An article in Forbes called “Great Speculations” had the subtitle “Accounting Smells a Little Fishy Down at the Zumiez Surf Shop.” It calls into question Zumiez’s reported earnings and balance sheet strength due to a couple of their accounting practices. Boardistan called our attention to it and concluded, “Apparently, Zumiez is shifting over to the “whatever it takes” program.” I had a couple of people email it to me, though nobody expressed an opinion. Maybe they thought I’d jump on Zumiez or something or were just pointing out to me that I hadn’t covered either of the issues mentioned by Forbes in my recent analysis. We didn’t hear anything about this in either Transworld Business or Shop- Eat-Surf.
Forbes analysis and explanation was fine as far as it went, though I’d have trouble reaching the same conclusion they reached. I thought it might be useful if I looked in a bit more detail at the two issues they raise. My goal is not just to give you some perspective on the accounting issues, but to show you that the issues are not quite as clear cut as Forbes explained them and to make you leery of short, pithy, articles you read in the popular media. Hopefully, nobody thinks my stuff is pithy. Well, maybe from time to time I’m a little pithy.