Five Below, Inc. (FIVE - Free Report) reported third-quarter fiscal 2019 results, wherein both the top and the bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Although net sales continued to improve year over year, earnings per share declined from the year-ago period. Nonetheless, results exceeded management’s expectations.
This specialty value retailer sustained comparable sales momentum with rate of growth accelerating on a sequential basis. Impressive performance prompted management to lift the low end of fiscal 2019 sales and earnings view.
Consequently, shares of this Philadelphia, PA based-company were up 5.6% during the after-market trading session on Dec 4. However, we note that this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has declined 7.2% against the industry’s rally of 2.5% in the past three months.
Although this teen and tween retailer did well in the quarter under review, new round of tariffs that may go into effect on Dec 15 are likely take a toll. The company’s fourth-quarter projection, which is below the current Zacks Consensus Estimate, is the testimony to same.
Nonetheless, management remains committed toward enhancing customer shopping experience via refresh store format, reimagined front-end, remodel program and new Ten Below Gift Shop section. The company is focusing on improving supply chain and delivering better WOW products.
Let’s Delve Deeper
The quarterly earnings of 18 cents a share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny and surpassed management’s guided range of 14-17 cents. However, it came below the prior-year reported figure of 24 cents, which includes share-based accounting benefit of approximately 2 cents. Higher cost of goods sold and SG&A expenses might have hurt the bottom line.
Meanwhile, net sales grew 20.7% to $377.4 million from the year-ago quarter. The top line also outdid the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $374 million, following a miss in the preceding two quarters.
Comparable sales rose 2.9% during the quarter under review following an increase of 1.4% in the preceding period and 4.8% in the year-ago quarter. The company registered 1% improvement in transactions and 1.9% increase in comp ticket. Comparable sales performance came above management’s expectation of 2-3%.
Gross profit grew 16.3% year over year to $118.7 million due to higher sales. However, gross margin contracted 120 basis points to 31.4% on account of net unmitigated tariff costs and the shift of other merchandise costs to the third quarter from the second.
We note that SG&A expenses rose 22.5% to $106 million, while as a percentage of net sales the same increased 40 basis points to 28.1% owing to depreciation expenses associated with opening of new Southeast distribution center and adoption of the new lease accounting standard.
Operating income came in at $12.7 million, down 18.4%, while operating margin shrunk 160 basis points to 3.4%. The company envisions operating margin to increase more than 100 basis points in the fourth quarter but deleverage slightly in fiscal 2019.
Five Below ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $77.5 million and short-term investment securities of $54.1 million. Notably, the company had no debt. Total shareholders’ equity was $645.4 million at the end of the reported quarter.
During the quarter, the company bought back approximately 191,367 shares at a total cost of about $20.3 million. Management expects to incur capital expenditure of approximately $210 million in fiscal 2019.
During the quarter under review, the company opened 61 new stores. This took the total count to 894 stores in 36 states, reflecting an increase of 20% from the year-ago period store count. Since the end of the third quarter, the company has opened six stores thereby attaining its planned target of opening 150 new stores for the fiscal year.
Five Below remains on track to complete 50 remodels during fiscal 2019. The company expects to remodel approximately 300 stores in the next few years with greater percentage of remodels next year compared to current fiscal year.
Five Below now envisions fiscal 2019 net sales in the range of $1.877-$1.892 billion with comparable sales expected to improve 2.5%. We note that fiscal 2018 net sales came in at $1,559.6 million, while comparable sales rose 3.9%. Management now projects earnings between $3.11 and $3.19 per share, which is up from $2.66 reported in fiscal 2018, which includes share-based accounting benefit of approximately 9 cents.
The company had earlier forecast net sales in the band of $1.872-$1.892 billion and earnings between $3.08 and $3.19 per share.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2019 sales and earnings is currently pegged at $1.89 billion and $3.16, respectively.
For the fourth quarter, management anticipates net sales between $717 million and $732 million and comparable sales growth of 2-3%. We note that fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 net sales came in at $602.7 million, while comparable sales improved 4.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter sales currently stands at $734.2 million.
The company forecasts fourth-quarter earnings in the range of $1.97-$2.05, the mid-point of which — $2.01 — is above the prior-year reported figure of $1.59 but below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.02.
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