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Why The Fresh Market (TFM) Turned Toxic on Friday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Fresh Market (TFM - Get Report) turned stale on lower-than-expected earnings and a disappointing full-year forecast. Shares tumbled 17.4% to $41.65 by mid-afternoon.

The company cut its full-year guidance, the second time it has done so, on weak U.S. consumer confidence. Management expects earnings to fall in the range of $1.42 to $1.47 a share, downwardly revised from $1.50 to $1.55 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.53 a share.

"We believe the current trends will continue through the fourth quarter and believe it is prudent to revise our financial outlook for the year. We now expect comparable store sales to finish the year up 3% to 3.5%," said CEO Jeffrey Ackerman during a conference call. "The primary driver for the adjustment in guidance is really the top line."

The high-end grocery store reported net income of 23 cents a share, 3 cents under consensus. Revenue of $364.5 million was 13.4% higher than a year earlier, but missed expectations by $9.3 million. Same-store sales increased 3.1%.

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High-end competitors were off in sympathy. Whole Foods (WFM) stumbled 0.8% to $56.01, Fairway Group (FWM) plunged 4.2% to $18.51, and Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) shed 1.9% to $37.57.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Fresh Market Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Fresh Market Inc (TFM) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations, compelling growth in net income and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

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