Typically, when a company reports disappointing results and the stock trades near its 52-week low, management takes a low-key or apologetic stance. But consumer-goods company Chattem
Revenue was up 5% as reported; it would have risen by about 8% if you were to exclude a divested-product line. Gross margins were weaker, down nearly four full percentage points. That, coupled with a nearly 20% boost in promotional spending, led to a 16% drop in adjusted operating income and, as you can imagine, a decline in the operating margin as well.
There are a lot of ways to pick at the results, and I'd encourage investors to read the release themselves, since I won't touch on all of the details. But for one thing, the new Icy Hot Pro-Therapy product appears to be sluggish out of the gate. The company referenced the need to lower the cost of the brace products, but it also said it isn't willing to lose money building up this product next year.
Outside the company's own efforts, the picture is a bit mixed. While a lot of folks are apparently worried about sell-through at Wal-Mart
When I last looked at Chattem, I came away thinking that I liked the business but would rather wait for a better price. Lo and behold, the stock's down about 20% from that point. If you have the faith that this is just a pocket of turbulence, this is one that is worth some consideration. Nevertheless, it's likely not a stock for the faint of heart -- the debt load here is such that there will be an added element of risk that may be off-putting to some Foolish investors.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson owns shares of Johnson & Johnson but has no financial interest in any other stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.