Categories Consumer, Earnings Call Transcripts, Retail

Buckle Inc (BKE) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

BKE Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Buckle Inc (NYSE: BKE) Q1 2024 earnings call dated May. 29, 2023

Corporate Participants:

Thomas Heacock — Senior Vice President of Finance, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Adam Akerson — Vice President, Finance and Corporate Controller

Dennis Nelson — President and Chief Executive Officer

Analysts:

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Alan Glenn — Concord & Main — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Well, good morning, and thank you for standing by, and welcome to Buckle’s First Quarter Earnings Release Webcast. [Operator Instructions]

Members of Buckle’s management on the call today are Dennis Nelson, President and CEO; Tom Heacock, Senior Vice President of Finance, Treasurer and CFO; and Adam Akerson, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller.

As they review operating results for the first quarter, which ended April 29, 2023, they would like to reiterate their policy of not giving future sales or earnings guidance and have the following Safe Harbor statements. Safe Harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 is as follows.

All forward-looking statements made by the company involve material risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on factors which may be beyond the company’s control. Accordingly, the company’s future performance and financial results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company does not undertake to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.

Additionally, the company does not authorize the reproduction or dissemination of transcripts or audio recordings of the company’s quarterly conference calls without its expressed written consent. Any unauthorized reproductions or recordings of the calls should not be relied upon as the information may be inaccurate. And as a reminder, today’s webcast is being recorded.

And now, I will turn things over to your host, Tom Heacock. Tom, over to you.

Thomas Heacock — Senior Vice President of Finance, Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer

Good morning and thanks for joining us this morning. Our May 26, 2023 press release reported that net income for the 13-week first quarter ended April 29, 2023 was $42.9 million or $0.86 per share on a diluted basis, which compares to net income of $55.3 million or $1.12 per share on a diluted basis for the prior year 13-week first quarter that ended April 30, 2022.

Net sales for the 13-week first quarter decreased 8.5% to $282.8 million, compared to net sales of $309.1 million for the prior year 13-week first quarter. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 9.2% in comparison to the same 13-week period in the prior year and our online sales were down 5.6% to $51.3 million.

For the quarter, UPTs decreased — or increased approximately 2.5%, the average unit retail decreased approximately 0.5% and the average transaction value increased about 1.5%.

Gross margin for the quarter was 47.1%, down 210 basis points from 49.2% for the first quarter of 2022. The current quarter decline is the result of 140 basis points of deleveraged buying, distribution and occupancy expense along with a 70 basis point decline in merchandise margins.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter were 28.1% of net sales, compared to 25.6% for the first quarter of 2022. The first quarter increase was primarily due to a 200 basis point increase in store labor-related expenses, along with increases across several other SG&A expense categories, which had a combined 150 basis point impact and were offset by a reduction in expense related to accruals for incentive compensation expense, which had 100 basis point impact.

Our operating margin for the quarter was 19.0%, compared to 23.6% for the first quarter of fiscal 2022. Income tax expense as a percentage of pre-tax net income for both the current and prior year fiscal quarter was 24.5%, bringing first quarter net income to $42.9 million for fiscal 2023, compared to $55.3 million for fiscal 2022.

Our press release also included a balance sheet as of April 29, 2023, which included the following. Inventory of $137.7 million, which was up 13.7% from $121.2 million as of April 30, 2022 and $300 million in total cash and investments. We ended the quarter with $116.1 million in fixed assets, net of accumulated depreciation.

Our capital expenditures for the quarter were $9.3 million and depreciation expense was $4.9 million. The first quarter capital spending is broken down as follows: $8.8 million for new store construction, store remodels and technology upgrades; and $0.5 million for capital spending at the corporate headquarters and distribution center.

During the quarter, we opened two new stores, completed four full remodels, three of which were relocations into new outdoor shopping centers and closed three stores. For the remainder of the year, we plan on opening seven additional new stores and completing 13 more full remodel projects. Buckle ended the quarter with 440 retail stores in 42 states, compared with 439 stores in 42 states at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2022.

And now, I’ll turn it over to Adam Akerson, Vice President of Finance.

Adam Akerson — Vice President, Finance & Corporate Controller

Thanks, Tom. Women’s merchandise sales for the quarter were down about 10.5% against the prior year and represented approximately 47.5% of sales, compared to 48.5% in the prior year. Average denim price points increased from $76.60 in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 to $79.80 in the first quarter of fiscal ’23, while the overall average women’s price point increased about 4.5% from $45.45 to $47.40.

On the men’s side, merchandise sales for the quarter were down about 8% against the prior year, representing approximately 52.5% of total sales, compared to 51.5% in the prior year. Average denim price points increased from $86 in the first quarter of fiscal ’22 to $88.80 in the first quarter of fiscal ’23. For the quarter, overall average men’s price points increased approximately 3.5% from $50.75 to $52.60.

On a combined basis, accessory sales for the quarter were up approximately 9.5% against the prior year, while footwear sales were down about 39%. These two categories account for approximately 11% and 8%, respectively, for the first quarter net sales, which compares to 9% and 12% for each in the first quarter of fiscal 2022. For the quarter, average accessory price points were up approximately 12% and average footwear price points were up 6.5%.

For the quarter, denim accounted for approximately 41.5% of total sales and tops accounted for approximately 27%, which compares to 40% and 27.5% for each in the first quarter of fiscal ’22.

Our buying teams continue to introduce new brands and provide a diverse assortment of private label product. For the quarter, private label represented 44% of sales versus 42.5% in the first quarter of 2022.

During a difficult spring selling season, we were pleased with the performance of both our men’s and women’s business. Outside of footwear, which accounted for approximately half of the total sales decline for the quarter, we saw good selling across several categories.

Denim on the men’s side performed well and we believe our selection of polos, short sleeve Ts and shorts have us well positioned moving into the summer selling season. On the women’s side, denim short performed well and we anticipate that carrying through to the back-to-school season, hearing well with continued newness in our summer and fashion tops.

And with that, we welcome your questions. Thank you.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you so much. [Operator Instructions] And we will hear first from Jon Braatz. And I believe, Jon, you are with Kansas City Capital Associates. So, Jon, please go ahead. And Jon, you should see the option to unmute there in the lower left corner of your screen.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

That better?

Operator

Perfect. Thank you.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

I’m sorry. Couple of questions. Obviously, it’s a little bit difficult first quarter in terms of sales. At the store level, are you adjusting labor costs to reflect the current environment? So are you seeing a little bit of that? Are you doing a little bit of that?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Jon. Yes, we are doing our best. I mean, with the sales leverage down with the surge [Phonetic], we have had to increase some wages with what’s going on with inflation and stuff for our teams. But our teams are continually working the schedules and adjusting to handle that the best we can. Although the — that cost is up over the last two years of great success where the — they were kind of unusually low, it’s still below several years ago as far as the cost percent. So it is on our radar and continue to work with that.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

Okay. On the footwear side, obviously, there was some — a lot of weakness in footwear sales and it’s coming off some difficult comps. But is there anything specific to footwear that’s behind the weakness, there’s a few new styles or do we have enough — we all have enough shoes? Anything specific to footwear that you see that’s behind the weakness?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. In our branded casual footwear, there is increased inventory from the brand in the market that is cut into what we were doing. But also a year ago, we had kind of a pent-up demand for that category and so we had unusually high sales, the first part of spring on the brand and so we were anniversarying tough comps. And we’ll still have some headwinds as we go through the year, but not at the same degree. I think, the sales were about $12 million in the first quarter a year ago on that, and the rest of the year, not counting December, I think, it drops to $8 million. So we’ll have a little less headwind there, but it’s kind of the part of the fashion cycle that goes on.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

Not to name names, but are we talking about Hey Dude?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

That would be the key one, yes.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

Yes. Okay. All right. Thank you. And lastly, Dennis, I think, you — in the commentary, seven new stores for the remainder of the year and that’s a little bit different than what we’ve seen in the past where it’s been somewhat limited. What’s your thinking behind the additional new stores? Is the — are there some retail openings that sort of speak that just — you find just very attractive at this time, maybe because other retailers left, but why the new store growth?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

So what we’ve seen over the last couple of years is changes in markets and now we’re considering more power centers and other situations with our success that we’ve learned from that we feel good about some of these markets. And also, we see with the people moving and changes from the last couple of years, that new opportunities are being created and there’s been some good development and we’ve met some new real estate people that have given us very good opportunities to work with and opening up to the potential where we have opened in a couple outlet stores or outlet malls that previous you had to be an outlet store to be part of and we would just only do our regular store and they’ve seen our success and welcome us to their projects and where they have excellent traffic and we feel that our product will work well in their centers. That’s given us some additional opportunities as well.

Jon Braatz — Kansas City Capital Associates — Analyst

Okay. All right. Thank you.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

You’re welcome.

Operator

And we will hear next from Mauricio Serna with UBS.

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Hi. Yes. Good morning. Can you hear me okay?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you.

Operator

Yes, please continue.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Great. Great. Thanks for taking our questions. I guess, I wanted to ask if you saw any differences in performance by regions, anything that you would call out? And then on the merchandise margin, what is driving that contraction, seeing that your merchant — your private label penetration actually increased 150 basis points year-over-year? Okay. Yes. On the margin, our footwear margins before were very good and we’ve seen a little drop back there. For the most part, I think, we’re also selling some branded denim that has been very good, but the margin is not as good as private label, where we kind of had low inventories a year ago on that. And I think a couple of those things are the main point. Some of the fashion tops, where there’s better margin, where that’s a little softer in the first quarter has probably had a little effect as well.

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Okay. Thanks. And about the regional performance?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

I’m sorry, what?

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Sorry, any callouts on the regional performance?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Sorry. Yes. Naturally the southern parts, especially in Texas stuff, there’s been good traffic. But I’d say, in the majority of the others there’s been enough seasonal weather that’s been challenging, that’s had an effect on most other stores.

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Got it. Thank you very much.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We’ll move on to Carlton Getz.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Good morning. How are you?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Good morning. Good.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Carlton Getz with Winter Harbor Capital. I wanted to build on a question earlier, considering store growth just a little bit. One of the positive features of Buckle over the years has been a very measured approach to store growth, although store counts have declined since about 2015 up until last year. Do you expect that this trajectory towards positive location growth to be a longer term trend or is it dependent on the results of the new stores that you’re opening this year?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Well, in our meetings, what we’re seeing is a lot of good opportunities to reposition stores, whether we move out of malls that are past the traffic. And as I mentioned, with the opening of power centers and other outlet opportunities for us, I don’t know if each year will be similar amount of stores, but we’ll certainly open the new stores where the opportunity creates itself. So we’re kind of opportunity players and the — here again we’re starting to look at ’24 and seeing some possibilities there, but we’re not ready to announce how many new ones there will be.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Sure. And then with respect to the new stores that are opening, are these primarily in adjacent geographic locations to where the company already has a significant number of stores or are these further afield?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Most of them are in regions that we do very well.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Okay. And then, finally, just expanding on that a little more. Buckle’s maintained a very high return on equity and capital investment for many years, even when sales took a hit. Has the lack of growth left some value on the table with respect to that in your thinking or how does the company approach that view in the store decline count or the count of — decline in the count of stores over the last several years until the recent upward trend?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

So, as I mentioned, we moved some of our stores out of malls, and in a lot of cases, we’ve been able to expand square footage, give the location an updated store and people have really enjoyed shopping those stores. So we’re looking at opportunities to maximize our results. And I guess, we feel real good about each situation we’re looking at and changing. And with everything we see going on, there’s going to be some good opportunities. But we still look at covering the downside and let the upside take care of itself, which has served us well over the years.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Sure. And then if I may one last question on e-commerce sales. Is the company’s e-commerce sales experience concentrated in the areas where you have stores or have you seen e-commerce drive brand extension in areas where you don’t have geographic locations?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Our total sales probably are best in the stores where — in the states where we are strongest and continue to do well. A lot of times, we see guests go online to see the newness and then go to the store to buy. But still where we have strength is very good, but we do a reasonable amount outside of our territories, too.

Carlton Getz — Winter Harbor Capital — Analyst

Yes. Thank you.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

And moving on to Alan Glenn. Alan you should see the option to unmute in the lower left corner of your screen. And Alan, you now have permission to speak if you’d like to go ahead and ask your question. Great. Thank you.

Alan Glenn — Concord & Main — Analyst

Sorry about that. Can you hear me now?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you.

Operator

Yes. We sure can.

Alan Glenn — Concord & Main — Analyst

Okay, I apologize. Given your store footprint, which is — tends to be in like smaller cities, close but not near — right in the urban centers. Do you have any favorite economic macro indicators or metrics that you like to look at to give you a feel for forward-looking retail climate?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

We don’t have any specific ones. We look at a lot of different information. Usually, we’re — most of the centers have traffic indicators. We look at sales of others in the centers. We have certain retail stores that we look at, depending on the market or such. But in our areas where we are strong, we are pretty open to a lot of situations. We have some outstanding mall stores throughout the Midwest and the larger cities and feel very comfortable with those. We are not in the Northeast cities or Southern Florida cities or the LA or San Francisco area. But outside of that, we are open to review the majority of the markets.

Alan Glenn — Concord & Main — Analyst

Okay. Thanks. And then my other question is kind of micro based. Last year, there was a lot of disruption in freight forwarding and companies getting inventory. Have you guys experienced any of that or has that been pretty smooth for you so far?

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Let’s say for the most part it’s been pretty smooth at this point.

Alan Glenn — Concord & Main — Analyst

Thanks.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And we will now take a follow-up for Mauricio Serna.

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Great. Thanks for the follow-up. I just wanted to ask about inventory. I see that the growth has moderated sequentially from the fourth quarter. I wanted to — if you see any, I guess, like pockets of inventory where you feel it’s still high and do you have any views or expectations on when you think the inventory growth will be more aligned with the sales growth? Thanks.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you. Here again for first quarter we did bring spring product in, more of it for the first quarter than the second quarter, and very comfortable with our inventory levels at this point. And probably at the start of the third quarter, we’ll definitely be more in line with how sales are going.

Mauricio Serna — UBS — Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Operator

And we have no further questions. So I will turn things back to Buckle for any closing remarks.

Dennis Nelson — President & Chief Executive Officer

If there are no further questions, we’ll conclude today’s call and thank you all for your participation and hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend. So thank you very much.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Disclaimer

This transcript is produced by AlphaStreet, Inc. While we strive to produce the best transcripts, it may contain misspellings and other inaccuracies. This transcript is provided as is without express or implied warranties of any kind. As with all our articles, AlphaStreet, Inc. does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company’s SEC filings. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this transcript constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of securities or commodities. Any opinion expressed in the transcript does not necessarily reflect the views of AlphaStreet, Inc.

© COPYRIGHT 2021, AlphaStreet, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, redistribution or retransmission is expressly prohibited.

Most Popular

Infographic: How Spotify (SPOT) performed in Q2 2024

Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT) reported its second quarter 2024 earnings results today. Total revenue increased 20% year-over-year to EUR3.8 billion. Net income attributable to owners of the parent was

Philip Morris (PM) Q2 2024 Earnings: Key financials and quarterly highlights

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) reported its second quarter 2024 earnings results today. Net revenues increased 5.6% year-over-year to $9.5 billion. On an organic basis, revenues grew 9.6%. Net

LMT Earnings: Highlights of Lockheed Martin’s Q2 2024 financial results

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) Tuesday reported a year-over-year increase in net sales for the second quarter of 2024. The management raised its fiscal 2024 guidance. The aerospace company reported

Add Comment
Loading...
Cancel
Viewing Highlight
Loading...
Highlight
Close
Top