The Buckle’s November 1st Quarter; Little Financial Change

For the quarter ended November 1, 2014, The Buckle’s revenues rose a little from $286.8 to $292.2 million. That’s a 1.9% increase over last year’s quarter.

The gross profit margin fell a little from 44% in last year’s quarter to 43.7%. In dollars it went up a little from $126.2 to $127.8 million.

Selling, General and Administrative expenses rose a little (1.7%) to $63.2 million. As a percentage of sales, selling expense stayed the same at 18.1% and general and administrative expense fell a little from 3.6% to 3.5%.

Operating income rose- you guessed it- a little, from $64.1 to $64.6 million.

Net income was up a really, really, really little (0.079%, or $32,000) to $40.6 million.

Well, these day holding your own isn’t the worst result we’re seeing among retailers in our industry.

The balance sheet is in good shape, with comparable store inventory down about 1.5% compared to a year ago. Net cash flow from operations was a positive $69.3 million in the three quarters of last fiscal year. It improved to $90.6 million this year. That’s more than a little. I like positive cash flow.

The company ended the quarter with 461 stores in 44 states, up from 452 stores in 42 states a year ago. So far this year, they’ve opened a net of 11 new stores and did what they call “substantial remodels” on 17. According to the conference call, plans presently call for 6 new stores next year and 10 of those substantial remodels. I’d love to hear something about the impact of the remodelings.

Comparable store sales were down 0.3% during the quarter. Online sales are not included in comparable store sales. They rose 3.7% during the quarter to $22.8 million compared to $22.0 million in last year’s quarter.

The conference call is short and not particularly intriguing either. Private label business, we hear, was 35% of revenues, the same as in last year’s quarter.

One analyst asked President and CEO Dennis Nelson “…about your philosophy on ecommerce versus stores.” I’d characterize his answer as noncommittal and understated.

“Well, we continue to look at new marketing and upgrading our staff and taking different approaches, so it is something we are not ignoring. We involve the merchandise teams continually more on that, so we would expect it to continue to have steady growth, and we have taken approach that it’s part of our business.”

While that isn’t the whole answer, you get the gist. Compare that to the soliloquy we’d get from Zumiez’s senior management in response to the same question. I’m not highlighting this as a problem. I doubt CEO Nelson’s answer encompasses his complete thinking about ecommerce. I hope not. But I do wish somebody had followed up and used the word “omnichannel” to see what response we’d gotten.

And that’s about it. I’d like to thank The Buckle for making this one easy for me, though I wouldn’t have minded a bit more information.