Week's Winners/Losers: A Check-In Uptick; A Twitter Let-Down

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Businessmen speaking with staff at the front desk reception of a luxury hotel.
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From a door-to-door selling icon stocking up on blush after a disappointing quarter to several hotel chains checking in with strong occupancy trends, here's a rundown of the week's smartest moves and biggest blunders in the business world.

Hotels -- Winners

Hoteliers were apparently hopping during the first quarter. Despite the iffy weather and the equally iffy economy, the leading chains reporting this week posted surprisingly robust activity.

Revenue per available room is a key metric because it tracks occupancy levels as well as prevailing overnight rates. The industry's doing well when RevPAR is positive, and that's just what we saw with this week's reports. Choice Hotels (CHH), Marriott (MAR), and Hyatt (H) clocked in with RevPAR increases of 5.6 percent, 6.3 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.

Twitter (TWTR) -- Loser

Shares of Twitter hit an all-time low this week after the company posted disappointing user growth. Sure, the "all-time low" remark needs to be accompanied by the caveat that Twitter has only been trading publicly for less than six months. It's still a grim milestone for last year's most anticipated debutante.

Twitter's revenue growth was fine, propelled by the recent success of its monetization initiatives. Its outlook was upbeat. However, the one thing that haunted investors this week was that Twitter had just 14 million more unique monthly visitors than it had a quarter earlier. That kind of sequential uptick would've impressed at most companies, but Twitter trades at a juicy premium to the market. #Letdown.

J.C. Penney (JCP) -- Winner

The struggling department store operator isn't out of the woods just yet, but at least one supplier is offering up encouraging insight. PVH (PVH) was presenting at an investor conference in Miami earlier in the week when its CEO offered up an encouraging perspective.

"The Penney's business is running on or ahead of plan and given what their sales trends are," said CEO Manny Chirico, "we think that's a grand slam home run."

That's a big deal since PVH is the company behind Calvin Klein, Izod, Tommy Hilfiger and other fashionable apparel brands. He also pointed out that Izod products have been selling well since being incorporated into the "store in a store" model at J.C. Penney.

Avon Products (AVP) -- Loser

Remember "Avon calling"? Now, it's more like Avon falling. The seller of beauty and housewares through a fleet of commission-based reps had a dreadful quarter. Sales fell 11 percent to $2.2 billion for the period, and Avon's adjusted profit of 12 cents a share fell well short of the 21 cents a share that analysts were targeting and the 26 cents a share that it posted a year earlier.

Avon's been struggling as its model of door-to-door sales reps has faded into obsolescence in its home country. Avon was hoping to emphasize overseas markets where the model is still somewhat relevant, but sales fell in way too many key countries.

Skullcandy (SKUL) -- Winner

Skullcandy investors liked what they heard this week, and they didn't need to listen via the company's signature headphones. Skullcandy posted a deficit, but the 12 cents a share in red ink was better than the 17 cents a share that Wall Street was targeting.

The future will get even better. Skullcandy's guidance for the entire year -- forecasting earnings per share between 16 cents and 20 cents -- is comfortably ahead of the 13 cents a share that analysts were expecting.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Hyatt Hotels and Twitter. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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