Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Earnings call: Oxford Industries reports steady Q3 growth amid headwinds

Investing.com - Financial Markets Worldwide

Please try another search

Published Dec 08, 2023 07:56AM ET

Earnings call: Oxford Industries reports steady Q3 growth amid headwinds © Reuters.

Oxford Industries (NYSE:), the apparel conglomerate, has delivered a robust financial report for the third quarter of fiscal 2023. Despite a challenging retail landscape, the company achieved low single-digit sales growth, underpinned by the strength of its brand portfolio and their appeal to consumers. The period saw strategic moves including the opening of the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort and the launch of a new Johnny Was website. While the company navigates a cautious consumer environment, it has managed to maintain healthy traffic and robust full-price sales, alongside growing its customer base. With a solid cash flow of $169 million year-to-date and reduced inventory levels, Oxford Industries looks to the final quarter with a mix of optimism and caution, adjusting its guidance in anticipation of potential headwinds.

Key Takeaways

  • Oxford Industries experienced low single-digit sales growth in Q3.
  • The opening of Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort and the new Johnny Was website were key highlights.
  • The company maintained healthy traffic and strong full-price selling, with an increase in active and new customers.
  • Year-to-date cash flow from operations reached $169 million, and inventory levels decreased year-over-year.
  • Oxford Industries anticipates sales growth in the days leading up to Christmas but expects challenges in its wholesale business for spring 2024.
  • Adjusted gross margin improved to 64%, with adjusted operating income at $21 million, including $1 million from Johnny Was.
  • Full-year net sales are projected to be between $1.57 billion and $1.59 billion, with an adjusted EPS between $10.10 and $10.30.
  • The company plans to increase sales in Q4 with higher gross margins and more direct-to-consumer sales, aiming to reduce debt and achieve a positive cash flow of over $200 million in 2023.

Company Outlook

Looking ahead, Oxford Industries is moderating its Q4 guidance due to anticipated challenges in its wholesale business. However, the company is poised for a sales increase during the pre-Christmas rush. For the full year, the company expects net sales to range between $1.57 billion and $1.59 billion. Adjusted operating margin is projected to be around 14%, with a modest gross margin expansion despite increased selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses quarter-over-quarter. The company is also planning for a positive cash flow exceeding $200 million and aims to reduce its outstanding debt.

Bearish Highlights

The company faces headwinds due to cautious purchasing decisions for spring 2024, which may affect the wholesale business. Additionally, the food and beverage segment experienced a downturn due to the impact of the Maui wildfires, with notable closures and remodels affecting revenue.

Bullish Highlights

Despite the broader market challenges, Oxford Industries reported strong performance in its food and beverage locations and achieved an increase in adjusted gross margin, driven by higher margin sales and decreased inventory markdowns. The company also noted mid single-digit growth in active customer count and retention rates, indicating a strong consumer base.


The company recorded a 3% decline in revenue in the food and beverage segment, although it was partly offset by a 1% increase in the same category. This decline was attributed to the closure and remodeling of locations in Hawaii.

QA Highlights

During the Q&A session, executives addressed the steady performance of the food and beverage business and reaffirmed their commitment to a consistent promotional philosophy. They highlighted the growth in active and new customer counts, while also noting that average annual spend has remained flat. The company remains satisfied with high retention rates, despite the decline in conversion rates between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels.

In conclusion, Oxford Industries’ third-quarter report paints a picture of a company that is navigating market challenges with strategic initiatives and operational efficiencies. With a focus on brand strength, customer engagement, and financial prudence, the company is charting a course through a complex retail environment.

InvestingPro Insights

Oxford Industries, known for its high-quality apparel, has demonstrated resilience in a volatile market. The company’s ability to yield a high return on invested capital is a testament to its efficient use of resources, which is particularly noteworthy given the current economic climate. This strength is reflected in the company’s gross profit margins, which have been impressive, showcasing Oxford Industries’ capability to maintain profitability amidst cost pressures.

InvestingPro Tips for Oxford Industries highlight two key aspects: the company has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years and operates with a high return on assets. These indicators suggest that the company not only rewards its shareholders but also efficiently translates its asset base into earnings. For investors seeking detailed analysis and additional tips, there are 12 more InvestingPro Tips available, which can be found at https://www.investing.com/pro/OXM.

InvestingPro Data provides a snapshot of the company’s financial health. As of the last twelve months ending Q3 2024, Oxford Industries boasts a Market Cap of 1480 million USD. The company has also experienced a Revenue Growth of 16.6%, a clear sign of its expanding operations. Moreover, the Gross Profit Margin stands at a robust 63.02%, which is indicative of the company’s ability to manage its cost of goods sold effectively.

For those interested in a deeper dive into Oxford Industries’ financials and strategic insights, InvestingPro offers an array of metrics and expert analysis. Currently, there’s a special Cyber Monday sale on InvestingPro subscriptions, offering discounts of up to 60%. Additionally, using the coupon code sfy23 grants an extra 10% off a 2-year InvestingPro+ subscription, providing investors with an invaluable tool for making informed decisions.

Full transcript – Oxford Industries Inc (OXM) Q3 2023:

Operator: Greetings. Welcome to Oxford Industries, Inc. Third Quarter Fiscal 2023 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation [Operator Instructions]. Please note this conference is being recorded. I would now turn the conference over to your host, Brian Smith of Oxford Industries. You may begin.

Brian Smith: Thank you, and good afternoon. Before we begin, I would like to remind participants that certain statements made on today’s call and in the Q&A session may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results of operations or our financial condition to differ are discussed in our press release issued earlier today and in documents filed by us with the SEC, including the Risk Factors contained in our Form 10-K. We undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statements. During this call, we will be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures. You can find a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP financial measures in our press release issued earlier today, which is posted under the Investor Relations tab of our Web site at oxfordinc.com. And now I’d like to introduce today’s call participants. With me today are Tom Chubb (NYSE:), Chairman and CEO; and Scott Grassmyer, CFO and COO. Thank you for your attention. And now I’d like to turn the call over to Tom Chubb.

Tom Chubb: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I want to spend just a few minutes talking about the third quarter, then move to our expectations and plans for the fourth quarter and finally give you a bit of a sneak preview on our plans for 2024. We are pleased to be reporting solid results for the third quarter of fiscal 2023. Our results reflect low single digit sales growth, inclusive of the comps that were down low single digits, which come on top of a 12% positive comp in the third quarter of last this year. While the consumer has clearly become more judicious in their discretionary spending, we believe our performance, especially on a two year stack basis compares favorably to our peer group. Despite a more difficult backdrop, we delivered these results as our people have remained focused on leveraging our strong brands to deliver clear and consistent messages that inspire and resonate with customers, creating strong desire for our products and services. A great example of this during the third quarter includes the opening of the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California. This jewel box resort in the Coachella Valley leverages the credibility that Tommy Bahama has built over nearly 30 years in the hospitality space through our very popular restaurants and bars, as well as the overall strength of Tommy Bahama as one of America’s premier lifestyle brands. The resort will have a meaningful impact on reinforcing and even strengthening the lifestyle positioning of the Tommy Bahama brand, ultimately helping us reach new customers, retain existing ones and increase the engagement of all customers, while at the same time, generating meaningful but modest royalty income over time. Another great example of leveraging the strength our brands to drive business results in the third quarter was the launch of the gorgeous new Johnny Was Web site. You will recall that the new website layers the exquisite Johnny Was imagery, brand messaging and product on the best-in-class Lilly Pulitzer e-commerce technology that we have implemented over the last several years. The new Web site, combined with the change in digital marketing agencies, has us very excited about our ability to grow our Johnny Was web business going forward. As a result of these and many other activities by our brands, our traffic and full price selling remained healthy during the quarter, and we were actually able to expand adjusted gross margin. In addition, our active customer count and our new customer add rate both increased mid single digits versus last year while average annual spend has remained roughly flat. All of these metrics are extraordinarily positive indicators of the strength of our brands. Finally, Scott will provide more details in a minute. But I would be remiss if I did not call out the strength of our cash flow from operations, which was $169 million on a year-to-date basis, our balance sheet and the fact that we were able to actually reduce inventory on a year-over-year basis during the quarter. Moving on to the fourth quarter. We are excited about our plans and our opportunities in a market that remains somewhat uneven. Our DTC business got off to a bit of a sluggish start in early November and then posted strong results during the very important Thanksgiving weekend. As you are aware, this year’s calendar provides the longest possible selling period between Thanksgiving and Christmas at 32 days. Not surprisingly, business since the middle of the week following Thanksgiving has been choppy. History indicates that when we have a calendar like this year’s, we can expect a dramatic ramp up in sales during the 10 to 12 days before Christmas. We expect to see that ramp up this year and we are excited about the plans we have in each of our brands to capitalize on that opportunity. With respect to our wholesale business, we do expect to experience some headwinds during the fourth quarter. Our brands and products continue to perform very well at our key wholesale partners. However, due to the uncertain consumer environment, wholesale accounts have become more cautious in their purchasing for spring of 2024, and therefore, spring bookings are down as the result of this caution, not because of performance. Given that many of our early spring orders typically shift during the last month of each fiscal year, we expect some softness in our fourth quarter wholesale business. Scott will provide more detail in a minute. But as a result of the wholesale situation and the uneven direct to consumer market, in the interest of caution, we are moderating our guidance for the fourth quarter. Moving beyond this year, we are extremely excited about our developing plans for 2024 and beyond. While it is too early for us to give our initial forecast for 2024, we would like to give you a sneak peek at some of our key plans. We believe that the most likely scenario for the economy is a soft landing. And in the absence of a broad macroeconomic setback, we believe that we can continue to leverage our incredible brands to inspire customers and generate the demand for our brands and services that will drive growth in our business. Year-to-date, we have increased our store count by net 17 stores through the first three quarters and expect another five openings during the fourth quarter. Most of the openings happened in the back half of the year. And given the timing and typical post opening ramp up period, we will not see the full benefit of these stores until fiscal 2024. On top of this, we will also realize the full benefit from the upgrades that we have made to the Johnny Was e-commerce business, which were completed in the third quarter of this year in 2024. In addition to annualizing the impact of many of our 2023 activities, we also plan to continue to fuel future growth with projects that we have planned for 2024. First, we plan to increase our store count by more than 25 net new stores with Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer returning to more of a pre-pandemic store opening cadence. We are particularly excited about the six Marlin Bars slated for the next 12 months, which includes our Winter Park, Florida location scheduled to open in January. We also anticipate meaningful openings for both Johnny Was and our Emerging Brands where we have opportunities for continued retail growth. The preopening activities associated with these stores, particularly the five Marlin Bars, will put some pressure on 2024 operating margins. But having these stores in place will fuel our growth trajectory in 2025 and beyond. We are also excited about the potential to utilize our Emerging Brands Group platform as a vehicle for growth. The platform has evolved nicely and we have proven its ability to support smaller brands in their growth and development. The Beaufort Bohnett Company is a great example. Since we acquired TBBC in 2017, it has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 23%. Another great example is Duck Head, an iconic brand with an iconic product and over 150 years of history. This brand was all but out of business when we bought it. And since adding it to our platform, we relaunched and rebuilt the brand into a rapidly growing profitable business with sales in the excess of $10 million and meaningful potential. We are constantly on the lookout for more opportunities like these. Finally, we are enhancing our long term distribution capabilities by building an expanded, modern, automated distribution center near our existing facility in Lyons, Georgia. The target is to complete this project during 2025. Once complete, it will increase our annual shipping capacity from 7 million units to over 20 million units, with potential to grow to 30 million units with some additional equipment investment. The project will have numerous significant benefits to the enterprise and will help continue to drive future growth. First, the cost per unit of handling and shipping a unit in this facility will continue to be highly competitive with greater automation. Secondly, it will give us the additional capacity that we need to service the concentration of stores that we have in Florida and elsewhere in the Eastern part of the country, giving us the ability to optimize inventory better by replenishing stores more quickly and more frequently. Finally, it will allow us to serve more of our web customers in the eastern part of the country better by getting products into their hands more quickly. All of these activities, in addition to the others that we will talk about in March when we provide our initial forecast for the year, promise to help fuel growth in 2024 and beyond. None of what we have accomplished during 2023 or planned for 2024 would be possible without our wonderful and dedicated team of people. And during this holiday season, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all that they do. And now, I’ll turn the call over to Scott for additional comments on our results for the third quarter and forecast for the balance of the year. Scott?

Scott Grassmyer: Thank you, Tom. As Tom mentioned, we are pleased to report another solid quarter that is within our guidance range. In a challenging macroeconomic environment for the consumer, our operating groups executed well going up against DTC comps of 12% in the third quarter of 2022. Consolidated net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2023 were $327 million, which included $49 million of sales for Johnny Was as compared to $23 million in the six weeks we owned Johnny Was last year, and a slight decline on a organic basis, resulting and 4% growth above last year’s third quarter net sales of $313 million. In aggregate, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and Emerging Brands had decreases of 2% in full price bricks and mortar, 3% in full price e-commerce and 9% in wholesale sales. Despite a decline of 3% year-over-year, the performance of our food and beverage locations remained strong with the decreases driven by remodels and closures resulting from the Maui wildfires. We were able to expand adjusted gross margin 60 basis points to 64% compared to 63.4% last year, are lowering inventory balances across all operating growth over the same time period. The increase in adjusted gross margin was driven by a full quarter of higher margin sales from Johnny Was compared to a partial quarter last year, a decrease in inventory markdowns, an increase in direct-to-consumer sales in Emerging Brands and decreased freight cost. These were partially offset by decreased Lilly Pulitzer full price e-commerce sales. Adjusted SG&A expenses were $191 million compared $171 million last year. This increase was largely driven by an incremental $17 million of SG&A associated with the Johnny Was business, which we own for the full third quarter of ’23 versus a partial third quarter in 2022. Result of all this yielded $21 million of adjusted operating income or a 7% operating margin compared to $32 million in 2022. The $21 million of operating income included $1 million of incremental operating income for Johnny Was, driven by a full quarter of ownership this year. The decrease in operating income reflects our planned SG&A investments in our people and business. We also saw modest declines in revenue from our licensing partners. Moving beyond operating income, we incurred more interest expense as a result of higher interest rates and higher average debt levels, but benefited from a lower effective tax rate due to certain discrete items that have a larger impact on our tax rate in the third quarter, given our lower earnings than in other fiscal quarters. With all this, we achieved $1.01 of adjusted EPS, solidly within our guidance range. I’ll now move on to our balance sheet, beginning with inventory. Our inventories decreased by 4% or $9 million year-over-year on a FIFO basis, while being able to expand adjusted gross margin. Inventory decreased in all operating groups resulting from our continued inventory discipline. Over the last 12 months, we used our robust cash flow to significantly repay our borrowings used to fund the Johnny Was acquisition. Our borrowings increased slightly in the third quarter, which has historically been a cash use quarter given our lower earnings compared to other fiscal quarters. We finished the quarter with $66 million of borrowings under our revolving credit facility, down from $119 million of borrowings at the beginning of the year. Our $169 million of cash flow from operations in the first nine months of 2023 compared to $86 million in the first nine months last year allowed us to reduce outstanding debt by $53 million since the beginning of fiscal 2023, while also funding $54 million of capital expenditures, $31 million of dividends and $20 million of share repurchases. We expect strong cash flow for the rest of the year and anticipate repaying additional debt in the fourth quarter. I’ll now spend some time on our outlook for the remainder of 2023. As Tom mentioned, we are moderating our full year view to reflect the impact of continued hesitancy shown by consumers in the third and fourth quarters. For the full year, we now expect net sales to be between $1.57 billion and $1.59 billion, growth of 11% to 13% compared to sales of $1.41 billion in 2022. The planned increase in sales in the 53 week 2023 includes the benefit of the full year of Johnny Was as well as growth in our existing brands in the low single digit range, driven by increases in our direct-to-consumer businesses and relatively flat sales in our wholesale channel. Our updated guidance reflects decreases in comp store sales in the low single digit range and a softened wholesale outlook. We still anticipate modest gross margin expansion for the full year of 2023, including in the fourth quarter. The higher sales year-over-year and modestly higher gross margins are expected to be offset by increased SG&A, which is expected to grow at a rate higher than sales in each quarter of 2023, although at a rate in the fourth quarter that is more similar to the third quarter than the first two quarters. Building on our efforts in the third quarter, we will continue to scrub the income statement and prudently trim expenses where appropriate while continuing to invest and help build for the future. Finally, we expect royalty income in the fourth quarter to be comparable to the prior year. Considering all these items, we expect adjusted operating margin for the full year to be approximately 14%. Additionally, we anticipate higher interest expense at 6% for the full year after incurring almost $5 million of interest expense in the first nine months of the year. This compares to $3 million of interest expense in the full year 2022 when we had no debt outstanding until the third quarter acquisition of Johnny Was. We also expect a higher effective tax rate of approximately 24% compared to 23% in 2022. After considering these items, 2023 adjusted EPS is now expected to be between $10.10 and $10.30 versus adjusted EPS of $10.88 last year with the inclusion of a full year of profit from Johnny Was being offset by lower operating income in our existing businesses, increased effective tax rate and higher interest expense. After generating 9% comps in Q4 2022, we expect to increase sales in the high single digits in the fourth quarter due in part to the additional week in the quarter and our new brick and mortar locations, partially offset by lower comp store sales as discussed earlier and a softened wholesale outlook. We also spent modestly higher gross margins, a higher mix of direct-to-consumer sales and modest SG&A deleveraging as SG&A increases at a higher rate than sales. We further expect interest expense in the fourth quarter to be lower than the interest expense in the fourth quarter last year due to our significant reduction in debt during 2023 and a higher effective tax rate as the fourth quarter 2022 included certain favorable items that are not expected to repeat in the fourth quarter of the current year. Capital expenditures in fiscal 2023 are expected to be approximately $80 million compared to $47 million in fiscal 2022. This is lower than prior estimates due to certain CapEx for our fulfillment center project shifting from fiscal ’23 to fiscal ’24. As we mentioned last quarter, the planned CapEx increase includes spend associated with brick and mortar locations, including build out associated with approximately 35 locations across all brands, including two new Marlin Bars and approximately 10 new Johnny Was locations. A number of these our relocations and remodels, which along with a few store closures, should result in a net increase of full price stores of about 22 by the end of the year with approximately five net new locations in the fourth quarter. The spend associated with these brick and mortar locations represent about one half of the planned capital expenditure amounts for 2023. Additionally, we will also continue with our investments in our various technology systems initiatives. Finally, we anticipate limited initial capital spend in the fourth quarter related to our multiyear fulfillment center project that Tom highlighted earlier. We anticipate expenditures related to the project to continue in 2024 and 2025 with a substantial majority of the spend occurring in 2024. We expect total spend for the project to be approximately $130 million. We continue to have a very positive outlook on our cash and liquidity position as well after generating cash flow from operations of $126 million in 2022, which included a working capital increase of $85 million, we expect to increase our cash flow from operations significantly to a level well in excess of $200 million in 2023. This level of positive cash flow from operations provides ample cash flow to fund our capital expenditures, dividend, share repurchases and the continued reduction of our outstanding debt during the year. Although, SG&A investments will put pressure on 2023 margins, these actions will set the table well for mid to upper single digit top line growth, a long term operating margin target at or above 15%. Thank you for your time today. And now we’ll turn the call over for questions. [Shamila]?

Operator: Thank you. At this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session [Operator Instructions]. And our first question comes from the line of Edward Yruma with Piper Sandler.

Edward Yruma: I guess, first, with Tommy Bahama, we noticed you swapped out your traditional flip side with the gift and purchase [indiscernible] Lilly has used successfully. Would love to understand if you think that was part of the softness that you pointed to in direct to consumer? And then I guess just stepping back a little bit, I remember, I think, in the last quarter, you talked about some assortment issues and that some of the newer stuff was moving faster than some of the older stuff. I guess, did you see some of those trends persist?

Tom Chubb: First with respect to the — sort of the special offers around the Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend. If you look back at what we did last year, we actually didn’t have the flip side starting over that weekend. The last year that we did that, I believe was 2020. And since then, we pushed the start of the flip side out and sort of separated those events. The difference between last year’s weekend and this year’s was that last year, we had a couple of category wide discounts. So for example, I think we were 30% off on all Island Soft this year — last year. This year, we didn’t do that. We had a couple of special value items where we delivered some styles that were at very compelling prices, but it was just a handful. And then we did the gift with purchase, which was the beach chair with a $300 spend, which by the way, performed very, very well. We were very happy with the results that we got from that, both online and in-store, which is kind of unusual for gift with purchase for it to work in both channels. So we love that. And then other than that, Ed, we really have the same pack cards or gift cards that we’ve done for as long as I can remember though and then the flip side, which is similar in timing to where it’s been the last couple of years. So what I would tell you is we’re really less promotional in Tommy than we were last year. And then yes, on the newness question, I would say really across the brands, all the brands, newness is more compelling to consumers this here. They want to see new. They loaded up on a lot of stuff over the last couple of pandemic years in their loving newness. Fortunately, we’ve got a lot of it for them. So I think we’re pretty well positioned from that standpoint.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Ashley Owens with KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Ashley Owens: So just first, you called out some choppiness around the business so far in 4Q. Just curious if you’ve seen any different behavior among consumers shopping brick and mortar versus e-commerce, and then any variances you’re seeing between each brand?

Tom Chubb: Between what?

Ashley Owens: Between each of…

Tom Chubb: Yes, between brick and mortar and e-commerce. I think the big theme, Ashley, to us is really that conversion rates are coming down. That’s the big difference. Traffic generally, it’s going to defer a little bit among the different brands and the channels. But the big theme to me this year and this is where you see the caution or the more judicious spending by the consumer come into play is that the conversion rates have come down a bit from where they would have been a year ago.

Ashley Owens: And then just second real quick. Emerging Brands, you’ve seen some strength within that segment during the year, and you’ve opened a couple of stores there. Just kind of an overview of where you think you are in your store rollout potential within Emerging Brands and how you’re thinking about that opportunity longer term?

Tom Chubb: So I think we’ve got — in the Emerging Brands group, at this point, we have three brands where we’ve got — where we own 100% of the business and they’re part of our reporting and those three are Southern Tide, The Beauford Bonnet Company and Duck Head. Two of those brands currently have stores open. Southern Tide’s up to 15 now, I think, with plans to add more. And Beauford Bonnet Company, we’ve got three open now and a couple more on the drawing board. We’re still in the early stages with those. We like what we see but we want to make the formula right. But then assuming that we can do that and have a retail formula that works well, and we very much believe we can in both of those brands then I think they could have a similar number of stores that you see in Lilly Pulitzer pretty easily. I think, geographically, their strength is going to mirror Lilly Pulitzer’s pretty closely. They’re similarly positioned from sort of a price point and where they sit in the market standpoint. So I think seeing a Lilly number and thinking 75, 80 stores longer term, I think, is very easy to get your head around. All of course caveated with we want to make sure we’ve got a retail formula that delivers good cash return on cash invested.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Dana Telsey with Telsey Advisory Group.

Dana Telsey: Tom, Scott, as you think about the current environment and what you saw, how much of what’s happening is the external environment with the brands, how much of it do you see product enhancements coming on the way that should help accelerate sales growth? And on the wholesale channel, which I’ve always thought of as very small for you, how do you see the go forward there and what opportunities are to stabilize that business?

Tom Chubb: So with respect to the first question, I mean, Dana, I don’t want to sound like we’re the kind of company that always points the finger at external factors and never looks within, with the first place we always look is what could we do better. And we’ve got a list that’s six pages long of things that we will — lessons that we’ve learned from this year that we’ll incorporate into next year and try to improve things. But I honestly believe the biggest factor is the external market conditions. And I don’t think we’re unique in this at all. I think if you look across the space and the companies that we would really think of as peers, I think that most of them are seeing similar trends. I think the biggest factor really is the more cautious and more judicious consumer. That said, again, we are looking internally and looking at ways that we can improve. And we do that every year, whether business is good or whether it’s not so good, we’re always looking at the ways that we can improve. And we’ve definitely seen as we commented in response to Ed’s question that newness is selling really well and innovation is selling really well. We think we’re good at that and we will be sure that we continue to do that. And then with regard to wholesale, Dana, we don’t really think we’ve lost any position at all. And where we have good data on it, our performance at retail, our sell through, if you will and our natural gross margin, has been quite good, it’s simply that the retailers have sort of pulled back a bit for spring and we’re feeling the effect of that. From a brand health standpoint, we don’t really mind that, because we’d rather not have them be over inventoried. But I think what’s going to happen is they’re going to get into spring and they’re going to be chasing inventory. And of course, we’ll do what we can to help. But I’m guessing there’s going to be a little bit of demand left on the table.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Mauricio Serna with UBS.

Mauricio Serna: Just wanted to check on the fourth quarter sales outlook. What does it imply for the — just want to double check like what does it imply for the comp sales growth of the business and how much you expect the additional week to contribute to sales growth? And then lastly, on the commentary on the outlook, I think, you mentioned something about — you expect some pressure on margins in fiscal year ’24, because of the investments in store openings. So I don’t know if that means we should assume like on top of where like the 14% margin that you expect for ’23, we could expect another year of operating margin compression?

Tom Chubb: So I’ll start with the first one. I don’t think it necessarily means that we’re going to see compression in the operating margin. It’s just that we’ll have some headwinds to the margin. There will be things that help us in that regard, too, including annualizing all the stores that we’ve opened this year, the Johnny Was Web site. I think back half probably improvement in the wholesale market. So I don’t know that I’d jump to that yet. I’ll let Scott elaborate on that. And then with regard to the fourth quarter outlook that is a good question, because we actually — it’s not just the comp, there’s the 53rd week and there’s the wholesale situation, and I’ll let Scott also sort of try to bridge that gap for you.

Scott Grassmyer: Mauricio, remember, we mentioned we’re going to open six Marlin Bars next year. One of them is going to open at the very beginning of the year. It’s one that we thought we’d get in January, it’s pushing out. But the other five will have significant preopening. You’ve got preopening rents starting about seven months before you actually open, so when you have that many of them. But again, we’re going to have the benefit of the 24 stores that hopefully help neutralize that. As far as the 53rd week, we’re going to be somewhere in that $25 million range in top line for that additional week. In our comps, we’ve got low single digit comps in our fourth quarter plan. And then we’ve got the new units we have this year that hopefully will contribute around 10 million in the fourth quarter.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Paul Lejuez with Citi.

Tracy Kogan: It’s Tracy Kogan filling in for Paul. I think you guys were talking about conversion earlier, and I think you had mentioned last call that you had seen a slowdown in August driven by conversion. I was just wondering how your overall trends wound up going through the rest of the quarter? And did conversion decelerate from there from what you were seeing in August or did it kind of stabilized? And then also, what was your AUR for the quarter?

Tom Chubb: So with respect to the conversion, Tracy, I think, it’s a little bit more of a continuation really of what we were seeing in August. If you want to get super granular about it, I’m sure we can parse out some differences. But I think it’s really that same phenomenon that we were seeing in August. And just to be clear, it’s not like conversions dropping through the floor, it’s just lower than last year. And when you look at comp sales that’s really a function of traffic conversion and then how much they’re spending, and trying to give you a good flavor, clear flavor of what’s going on. Among those levers, it’s really the conversion that’s pulling the numbers down a bit. And then on AUR, Brian or…

Brian Smith: Yes, it’s holding pretty flat…

Tracy Kogan: I was just going to ask what your 4Q guidance assumes for the promotional environment. Are you assuming an increase in promotions relative to last year?

Tom Chubb: You mean for us or for the market in general…

Tracy Kogan: I guess both.

Tom Chubb: Yes, I think for us, we’re very consistent. We walked ahead through the whole cadence of promotions with Tommy Bahama. But I would say across the board, we’re consistent with last year. We’ve mixed things up a little bit, not every event is exactly apples-to-apples.

Scott Grassmyer: And we did mention we expect some very modest gross margin expansion and that’s a little more mix oriented with the direct consumer being a bit higher. But overall margin should hold well, which means promotions should be pretty much in line with last year.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jeff Lick with B. Riley Financial.

Jeff Lick: I was just wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on the food and beverage, coming in at 23, obviously, Hawaii and then you mentioned remodels had an impact. I was just wondering if you can maybe reconcile, like how much of an impact that might have been? And then, obviously, Tommy appears to be the standout in terms of sales. I was just curious if you maybe unpack a little bit of where that came from, did you continue to see good growth in women’s? Just any help there would be appreciated.

Tom Chubb: I’ll start with the women’s, because boy, that’s a great story that we’ve had this year. Jeff, we always look at that with our direct-to-consumer basis, because that’s the clean way to look at it. But in the third quarter, we were up from just under 30 last year to just under 35 this year, which we’re super excited. And year-to-date, we’re close to 38 from roughly 35 last year. So that’s a very good story. And then in terms of some of the remodeling and Hawaii impact, Scott?

Scott Grassmyer: Jeff, we were down 3% but we comped up 1% in food and beverage. We had about $1 million of top line impacted by both Lahaina being gone and then Mauna Lani, we had a major remodel. So it was closed a good part of the quarter. So overall, our food and beverage business has been very good. So we’ve been very pleased with that.

Tom Chubb: It’s also — I’ll just add, it’s been very steady. Scott and I were talking about this earlier today, but we haven’t had more than one or two days in a row that maybe we’re off a little bit, but it’s just been every day, we seem to just keep delivering in food and beverage, which is great.

Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Janine Stitcher with BTIG.

Janine Stitcher: Just another question on promotions. Understanding that the promotions are planned in Q4 pretty similar to last year. But I’d love to understand just if the environment remains promotional as we get into next year, your high level kind of philosophical thoughts just your willingness to flex more promotions to stay competitive? And then second for me, on active customers, you’ve grown them by a huge number over the last few years. So just any changes in retention of those customers or any habits of these more recent cohorts?

Tom Chubb: I think with respect to our promotional philosophy, I don’t think it will really change awful lot. I think we focus on keeping our brands relevant by making sure that they have very clear positions, that they make very clear and consistent brand messaging. And then it’s all about creating desire, Janine. As you know, what we sell is not something that people really need, it’s more of a want item. And that’s our number one job through our brands is to create that desire and then have the products that the desire can be the object of. And we’ve been through a lot of promotional cycles forever. And every year, the market is promotional. And we strongly believe, as we’ve demonstrated this year and in the third quarter, and I think we will in the fourth quarter, that we can remain very relevant and perform well relative to where the market is based on those branding activities. So that’s sort of our game plan there.

Janine Stitcher: And then just on active customers?

Tom Chubb: Active customers, as we said, our active customer count is up mid single digits for the trailing 12 months year-over-year. And our new customer add rate is also up mid single digits. So the health of our customer base, our ability to attract and retain remains quite good. And then as we mentioned in the prepared remarks, average annual spend is more or less flat.

Scott Grassmyer: And our retention rates are holding well, which is something that — we have a very high retention rate, and it’s been holding.

Tom Chubb: Yes, very healthy retention.

Operator: And we have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. I’ll now turn the call back over to Chairman and CEO, Tom Chubb, for closing remarks.

Tom Chubb: Okay. Thank you, [Shamila]. Thanks to all of you very much for your interest in our company. We wish you all a very happy holiday season, and we look forward to talking to you again next quarter. Take care until then.

Operator: And this concludes today’s conference and you may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More