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Stitch Fix (SFIX) Tumbles on Wider-Than-Expected Loss in Q4

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Shares of Stitch Fix, Inc. (SFIX - Free Report) tumbled more than 16% in after-hour trading on Sep 22, on a wider-than-expected loss per share during fourth-quarter fiscal 2020. The figure also compared unfavorably with the prior-year quarter’s reported tally. The bottom-line performance was mainly hurt by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. In June, the company’s distribution centers were recovering from major disruptions. At a certain point, 50% of the warehouse nodes were shuttered, hence the company was operating at roughly 30% fulfillment capacity.

However, the company’s sales rebounded in the quarter under review. The metric grew year over year and outshone the Zacks Consensus Estimate after two straight quarterly misses. The company saw impressive first-Fix demand trends in July and August, which are likely to drive active-client growth ahead. In addition, strength in women's and men’s businesses, along with gains in both the scale and margin profile of the company’s Kids and U.K. businesses, are encouraging.

In June 2020, Stitch Fix rolled out Trending For You, which enhances feed-based shopping experience and will help new customers to get engaged via direct buy in the upcoming quarters. Notably, the company’s weekly direct-buy orders were up over 30% during the first two weeks of introducing this feature. In July, the company also came up with an algorithmic recommendation engine solely for its direct-buy clients, which more widely captures the clients’ preferences. Management remains on track to launch more enhancements in fiscal 2021 to expand product discovery.

Q4 in Detail

Stitch Fix reported loss per share of 44 cents, which is wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 18 cents and compared unfavorably with earnings per share of 7 cents recorded in the prior-year quarter.

Stitch Fix, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Stitch Fix, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Stitch Fix, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Stitch Fix, Inc. Quote

Meanwhile, the company recorded net revenues of $443.4 million, reflecting an increase of 3% from the year-ago period. Adjusted for the extra week in the same quarter a year ago, the metric grew 11% year over year. Also, the reported figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $416 million. This is buoyed by immense strength in the company’s direct-buy facility that has been exceeding management’s expectations, benefiting from expedite client adoption, increased purchase rates per client and higher levels of engagement. The company is also witnessing huge demand in activewear, as women's activewear revenues skyrocketed over 350% year over year on an adjusted basis during fiscal fourth quarter.

Stitch Fix now has 3.5 million active clients, up 9% from the prior-year period. Also, revenues per active client rose 6% year over year to $486, recording the ninth successive quarter of growth. This reflects a rise of 2% year over year on an adjusted basis.

In fiscal fourth quarter, gross profit rose 4.6% to $199.1 million with a gross-margin expansion of 80 basis points (bps) to 44.9%. Notably, gross margin expanded nearly 410 bps on a quarter-over-quarter basis. The metric was mainly driven by a decline in inventory reserve.

Meanwhile, SG&A expenses increased 13.1% to $213.4 million. Excluding advertising, other SG&A, as a rate of sales, grew 370 bps to 38.3% due to continuous investments in technology talent and the related stock-based compensation (SBC) costs. Stitch Fix’s operating loss was $14.3 million against operating profit of $1.8 million reported in the year-ago period.

Furthermore, the company reported adjusted EBITDA, excluding SBC, of $11.8 million in the quarter under review, down 33.7% from $17.8 million reported in the year-ago quarter.

Other Financial Aspects

This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) company ended the quarter with no debt, along with cash and cash equivalents of $143.5 million and shareholders’ equity of $401 million.

Further, the company provided $42.9 million cash from operating activities during fiscal 2020. Also, it reported free-cash flow of $12.7 million for the same period.

Outlook

Going ahead, the company remains committed to cater to the renewed surge in client demand. In first-quarter fiscal 2021, management projects revenues to improve mid-to-high single digit on solid demand trends, offset by reduced subsequent Fix volumes. The metric is likely to partly benefit from the new client growth moving into fiscal second quarter. We note that the company witnessed a revenue growth of 21% in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Stitch Fix did not issue a specific guidance for fiscal 2021 on volatile macro backdrop. However, management notified that revenue growth is likely to significantly accelerate in the second half of fiscal as the effect of the pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders subside. For fiscal 2021, management plans to make investments in growth opportunities such as the U.K. category, however, at lower levels than the prior year. It also estimates expense leverage in adjusted EBITDA excluding SBC. Moreover, the company expects increased investments in CapEx for the fiscal in order to improve operating capacity. Historically, CapEx included less than 2% of revenues and the metric is now forecasted to rise by 100-200 bps for fiscal 2021 over the historical levels.

Key Picks in Retail

Zumiez (ZUMZ - Free Report) delivered an earnings surprise of 41.2% in the last four quarters, on average. It sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Sportsman's Warehouse Holdings (SPWH - Free Report) , also a Zacks Rank #1 stock, delivered an earnings surprise of 64.8% in the last four quarters, on average.

Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 9.2%. Currently, it carries a Zacks Rank #1.

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