Five Below, Inc. ( FIVE Quick Quote FIVE - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results, wherein the top line met the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while the bottom line surpassed the same. Notably, both net sales and earnings per share improved year over year. However, this specialty value retailer witnessed a decline in comparable sales. Management had earlier informed that six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas hurt comparable sales performance. Certainly, the company remain concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, and in response it has decided to keep stores closed from today evening till March 31st. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company also decided not to provide first quarter or fiscal 2020 view. The company’s commitment toward enhancing customer experience via refresh store format, remodel program and Ten Below test is commendable. Moreover, it has been focusing on enhancing merchandise assortment, improving supply chain, strengthening digital capabilities, delivering better WOW products and reimagined front-end. Let’s Delve Deeper The quarterly earnings of $1.97 per share, improved 23.9% from $1.59 reported in the year-ago period. The company highlighted that the fourth quarter of both fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018 include benefit from share-based accounting of approximately 1 cent. Excluding the same, earnings came in at $1.96 per share, up 24.1% year over year. The bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.94. Meanwhile, net sales grew 14% to $687.1 million from the year-ago quarter, and came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Comparable sales fell 2.2% during the quarter under review following an increase of 2.9% in the preceding period and 4.4% in the year-ago quarter. The company registered 3.6% decline in comp transactions, partly offset by 1.4% rise in comp average ticket.
Gross profit grew 18.5% year over year to $289.1 million due to higher sales. Again, gross margin expanded 160 basis points to 42.1% on account of improvement in merchandise margins, lower incentive compensation and distribution efficiencies, partly offset by deleverage in store occupancy costs.
We note that SG&A expenses rose 13.7% to $145 million, while as a percentage of net sales the same decreased 10 basis points to 21.1%. Operating income came in at $144.1 million, up 23.7%, while operating margin expanded 165 basis points to 21%. Financials Five Below ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $202.5 million and short-term investment securities of $59.2 million. Notably, the company had no debt. Total shareholders’ equity was $759.8 million at the end of the reported quarter. During fiscal 2019, the company bought back approximately 338,000 shares at a total cost of about $37 million. Management incurred capital expenditure of approximately $212 million in fiscal 2019. Store Updates During the quarter under review, Five Below opened six new stores. This took the total count to 900 stores in 36 states, reflecting an increase of 20% from the year-ago period store count. The company has opened 150 new stores in fiscal 2019 compared to 125 net new stores opened in the prior year. The company remodeled 50 stores during fiscal 2019. 3 Stocks You Can’t Miss Build-A-Bear Workshop BBW has a long-term earnings growth rate of 9% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here DICK'S Sporting Goods DKS has a long-term earnings growth rate of 5.9% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Costco COST has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.4% and a Zacks Rank #2. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $775 billion by 2024 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Our recent biotech recommendations have produced gains of +50%, +83% and +164% in as little as 2 months. The stocks in this report could perform even better. See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>