Whoa, dude! Volcom
Volcom, which makes clothing for skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing enthusiasts, did well on many fronts in its second quarter. Its net income increased 41% to $6.5 million, or $0.27 per share, while revenues rose 28% to $46.1 million. Today's stock wipeout wasn't about a miss, either -- Volcom exceeded analysts' earnings expectations by $0.03 a share.
There are some sticking points, though. Margins were under pressure, with gross profit at 49.8% versus 52.1% in the second quarter last year. Accounts payable just about doubled over the past six months. Last but not least, Volcom gave lower guidance for the third quarter, although it stuck with its guidance for the entire year.
Volcom happens to be a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection, and I must give kudos to burro100, who posted great coverage and analysis of the conference call on Hidden Gems' Volcom discussion board. He pointed out that Volcom's distribution agreement with Pacific Sunwear
Of course, if Pacific Sunwear's got problems, that's not reason to worry about Volcom's brand itself. I've been keeping an eye on Volcom's buzz; I recently wondered if Nikemight get thrashed by small companies with the independent, anarchic air that Volcom fights hard to foster. I'm especially intrigued by how important next-generation, guerrilla-style marketing is to Volcom's business.
Volcom doesn't just market clothing -- it's selling a lifestyle, and it does so more aggressively than most old-school "lifestyle brands" could hope for. A visit to Volcom's website illustrates how close it is to its customers. Volcom sponsors athletes, runs tons of board-sports competitions, takes part in Volcom-branded concerts, makes board-sports-related films, and even has a Volcom music label. You might even feel hard-pressed to figure out exactly what it's selling, seeing how its website is more about the kids and the sports than the merchandise. In fact, in an interesting anecdotal aside, I ran across an article the other day that mentioned a teen with a tattoo of the Volcom brand symbol. That's some crazy loyalty. (Could it be a Harley-Davidson
Guerrilla marketing is prevalent in this arena. Just this week, a friend of mine in Santa Cruz, Calif., encountered "The Rover" -- a snowboarder who roams around the country, hits skate parks, slopes, and beaches, makes friends, and blogs about his adventures. (In case you were wondering, his newfound pals can also befriend him in News Corp.'s
At any rate, Volcom's short term might be tough, but I don't see a real threat to its competitive advantage, brand, or long-term outlook. Of course, investors will want to see improvment from Pacific Sunwear, or additional deals between Volcom and other retailers. Volcom, known for its impressive growth, is arguably looking kind of cheap, at a new 52-week low and trading at a P/E of a mere 18. In this company's case, perhaps investors are a lot like parents -- they just don't understand.
Zumiez is also a Hidden Gems recommendation, while PacSun got singled out by Stock Advisor . Get hip to the latest and greatest investing opportunities with a free 30-day trial to any of our Foolish newsletters.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.