Weight Watchers forecasts weak full-year earnings; shares fall

Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:37pm EST

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Weight Watchers International Inc forecast full-year earnings below Wall Street expectations as attendance at its diet meetings remained low so far this year, sending its shares down more than 15 percent after the bell.

The company said its marketing strategy has not been effective in an increasingly competitive environment. Weight Watchers' diet meetings business has been weak in North America and the United Kingdom.

The company, which competes with Nestle's Jenny Craig Inc, Nutrisystem Inc and Medifast Inc, said it expects full-year earnings of $3.5 to $4.0 per share. Analyst on average were expecting $4.75 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, the company reported fourth-quarter results above expectations, with earnings of $1.03 on revenue of $407.9 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of 87 cents on revenue of $397.6 million.

Shares of the company closed at $54.11 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. (Reporting by Juhi Arora in Bangalore)

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