The Buckle, Inc. (BKE - Free Report) has been committed to boosting shareholders’ returns through regular dividend payouts, special dividends and dividend hikes. In line with this, the company unveiled a quarterly dividend hike of 20%, taking it to 30 cents per share.
Additionally, this retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories approved a special cash dividend of $1.25 per share for shareholders of record as of Jan 10, 2020. Both raised and the special dividends are payable together on Jan 24. Well, the company has been following the practice of paying out special dividends for quite some time now. Buckle announced special cash dividends of $1.00, $1.75 and 75 cents in December 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Such moves instill positive sentiments in investors. Notably, this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock has surged 58.3% year to date against the industry’s decline of 21.9%.
Dividend hikes not only enhance shareholder returns but also raise the market value of the stock. Through this strategy, companies try to win investors and persuade them to either buy or hold the scrip instead of selling it. Dividend hike is a practice common among companies with a healthy financial status, which in turn is backed by their operating results.
Solid Performance Aids Shareholder-Friendly Moves
In the recently reported third-quarter fiscal 2019 results, Buckle’s earnings of 53 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 47 cents. Also, the bottom line rose 26.2% year over year on improved sales and enhanced margins. Net sales grew 4.2% to $224.1 million, with comparable store sales up 4.7% in the quarter. Additionally, Buckle saw a 5.4% rise in online sales.
Further, the company’s gross margin expanded 170 basis points, owing to better merchandise margin and reduced occupancy, buying and distribution costs (as a percentage of sales). Notably, Buckle ended the quarter with total cash and investments of $261.5 million, up from $241.8 million as of Nov 3, 2018. The solid performance, together with Buckle’s prudent capital expenditures, highlight its favorable financial position, which led to the aforementioned dividend announcement.
Apart from this, the company is keen on bolstering performance through store expansions, efficient merchandising and meaningful advertising. These factors, along with constant shareholder-friendly moves, are likely to keep investors positive about Buckle. The company also named Angie J. Klein as a new member of its board of directors, yesterday.
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