( Reuters ) - Marriott International Inc, the No. 2 U.S. hotel operator, on Thursday posted a 7.6 percent decline in quarterly profit and forecast future earnings below Wall Street expectations, signaling a slowdown in the booming lodging industry.
Marriott's earnings decline comes amid a broader concern of softening in the leisure sector. On Wednesday, shares in casino operators Las Vegas Sands Corp and Wynn Resorts Ltd plunged 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively, because of signs of disappointing growth in the Chinese gambling haven of Macau.
Marriott, which typically manages hotels instead of owning them, said net income for the third quarter ended September 7 fell to $131 million from $141 million because of lower timeshare profits and due to a tax rate that jumped to 43.5 percent from 34.8 percent.
Earnings per share were flat at 33 cents because of a lower share count in the third quarter this year compared with a year before.
On an adjusted basis, which excludes earnings from Marriott's synthetic fuel business, the company earned 31 cents per share, slightly higher than Wall Street analysts' expectation of 30 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue for the company, which operates hotels under brands such as Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Fairfield Inn, rose 12 percent to $3.04 billion, boosted by higher room rates. The company also added 50 hotels to its system of 2,942 properties.
Marriott shares, which as of Wednesday's close had dropped 15 percent since hitting a 13-year high of $52 on April 18, fell $2.24 or 5.1 percent to $42.08 in midday trade on the New York Stock Exchange.