Stock of Seattle-based Impinj tumbles as sales soften for the maker of inventory-tracking technology

The shares of Impinj, an inventory-tracking technology maker, tumbled 34 percent after a weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

Shares of inventory-tracking technology maker Impinj crumbled Thursday after a weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

Impinj stock dove $11.25, or 34.3 percent, to $21.55, closing at its lowest level since the Seattle company’s Wall Street debut a year ago.

The decline came as investors reacted to the news Wednesday that the company swung to a loss of 23 cents a share during the three months ended in September, from a profit of 1 cent a share during the same quarter in 2016.

The company builds radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for businesses to tag and track products, tools used primarily by apparel sellers.

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Executives told financial analysts on a conference call Thursday that several large retailers had delayed previously planned purchases of Impinj products, and said there was “stiffened competition” in the nascent market.

Impinj shares had surged this summer amid widespread speculation about the plans of a fellow Seattle company: Amazon. The online retailer is a member of an Impinj-led trade association that aims to promote the use of RFID technology.

Amazon Go, the cashierless convenience-store program with a pilot outlet for Amazon employees in Seattle, is widely believed to use Impinj technology. And Amazon’s June announcement that it would purchase Whole Foods Market fueled bets that Impinj technology could be destined for wider use in grocery stores.

Impinj’s third-quarter sales grew 5 percent, to $32.5 million. That growth cooled dramatically from the 31 percent year-over-year gain in the previous quarter. The company said it expects sales to decline during the current quarter, to between $28.25 million and $29.75 million.

Stripping out employee-stock compensation and some other expenses, Impinj’s loss during the quarter was 8 cents a share, worse than the 3-cents-a-share loss analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had anticipated.

In an emailed statement Thursday responding to the stock decline, Chief Executive Chris Diorio said the company was “excited about the opportunities before us. We are committed to executing on our strategy and driving value for our customers and investors.”


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