Weight Watchers lowers 2012 guidance, stock sinks

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Weight Watchers International Inc. posted lower second-quarter profit Wednesday, and its shares plummeted in after-hours trading as it scaled back its full-year outlook.

The New York-based company, which offers weight-management programs, said net income for the April-through-June period was $77.5 million or $1.36 per share. A year earlier earnings were $87 million or $1.17 per share. Earnings per share were higher in the recent quarter because the company bought back some of its shares and lowered the total number outstanding.

Revenue was $484.8 million, down slightly from $486 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast second-quarter earnings of $1.34 per share on revenue of $492.3 million.

Weight Watchers reduced its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $4 to $4.20 per share, down 60 cents from its previous outlook. Analysts expect earnings of $4.60 per share for the year.

"Since June we have seen a weakening in our trends so we are taking a more cautious view of our business for the second half of the year in light of difficult macro-economic trends, particularly in consumer sentiment," said CEO David Kirchhoff.

Second quarter revenues from its North American meetings business fell 6.5 percent from a year earlier because of lower enrollment, the company said.

Shares in Weight Watchers fell $7.13, or 14.6 percent, to $41.66 in after-hours trading. During the regular session they fell $1.81, or 3.6 percent, to $48.79.