Potbelly guidance ruins investors' appetite for the stock, at lowest level since market debut

MarketsAssociated Press

Potbelly's stock has tumbled to its lowest point since its market debut in October, reeling from a softer-than-expected second-quarter forecast and full-year guidance.

Late Wednesday the restaurant operator known for its toasted sandwiches said that it anticipates an adjusted profit of approximately 6 cents per share for its fiscal second quarter ended June 29. It predicts revenue of about $83.6 million.

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Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected second quarter profit of 9 cents per share on revenue of $85 million.

Potbelly is expected to report its second-quarter results on Aug. 5.

Chairman and CEO Aylwin Lewis said in a statement that the company was revising its full-year outlook "to reflect current trends within our business."

Potbelly Corp. now anticipates full-year sales at stores open at least a year to be flat to down by a low single-digit percentage rate. Its previous guidance was for the figure to rise by a low single-digit percentage rate.

Sales at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a company's health because it excludes results from locations recently opened or closed.

Potbelly foresees a 2014 adjusted profit of about 18 cents to 21 cents per share. Wall Street had been.is calling for 27 cents per share.

Shares of Potbelly plunged $3.49, or 23.8 percent, to $11.16 in Thursday morning trading. Earlier in session the stock slid to $10.95 — the lowest level since its debut on the Nasdaq nine months ago.