One of the market's former rock stars is hoping to regain its swagger. Vipshop Holdings (NYSE: VIPS) will get a chance to do that next week when it puts up fresh financials after Wednesday's market close.
There's a lot riding on the second-quarter results. The Chinese online discounter of brand-name apparel and accessories was one of the hottest stocks on Wall Street. The shares more than doubled for three consecutive years between 2012 and 2014.
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Vipshop stock has gone on to decline in 2015 and 2016. The stock is trading 4% higher year to date, so a crummy report could pave the way for Vipshop to close lower for three years in a row.
Marking down fashion in China is still a big business, even in an online flash-sale format. Forget about the failures of similar daily-deals specialists throughout the U.S. and Europe. Analysts see revenue climbing 29%, to $2.6 billion, in the second quarter. Vipshop itself was eyeing 26% to 30% top-line growth when it initiated guidance for the financial period three months ago.
Wall Street pros are also holding out for a profit of $0.19 a share, up from $0.17 a share a year earlier. This may not seem like much of a year-over-year increase, but Vipshop has exceeded analyst profit targets by a double-digit percentage basis in three of the past four quarters. Vipshop's stock chart may not seem like the snapshot of a winner over the past couple of years, but Vipshop's finding a way to exceed expectations.
Landing ahead of the market isn't enough, of course. The stock took a hit the day after posting first-quarter results three months ago, sliding 5% on concerns that the dot-com deal maker was offering up uninspiring guidance. Worrywarts unloading the stock then may not have been paying attention, as Vipshop was also forecasting 26% to 30% revenue growth for the first quarter before ultimately checking in with a 31% uptick.
Vipshop's popularity continues to grow. It had 26 million active customers by the end of March, 32% ahead of where it was a year earlier. Investors will want to keep an eye on a few things in Wednesday's report -- namely, the actual results, Vipshop's guidance, and active customer metrics.
Bulls will also want to see if Vipshop provides any color on the niche itself. Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock in late June, worried about industrywide discounting. Vipshop has been able to grow despite rival offerings, but decelerating growth and thinning margins could be a sign that competitive pressures are starting to get to the former dot-com darling.
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