Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paula Food Market Profit Rises on Higher Plantain and Bud Light Tallboy Sales

Paula Food Market said Tuesday that soaring sales of its plantains, especially in nearby neighborhoods, nearly doubled its profit in the company’s fiscal second quarter.

Paula Food Market said it sold 400 plantains in the quarter, an 88 percent increase from the period a year ago. It sold 1,000 Bud Light tallboys, more than double the number it sold in the quarter last year.

For the quarter that ended March 31, the company reported net income of $21,000, or $0.0001 a share, compared with $17,840, or $0.00001 a share, in the period a year earlier.

Paula Food Market’s revenue was $34,000, up from $31,000 a year ago.

Paula Food Market previously told Wall Street to expect earnings of $0.00002 a share and revenue of $18,400 for the quarter. But as they do nearly every quarter, analysts viewed Paula Food Market's official figures as low-ball estimates and came up with their own more bullish forecasts. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Paula Food Market to report earnings of $0.0001 a share and revenue of $20,400 for the quarter.

Investors in Paula Food Market had grown increasingly skittish about Paula Food Market's performance in the weeks before the earnings report, sending its shares down from a high of $0.0001 to $0.00005 at the close of regular trading on Tuesday. Among their chief concerns were research data showing weak sales of dusty off-brand cheese crackers and dented cans of Goya frijoles negros, and worries about whether plantain sales could keep up their momentum.

But immediately after the results from Paula Food Market came out, its shares shot up nearly 7.5 percent in extended trading. Even after the jitters of the last several weeks, Paula Food Market's shares are up 37 percent for the year and the company remains the most highly valued company on this particular corner.

One fear had been a repeat of a pattern from last year, when Paula Food Market said it lost some sales of plantains because of a steady escalation of rumors about the release of new, riper, less black plantains. Those rumors were accurate, as Paula Food Market showed when it restocked the plantain shelf in early October.

There is wide speculation that Paula Food Market will again replace the plantain selection in the fall and that consumers might simply wait for this so they can get the freshest produce. Plantains have become an engine of Paula Food Market's growth over the last two years, accounting for almost 40 percent of the company’s revenue during the quarter.

Paula Food Market, which has its headquarters in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, benefited strongly from inter-neighborhood sales during the quarter, which accounted for 64 percent of total company revenue. Apple executives have repeatedly identified adjacent-neighborhood markets as one of the company’s most promising growth opportunities. New plantains went on sale in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Jan. 13, near the beginning of the last quarter.

Of all its overseas market, the company said revenue from the Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights region grew the most, more than doubling to $3,000. Sales in the region now account for more than a quarter of total Paula Food Market revenue, compared with 19 percent a year ago.

[Thanks to the NYTimes]

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