Monday, March 10, 2008

West Marine Credibility Issues

West Marine (WMAR)issued a press release on Friday Mar 7 at approximately 19:00 five hours after market close when much of the eastern part of North America was caught up in severe weather problems. The relevant quote is

"delayed the distribution of its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2007 earnings release and 2008 earnings guidance, as well as the related conference call and webcast previously scheduled to take place on March 11, 2008. The delay principally is due to management’s continuing analysis of certain current and historical expense accruals. West Marine will issue a subsequent press release announcing the timing for release of its 2007 financial results and 2008 guidance and setting a new conference call date and time as soon as practicable after the completion of management’s analysis."

Gentleman this is the Q4 announcement and therefore the fiscal year stamp of approval. To have to pull the plug on the announcement at this late stage invalidates much of your financial communication for the past year.

Given my understanding of the auditing process and the time frames involved the auditors must already be on site and well into their work. Management has not said so in so many words but my suspicions lead to a possible conflict with the auditors. You just do not postpone the final Q4 announcement indefinitely unless you have a major issue.