Leslie’s, Inc. (LESL) Failed to Disclose that its Sales Growth was Based on Artificial Demand and Excess Panic Buying
A shareholder filed a class action on behalf of persons or entities who purchased Leslie’s, Inc. (NASADAQ: LESL) common stock between February 5, 2021 and July 13, 2023. Leslie’s provides pool supplies and related equipment to end consumers, both residential and professional.
According to the complaint, during the class period, defendants failed to disclose to investors that: (1) the Company’s growth was caused by customers over purchasing products to stockpile in case of a chemical shortage; (2) such sales inflated revenues and earnings and were not indicative of durable and sustainable demand or financial growth; (3) the Company took advantage of chemical shortages by urging customers to stock up on the products because Leslie’s could not “guarantee availability” of chemicals in the future; and (4) any slowdown in sales was not a normalization of past seasonality, but was due to the prior excess stockpiling.
On July 13, 2023, Leslie’s pre-released preliminary results for the third quarter of 2023 revealing that sales in the third quarter of 2023 had declined by a staggering 12%, the Company’s earnings per share for the quarter was 42% below analysts’ estimates, and EBITDA was now between $124 to $128 million, well below the prior forecast of $197 million. Additionally, after reaffirming its fiscal 2023 guidance the previous two quarters, Leslie’s abruptly slashed its financial outlook by up to a staggering 60% for the remainder of the year. As an explanation, the Company revealed that “consumers entered the pool season with a greater than normal amount of chemicals leftover from last year,” resulting in reduced purchasing. In addition, as part of this pre-release and the sudden drop in guidance, Leslie’s announced that its Chief Financial Officer Steven M. Weddell would be stepping down from his post effective August 7, 2023.
On this news, Leslie’s stock price fell more than 29%, from a closing price of $9.52 per share on July 13, 2023, to a closing price of $6.70 per share on July 14, 2023, and continued to fall another 18% the next trading day to close at $5.46 per share on July 17, 2023.
What Now: Similarly situated shareholders may be eligible to participate in the class action against Leslie’s, Inc. Shareholders who want to act as lead plaintiff for the class must file their motion for lead plaintiff by November 7, 2023. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. You do not have to participate in the case to be eligible for a recovery. If you choose to take no action, you can remain an absent class member.
Representation is on a contingency fee basis. Shareholders pay no fees or expenses.