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Why Shares of Avon Products Tumbled Today

Timothy Green, The Motley Fool

What happened

Shares of Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) slumped on Thursday after the beauty company reported its first-quarter results. While revenue came in above analyst expectations, CEO Jan Zijderveld called the results "unsatisfactory" in the earnings release. The stock was down about 10.8% at 11:55 a.m. EDT.

So what

Avon reported first-quarter revenue of $1.39 billion, up 4.5% year over year and about $40 million higher than the average analyst estimate. Excluding the impact from currency, sales rose 2%. Both numbers include a 6% reporting benefit from the adoption of new revenue recognition standards.

Three Avon eyeshadow containers in a row

Avon eye shadow. Image source: Avon Products.

Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at a loss of $0.02, up from a loss of $0.07 in the prior-year period and in line with analyst expectations. The new revenue recognition standards provided a $0.03 benefit to both GAAP and non-GAAP EPS.

Zijderveld, who took the helm earlier this year, discussed the steps he has taken so far:

During my first 90 days, I have been deeply engaged in a comprehensive review of the Company's operations, including on-the-ground visits to many of our top markets where I have met with many of our direct selling Representatives. While we are focused on the formulation of Avon's longer-term plans, we are already implementing near-term fixes that support the success and satisfaction of our Representatives--starting with actions to improve service delivery.

Now what

Absent the change in revenue recognition standards, Avon would have posted a revenue decline on both a reported basis and adjusted for currency. The stock has tumbled more than 90% over the past five years as revenue and profits have plunged. Last year, shares shed 57% of their value.

Zijderveld faces a tough challenge turning Avon around. With investors pushing down the stock on Thursday, there appears to be little confidence in the company's turnaround prospects.

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Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.