UPDATE 2-Rosetta Stone sees weak Q1; chairman replaced

Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:25pm EST

* Former Tumi exec to become chair of board

* Forecasts Q1 sales, EPS below Street

* Q4 results preannounced earlier this month

* Shares down 2 percent in post-market (Adds stock price, new chairman info, byline)

By Ernest Scheyder

NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Language-learning software maker Rosetta Stone Inc (RST.N) forecast first-quarter results below Wall Street's expectations on weak demand from American consumers, sending its shares down 2 percent in post-market trading.

The company's software helps customers master Spanish, Farsi, Welsh and 29 other languages. Key customers have included the United States military, though the company has struggled as it branches out into the consumer space.

To bolster U.S. sales, Laurence Franklin, the former CEO of luggage maker Tumi, will replace Laura Witt as chairman of the board, Rosetta said.

Rosetta cited Franklin's experience in distribution, retail and international branding as assets.

Still, the company expects any rebound to take time. Rosetta forecast a first-quarter loss of 34 cents to 48 cents per share.

Analysts expect first-quarter results to break even, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Rosetta also forecast first-quarter revenue of $54 million to $58 million, below the $62 million analysts expect.

Shares of Arlington, Virginia-based Rosetta fell 2 percent to $14.66 in post-market trading. The stock has traded between $14.48 and $27.50 in the past 52 weeks.

QUARTERLY RESULTS

Sales to the important United States consumer demographic fell 11 percent during the fourth quarter, though sales to consumers outside the U.S. jumped 93 percent.

The company recently launched a fourth version of its learning software. It sold 11 percent fewer units during the period, roughly 173,000, executives said.

"We are implementing a set of near-term actions to stabilize our business in the US consumer market," Chief Executive Tom Adams said in a statement.

Rosetta had previously announced some of the results earlier this month. [ID:nL3E7DI1IH]

For the fourth quarter, Rosetta posted net income of $4.9 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with $12.2 million, or 58 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, Rosetta earned 27 cents per share. By that measure, analysts expected 31 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue slipped 5 percent to $74.2 million. Analysts expected $77.2 million. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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