Now that office supply retailer OfficeMax
Overall, sales growth during the company's first quarter was incredibly mediocre, and while OfficeMax reported positive earnings versus a loss in last year's first quarter, the $0.76 bottom-line figure was almost 20% below what analysts were expecting. Our recent Fool by Numbers will walk you through more of the specifics of last Thursday's earnings release.
Such a significant miss usually spells certain ruin for a company's share price. OfficeMax proved no exception after the earnings release: its stock traded near $50 just a couple of days ago, but can now be had for just under $43. So, does the 14% haircut spell opportunity for contrarian-minded Fools?
In terms of a forward P/E ratio, OfficeMax is trading at about 17 times expectations for fiscal 2007. That's lower than when fellow Fool David Lee Smith weighed in with his take on last year's results, but higher than Office Depot
OfficeMax also has much higher debt than its two pure-play rivals and is difficult to check out from a historical perspective since erstwhile paper and forest product firm Boise Cascade bought out OfficeMax in 2003 and jettisoned its timberland and other assets to become a pure play office retailer.
Trying to predict OfficeMax's near-term results has also become more challenging due to the significant earnings miss. I mean, does management really have a handle on turnaround efforts, given the magnitude of the miss and the fact that cash flow generation was negative?
The lower stock price definitely helps offset some of those concerns, but Office Depot and Staples could be in a stronger position due to the metrics I mentioned above. Plus, all office retailers must compete with other savvy retailers who also sell office supplies, be it Walgreen
The dust may have settled for the time being, but in my mind OfficeMax's outlook remains too murky and the industry too cutthroat to warrant investment consideration at the current share price.
For related Foolishness:
- Warren Buffett's Priceless Investment Advice
- OfficeMax Shreds the Quarter: Fool by Numbers
- 70 Times Better Than the Next Microsoft
Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Walgreen but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned.