Expectations were muted going into Stitch Fix's (NASDAQ: SFIX) second-quarter earnings report. The company had provided two successive quarterly forecasts that weren't what Wall Street was expecting, sending shares plummeting after the company's fiscal fourth-quarter and first-quarter results. It turns out that investor fears about the company's growth weren't justified.
Investors cheered on Tuesday in the wake of Stitch Fix's better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings release. The stock soared more than 25%, hitting its highest point since October. Here are three reasons investors are celebrating.
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1. The classic beat and raise
Investors like nothing more than results that not only exceed expectations, but cause the company to raise its full-year guidance. That's exactly what Stitch Fix delivered after two quarterly reports that left shareholders wanting more.
For the fiscal second quarter, Stitch Fix reported net revenue of $370.3 million, up 25% year over year, and the sixth consecutive quarter of at least 20% growth. This easily surpassed the high end of the company's forecasted revenue range of $360 million to $368 million, as well as analysts' consensus estimates of $364.8 million. Profitability was also better than anticipated. Adjusted net income of $12 million generated diluted earnings per share of $0.12, climbing past expectations of $0.05.
These robust results gave management the confidence to raise the company's full-year guidance. Stitch Fix is now forecasting net revenue in a range of $1.53 billion to $1.56 billion, up 26% year over year at the midpoint of its guidance -- up from the 23% growth the company forecast just last quarter.
2. User growth was robust
One of the biggest factors in the rout that occurred after Stitch Fix's fiscal first-quarter earnings were fears over slowing customer growth. The company had said that active user growth for the second quarter would be relatively flat sequentially, fanning the flames of concern that the company might have a user growth problem.
Stitch Fix put those fears to rest by reporting an active client count of 3 million to end the quarter, an increase of 453,000, up 18% year over year. This was actually 10% higher than the 2.9 million Stitch Fix reported last quarter -- and easily better than the company's calls for relatively flat sequential growth.
3. Short-sellers were sent scrambling
After two successive quarters of unsatisfactory results that sent the stock tumbling, a number of investors were betting that Stitch Fix would deliver a trifecta of disappointment. Short-sellers -- those who profit from a falling stock price -- had piled on Stitch Fix in recent months, betting the company would make it three-for-three. About one-third of the company's shares were sold short when Stitch Fix reported its earnings, setting up the stock price for a big move.
Those shorting the stock borrow shares from their broker, hoping the price will fall. They hope to sell the borrowed shares back at lower prices, pocketing the difference. As a result, when the company reported better-than-expected results, short-sellers were forced to buy back the borrowed shares as the price was rising, and strong demand caused the stock price to climb even further, in a phenomenon known as a short squeeze.
Each of these factors helped propel Stitch Fix's shares higher in the wake of its earnings report, though it's still considerably lower than the highs reached last September. Stitch Fix only went public in September 2017, so it still has a relatively short track record, and with a market cap of just $3 billion, Stitch Fix will remain a volatile stock.
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