COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Pandora A/S shares fell in Copenhagen after the jewellery maker said its biggest market remains challenging, adding to a long list of disappointments that have tested investor patience since last year.
The stock lost more than 8 percent shortly after the market opened in the Danish capital, driving the company’s market value down to its lowest since early 2015. By around 9:10 a.m. local time, the shares were trading down about 5 percent. Pandora underperformed the main Danish index, which traded about 2.7 percent lower as a global stock-market selloff continued.
Pandora said the U.S. retail market remained difficult, but pointed to an improved performance in online sales.
Revenue grew 16 percent in the Americas last quarter from a year earlier, the Copenhagen-based company said on Tuesday. In local currency, Pandora saw a 27 percent increase.
“Growth was supported by the acquisition of franchise stores in the U.S.,” the company said. The company said its eSTORE enjoyed “a continued strong performance.”
But, the “retail environment in the U.S. remained challenging,” it said. It also noted that the physical network, including franchisee stores, continued to deliver a “negative like-for-like performance.”
Pandora lost more than a quarter of its market value in 2017 as its U.S. business was pummelled by a weak retail environment. Hedge funds started spotting opportunities to make money shorting the stock, and Pandora became a target for speculators expecting it to continue declining.
Despite the company’s efforts to address market concerns, including promising a clearer communications strategy, Pandora shares had already lost 17 percent in the year through yesterday. Analysts have warned that new long-term targets are disappointing.
Chief Executive Officer Anders Colding Friis said 2017 “was a challenging and eventful year.”
But he said Pandora now has a “clear strategy to utilise our fully integrated value chain to capitalise on the growth opportunities.”
“We are confident this strategy will deliver continued growth and strong profitability in 2018 and the years to come.”
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The company said it intends to pay out 2 billion kroner in dividends in 2018, including an ordinary dividend of 9 kroner per share and a bi-annual dividend, also of 9 kroner. The company will also buy back own shares for 4 billion kroner.
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Short interest in Pandora is at about 10.1 percent, according to IHS Markit. That’s down from a November peak of 12.8 percent, but up from about 1 percent a year ago.
By Christian Wienberg; editor: Tasneem Hanfi Brögger.