it hurts even more once the company shells out preferred dividends. At that point, Joe Oddlot ends up with a $0.30 per share loss. Sort of.
The preferred stock was converted after the IPO, so if you like your earnings pro forma, you might think you got $0.11 per share. If you like them pro forma and not including the lease adjustment charge, they might even be a little better than that.
But if you get excited by these results, I say you're kidding yourself. This company is growing the new-fashioned way, by building poorly performing stores on someone else's dime. Let's be more clear: Sales increases of 30% don't impress me when comps are down 5%. In the meantime, inventories grew more quickly than sales, debts fattened up nicely, and the company plans to open 18 to 20 more stores next year. One-time blips? It doesn't sound like it. In the conference call, management discusses problems with cannibalization and competition. This early in the growth phase and it's already running into that kind of trouble? Who would have thought it?
Just about anyone with open eyes.
There's no shortage of competition in this sector, between local feed, seed, 'n' overalls stores -- where we used to pick up our gunning goods -- to established chains like Dick's Sporting Goods
If speculative retail growers in crowded markets are your game, you might like these shares. If you like to see growth fueled by cash from operations, stick a fork in this bird. It's cooked.
For related Foolishness:
- See why Gander got goosed in May.
- Check out other players in the sporting goods game.
- Check in with Cabela's following its hot IPO.
Seth Jayson has enjoyed shopping at Gander Mountain, but he shops for stocks a bit differently. He has no position in any firm mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here .