Guitar Center Breaks a String

The outlook is off tune.
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Guitar Center (GTRC) fell 11% after warning of soft third- and fourth-quarter results.

The Westlake Village, Calif., retailer said it expects to make 36 to 38 cents a share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, including a 4-cent real estate gain. That's below the company's previous guidance of 40 to 46 cents a share and shy of the 42-cent Thomson Financial estimate. Sales wil be $473 million, shy of the company's $495 million guidance.

"Our performance for the third quarter was not in line with our expectations," the company said. "We experienced uneven sales in both our Guitar Center and Musician's Friend divisions. Our Guitar Center comparable store sales were soft in the first two months of the quarter, with trends improving markedly in September. In addition, we had higher marketing and promotional expenses at Guitar Center which we were not able to leverage due to lower than anticipated sales."

The company expects to make $1.14 to $1.20 a share for the fourth quarter on sales of $638 million to $650 million. Analysts were looking for $1.26 a share on sales of $658 million.

Shares fell $4.83 to $40.98.