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America's Car-Mart profit falls short of forecasts

Posted: February 19, 2014 at 8:14 a.m.

America’s Car-Mart, the Bentonville-based buy-here, pay-here auto dealer, said Wednesday that an after-tax charge bit into its third-quarter profit but that revenue rose from the year-ago period. The company's earnings missed analysts' expectations for the third consecutive quarter.

The company posted third-quarter net income Wednesday of $1.5 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, down 81 percent from the $8 million, or 84 cents per share, earned in the corresponding period a year ago.

The results reflected a $4.9 million after-tax charge resulting from an increase in the company's allowance for credit losses, Car-Mart said. Without that charge, diluted earnings per share came to 68 cents, the company said.

Revenue for the quarter was $123 million, up 3 percent from $119 million in the year-ago period.

The consensus estimate of five analysts was 70 cents per share for the quarter, with two predicting revenue of $126.7 million. The company has missed analysts’ earnings-per-share estimates the past three quarters.

"Despite the pressure we are feeling in the current competitive environment, we are continuing to see some good growth," Car-Mart President and CEO Hank Henderson said in a statement. "We remain committed to growing our business the right way with the realization that so long as the competition does not share our same focus on customer success, our results could continue to be affected somewhat."

Company executives plan to host a conference call today to discuss its earnings. The live call begins at 10 a.m. and can be heard by calling (877) 776-4031.

Callers are urged to call by 9:50 a.m. A webcast of the call will be available at the company’s website, carmart.com. The call replay will be available two hours after the call ends and for 30 days afterward.

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