Zumiez’s Quarter: Good Result, Same Concerns Everybody Else Has

Zumiez filed its 10Q yesterday for the quarter ended April 30. It was a pretty good quarter compared to the same quarter the previous year. Sales were up almost 19% to $106 million on a comparable store sales increase of 12.6%. The number of comparable store transactions increased but dollars per transaction fell. They also opened a net of nine new stores during the quarter, including their first two in Canada. They have opened a total of 30 since the first quarter of 2010.

Private label represented 18% of revenues for fiscal 2010. They don’t provide that information by quarter. Shoes are 23% of sales. They indicated that they carry around 400 brands in total at some time during the year, and that 200 of those are “brands of size.” Don’t know how big you have to be to be one of the 200.

 Ecommerce sales represented 6.2% of those sales, or $6.56 million. For the same quarter last year, they were 3.1% of sales or $2.76 million. That’s an increase of about 151%.
The gross profit margin increased from 28.6% to 31.6%. About half that increase is the result of not having the costs of relocating their distribution center that they had last year. Most of the rest is from spreading their costs over that 12.6% comparable store sales increase.
Selling, general and administrative expenses rose from $28.8 million to $30.9 million, but fell as a percentage of sales from 32.3% to 29.2%. The decline was due to sales growing faster than those expenses, which they should. Net income went from a loss of $1.9 million in last year’s quarter to a profit of $1.88 million.
The balance is strong, with cash up, equity increased, and no long term debt. Inventory was more or less flat compared to a year ago. Nice to see that on rising sales. They expect to grow their inventory more slowly than sales for the rest of the year.
Zumiez’s biggest concerns are the two that all companies in our industry have. Those would be, first, “…fluctuations and volatility in the price of cotton, foreign labor costs and other raw materials used in the production of our merchandise.” They see a 10% to 15% increase in the price of the cotton based products in their business in the second half of this year. They point out that about half their products are not heavily cotton based.
The second are general economic conditions and consumer receptiveness to higher prices that may result as they selectively pass through higher costs. “Yes we have some confidence but how our competitors react and how the consumer is feeling will ultimately dictate on whether our price increases will be received at the consumer level.”
Some of those price increases have already started. “We’ve taken areas that we felt like we had high confidence that we could raise prices and we did raise prices and we’ve really not seen any velocity slowdown. I will say it’s not broad-based price increases and they’re strategic and they’re areas that, again, we felt had a higher level of confidence we would have success and we did have success.”
They highlighted in the conference call that their inventories were “…some of the cleanest we’ve had in a long time…” and note that they had “…more full priced selling this year versus last year.”
They also credit fresh product and unique brands for their success, but I kind of want to highlight the inventory thing. I think clean inventories are a way to sell at a better margin with lower investment and expense. Even if you give up a few sales, you end up better off at the bottom line. So thanks, Zumiez, for making my speech for me.
There’s enough market volatility and uncertainty looking forward that Zumiez isn’t offering any sales or earnings guidance beyond the current quarter. That says a lot about what things are like out there.
Well, we’re all going to wait and see what the world economy brings us. Zumiez, while it waits with the rest of us, will just continue to apply the business model they’ve developed over many years. It’s not just that they evolved a model which has been validated by events, but that they’ve been consistent in applying it that has them so well positioned.



2 replies
  1. Tim Piumarta
    Tim Piumarta says:

    >>> “jeff harbaugh” 5/24/2011 11:16 AM >>>

    Good morning. Zumiez increased their sales and gross margin to generate a profit after a loss in the same quarter next year. There’s nothing much new in the business model they’ve worked for years, but they have the same concerns we all have about product inflation and the economy. Read all about it!

    Thank you for your interest.

    ____Um, after a loss in the same quarter next year???

    • jeff
      jeff says:

      Opps. It’s possible I meant last year. At least I didn’t say it in the article, and I can’t go back and change the email. Oh well. Thanks for telliing me.


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