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Originally published Monday, March 1, 2010 at 2:16 PM

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Nutrisystem tightens belt, turns 4Q profit

Nutrisystem Inc. tightened its belt and turned a profit in the fourth quarter despite falling sales.

The Associated Press


Nutrisystem Inc. tightened its belt and turned a profit in the fourth quarter despite falling sales.

The weight-control company said Monday that the economy made 2009 difficult, but new-customer counts and cost-cutting improved in the second half.

Nutrisystem predicted a "modest" increase in profit in 2010, while analysts had forecast the company's profit - 92 cents per share last year - would just more than 50 percent to $1.52 per share in 2010.

The shares fell 45 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $18.90 in regular trading before the report, then dropped another $1.21, or 6.4 percent, to $17.72 in extended trading.

Nutrisystem said it earned $2.7 million, or 9 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $3.3 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Without a write-down from the acquisition of Nu-Kitchen, a maker of weight-loss meals, the company said it would have earned 18 cents per share.

Analysts, who typically exclude one-time items from their forecasts, had expected a gain of 13 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue fell to $106.2 million from $114.6 million, but above analysts' $102.2 million prediction.

For all of 2009, the company earned $28.8 million, or 92 cents per share, compared with $46.3 million, or $1.45 per share, in 2008. Full-year revenue dropped to $527.7 million from $687.7 million.

The company declared a quarterly dividend of 17.5 cents per share payable March 22 to shareholders of March 11.

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