Vitamin Shoppe Inc. shares fell Friday, touching their lowest level since early 2012 after a Sterne Agee analyst cut his rating for the stock to "Neutral" from "Buy," citing a recent slowdown in its website traffic and sales.
Charles Grom, who also cut his price target to $45 from $54, noted that the company's revenue at stores open at least a year have slowed considerably. He said that its 2.3 percent increase in the second quarter of this year was down from a 4.5 percent increase in the first quarter and 5.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.
He added that the company's recent revenue at stores open at least a year also falls below the company's 7 percent to 8 percent growth range of 2010 through 2012 and even below the 5 percent to 6 percent growth that it posted during the Great Recession.
"Overall, we find it hard to diagnose the true cause of the slowdown, particularly given VSI's resiliency during more strenuous times; as such, it is difficult to argue that same-store sales will rebound quickly," Grom wrote in a note to investors.
In midday trading, Vitamin Shoppe shares fell $1.90, or 4.5 percent, to $40.06 after dropping as low as $40.01. That was its lowest level since Jan. 9. 2012, according to FactSet.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Original Headline: Vitamin Shoppe shares hit new low after downgrade
Most Popular Stories
- Toxic Algae Threatens Florida Fishing, Tourism
- Eva Mendes Gives Birth to a Baby Girl
- Hispanic Groups Lead Voter Registration Drive
- Fed Signals It Will Keep Key Rate at Record Low
- Plus-Size iPhones Live Up to The Hype
- FedEx Adding 50,000 Holiday Jobs
- Stocks Rise Before Fed Statement
- Occupy Wall Street Buys Up Student Debt
- Cool Features on Today's New iOS 8
- Kohl's Hiring 67,000 for the Holidays