Why Chefs' Warehouse's Shares Plunged
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of specialty food distributor Chefs' Warehouse (NAS: CHEF) were getting deep-fried today, falling as much as 23% in intraday trading after the company reported first-quarter results.
So what: Chefs' first-quarter numbers were a case of "good, but not quite good enough." Revenue for the quarter increased 18% to $98 million while adjusted earnings per share grew 8% from a year ago to $0.13. Wall Street analysts had been looking for EPS of $0.16 on revenue of $99 million, so investors were hit with a classic double miss.
Now what: Of course it's bad enough when current-quarter numbers don't measure up, but investors tend to get really heartbroken when guidance is lighter than expected. For the full year, management provided guidance that, at the midpoint, would have the company earning $0.93 in adjusted EPS on $457 million in revenue. While the sales tally is roughly in line with analysts' estimates, the EPS forecast is about $0.02 light.
With Chefs' Warehouse shares trading -- post today's drop -- at nearly 21 times management's expected 2012 earnings, investors are paying a relatively handsome price for shares. While the company is certainly growing, investors are obviously chewing on the math today to figure out whether it will grow enough to justify the stock's valuation.
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