H&R Block begins fiscal year in the hole, promises changes

H&R Block typically posts a loss in the first quarter of its fiscal year, but this year’s was higher than last year and more than analysts expected, putting the tax preparation company in a bigger hole than normal.

The average earnings expectations of analysts for H&R Block’s first quarter that ended July 31 was a loss of 53 cents a share. But Tuesday afternoon, the company posted a loss of 55 cents a share, a 57.1 percent drop from last year’s loss of 35 cents a share. The Kansas City-based company said about half of that loss is due to the reduction in share count from its stock repurchasing program.

During a conference call with analysts Tuesday, CEO Bill Cobb announced the company won’t hold its traditional December meeting with analysts, at which it normally offers a preview of the upcoming tax season. Canceling the meeting will help management stay focused on halting the decline in the number of tax filers that use Block, Cobb said.

In the same call, Cobb promised big changes in how H&R Block handles the next tax season. He said the company spent the summer analyzing its products, pricing, promotions and other facets of its operations to produce its plans for the next tax year.

Read more: Kansas City Business Journal, Kansas City Star

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