Chewy shares leap 13% after surprise swing to quarterly profit

Chewy Taco Cat Halloween Costume
  • Chewy shares climbed by 13% Wednesday following the fourth-quarter results from the pet-products seller.
  • The company swung to a profit of $US0.05 ($0) a share, surprising analysts who had expected a loss of $US0.10 ($0) a share.
  • Chewy’s first-quarter sales forecast of $US2.11 ($3) billion to $US2.13 ($3) billion was above Wall Street’s target.
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Shares of Chewy jumped Wednesday after the online pet-products retailer unexpectedly swung to a fourth-quarter profit, bolstered by millions of more people last year who took on duties of caring for animals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company late Tuesday posted fourth-quarter earnings of $US0.05 ($0) a share, compared with expectations for a loss of $US0.10 ($0) a share in a survey of analysts by Refinitiv. A year earlier, Chewy posted a per-share loss of $US0.15 ($0).

Sales of $US2.04 ($3) billion beat Wall Street’s target of $US1.96 ($3) billion as the company dealt with “surging volume”. Sales a year ago were $US1.35 ($2) billion.

Chewy shares climbed by 13% to $US90 ($118).95 ($120), a move that sets up the stock to trim its year-to-date loss to less than 1%. The stock price began to decelerate in early February but it’s more than doubled from about $US36 ($47) over the past 12 months.

The company added 5.7 million net active customers in 2020, representing 42.7% annual growth. It also said it widened its product offerings to include gift cards, personalized items, and vet services. “Pet adoptions surged in 2020 as millions of homebound people and families sought out the comfort, companionship, and joy of pet parenthood” during the pandemic, the company said.

Chewy forecast first-quarter sales of $US2.11 ($3) billion to $US2.13 ($3) billion, higher than the average analyst forecast of $US2.07 ($3) billion.

Wedbush analysts on Wednesday raised their price target to $US100 ($131) from $US90 ($118) and reiterated their outperform rating on Chewy following the company’s “solid earnings beat, above-consensus guidance, and a path to a 2021 beat and even higher long-term earnings power.”

Chewy’s cofounder and former chief executive, Ryan Cohen, is leading a turnaround effort at video game retailer and Reddit-community favorite GameStop.