Is it possible to squeeze any more air out of Sleep Number Bed maker Select Comfort
Fitful sales find the company withdrawing its guidance for both the current quarter and the year ahead, warning only that the company will come up short relative to its initial guidance.
The company points to macroeconomic factors weighing down results, but who are we kidding here? As Select Comfort has spent the past year hosing down its projections, rival Tempur-Pedic
It's a tough thing to admit, but I can accept it, and I'm both a satisfied Sleep Number Bed owner and dissatisfied shareholder.
The company is hoping that a new chief marketing officer, and a new ad campaign that will kick in next quarter, will help revive the brand that was doing so well when the Hidden Gems newsletter singled out the stock three years ago. The company has had initial success with remodeled test stores, but if that were a magic elixir, the company wouldn't be flashing amber lights now as it warns of a difficult 2008.
In a bold move, Select Comfort will increase prices on a few models next month. With year-over-year sales falling and store-level comps plummeting even more, stirring up sticker shock seems like a losing strategy.
However, the company's aiming to stabilize profits in 2008. If Select Comfort becomes a killer premium brand again, eventually it will have the pricing elasticity it covets. Sealy
Actual fourth-quarter results won't be disclosed until early February. Investors, while tossing and turning until then, know there are more than macro factors at play. Sure, the housing market is weak, but not every company that furnishes depressed homesteads is suffering.
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The world isn't that bad. Select Comfort's peers aren't seeing their shares hit fresh four-year lows. If Select thinks that macro factors are at play, it better learn not to limit its universe to the space between its four walls.
Select Comfort has been recommended toHidden Gems subscribers since the spring of 2004. Bed Bath & Beyond is a pick in both theMotley Fool Stock Advisor andInside Value newsletters. Sleep on any of the newsletters for free over the next 30 nights.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that a good night's sleep is better than a balanced breakfast to start the day off right. He does own shares in Select Comfort. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, which seeks out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a comfy disclosure policy.