When it rains, it pours.Vipshop Holdings(NYSE: VIPS)probably didn't think twice when it announced a date for its quarterly earnings report earlier this week. The Chinese online discounter of brand-name apparel and accessories issued a press release, pointing out that it will release fresh financials after the Feb. 20 market close.
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The problem, of course, is that you can't close something that isn't going to open. The New York Stock Exchange, where Vipshop is listed, is closed on Monday in observance of Washington's Birthday.
In any event, the scheduled conference call to discuss its latest financials with analysts is scheduled for Tuesday morning, when traders will report back to work.
However, after rattling off an amazing run where the stock more than doubled for three consecutive years, Vipshop is feeling painfully mortal these days. The same stock that more than doubled in 2012, 2013, and 2014 -- culminating in a 10-for-1 split with its stock price well entrenched in the triple digits -- has fallen in back-to-back years. Vipshop is trading higher in 2017, making it all much more important that it impresses the market with its quarterly results -- whenever they're disseminated to the public.
Image source: Vipshop Holdings.
Adjusting to the new normal
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Vipshop is still growing. The problem is that the former dot-com darling isn't growing as quickly as it did in its prime. The 38% in year-over-year growth it posted for the third quarter was its weakest top-line showing as a public company. Vipshop has seen its year-over-year growth rate decline in seven of the past nine quarters, and it should be more of the same on Monday.
Vipshop's own guidance is calling for net revenue to grow at a 30% to 33% clip for the period, and that's essentially where Wall Street pros are resting as we head into the e-commerce enabler's fourth-quarter numbers. Analysts are also holding out for a profit of $0.21 a share, ahead of the $0.17 it posted a year earlier. There's comfort in knowing that Vipshop has consistently topped Wall Street's profit targets, but the market's wondering when decelerating sales growth will start to stabilize.
Analysts aren't as convinced of Vipshop's story now that it can't dazzle them with triple-digit sales and stock price gains. The only major Wall Street pro to chime in last month was Bhavtosh Vajpayee at Bernstein, initiating coverage of the stock with an "underperform" rating and a $10 price target.
Cheap is what discounters are all about
Vipshop's star may have faded on Wall Street, but there's something to be said about a company that's growing faster than its earnings multiple. Vipshop is trading at a reasonable 18 times what it likely earned in 2016 and less than 15 times what analysts see it earning in 2017.
Vipshop's customer base continues to grow, standing at 46 million customers over the past year. It made an acquisition that should help it fortify its big-data analysis last year, and it's drawing audiences with its content-driven marketing strategy spearheaded by shopping guides and live broadcasting channels.
There's something to be said about trying to be more aware of market holidays when you're trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but this former growth stock is now cleaning up nicely as a value stock in 2017.
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