NEW YORK (TheStreet) – Flowers Foods (FLO) will announce financial results for its third quarter on Wednesday. And despite its shares rebounding nearly 10% in less than a month from its 52-week low, picking Flowers as a potential turnaround candidate is too risky.
The Georgia-based company, which owns such popular packaged baked goods as Nature's Own, Wonder Bread and Tastykake, continues to struggle with rising costs -- most of which came from its geographic expansion and initiatives to improve its products.
The problem, however, is that these plans have yielded very little to zero return.
The chart below, courtesy of Google Finance, shows how Wall Street has responded to Flowers' struggles. Two months ago, investment research firm Zacks issued a "Strong Sell" recommendation. This pushed Flowers to a new 52-week low of $17.46 on Oct. 16.
And although the stock has since rebounded, the optimal buying opportunity has come and gone with its 52-week low. The easy money has already been made.
While the shares still have a 12-month median target of $23 and a high target of $25, which calls for gains of 17% and 27%, respectively, what's more important to consider is the catalyst to get Flowers back to its resistance level of around $21. Absent better sales and cost reduction measures to boost the bottom line, Flowers will be -- at best -- dead money for the next twelve months.
In the second quarter, for instance, revenue declined 2.3% year over year, as volume dropped by 2.9% compared to the previous year. Earnings were much worse, coming in at 21 cents per share, down 12.5% year over year.
To combat this, Flowers has increased its promotional activity across its food categories, as well as curtailing the sale of brands with low margins. While this strategy helped Flowers increase its second quarter revenue by 60 basis points from a year ago, the higher promotional costs weighed on its operating margins and pulled it down 100 basis points year over year to 8% in the second quarter.
Flowers' full-year revenue guidance of $3.88 billion to $3.94 billion is shy 1.3% of Wall Street's expectations on the high-end of its range, according to Thomson Reuters. Not to mention, the full year guidance is also 4.6% less from its prior guidance of $4.13 billion.
And with the company having missed earnings estimates in three of the previous four quarters, Flowers looks like it may be a long shot for investors on Wednesday, when it reports its quarterly results.
At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.