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Q2: 01-29-18 Earnings Summary
EPS of $0.19
Revenue of $333.8M (+ 1.7% Y/Y) misses by $-0.45M

Tuesday Morning Corporation (NASDAQ:) Q2 2018 Results Earnings Conference Call February 1, 2018 9:00 AM ET

Executives

Stacie Shirley – EVP, CFO Treasurer

Steven Becker – President CEO

Analysts

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley

Alex Silverman - Special Situations Fund

Ethan Steinberg - SG Capital

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Corporation second quarter 2018 results conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. [Operator Instructions]. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference call over to Stacie Shirley, CFO Officer. You may begin.

Stacie Shirley

Thank you operator and good morning everyone. I would like to welcome you all to our second quarter fiscal 2018 earnings conference call. Joining me on the call today is Chief Executive Officer, Steven Becker. If you have not received a copy of today's earnings release, you may obtain one by visiting the Investor Relations section of the Tuesday Morning website at tuesdaymorning.com.

Before we begin today's discussion, I would like to make you all aware that some of the information presented today may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied in the forward-looking statements. Information regarding the company's risk factors was included in our press release and is also included in our filings with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements made during this call speak only as of the date of this call.

Today's presentation will also include certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted EBITDA. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures used in this presentation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures can be found in the Investor Relations section of the Tuesday Morning website at tuesdaymorning.com.

Steve will provide an overview of the results and strategy and I will follow with a review of our financial results before we open the call to questions.

I will now turn the call over to Steve.

Steven Becker

Thank you, Stacie, and thank you everyone for joining us this morning for our second quarter call. For the quarter, we delivered sales of $334 million with positive comp growth of 1.8%. We remain pleased with the performance of our relocated stores and continue to work to improve topline performance across our store base. Throughout the peak season, we experienced significant improvement in our supply chain operations, benefiting from the management, personnel, systems and process changes that we have made. We have also continued to make solid strides of our working capital position with inventories down 12.5% versus last year and our overall inventory turns improving to 2.6 times versus last year's 2.4 times. Also of note, we ended the quarter with no outstanding balances under our revolver.

Overall, we continue to be pleased with our positioning in the retail sector and believe the evolving environment is opening up opportunities for Tuesday Morning to gain share. With our own capabilities improved, we are better positioned to capitalize on these opportunities. The closeout market continues to be very strong offering compelling deals for our buyers. We are actively adding more vendors, premium brands and deeply discounting merchandise across the stores. As is the nature of off-price, dislocation and disruption in the retail sector provides buying opportunities and open up new avenues for growth with our vendors. With department and specialty stores continuing to shrink square footage as well as others going out of business, the current deal environment is particularly strong.

For example, this quarter we had several significant buys of first-year brand-name toys due to the current issues in the toy market. Toys have been a strong category for us historically and we were happy to take advantage of these great buys and pass them on to our customers. We know that compelling deals keep our customers coming back. Our customer not only enjoys the treasure hunt but she comes to us as a destination for better and best products at incredible values.

With this in mind, we are making strides improving our marketing to engage with these customers as well as introduce our brand to new customers. Through our new brand messaging, both in-store as well as in our email, print and digital platforms, we are focused on improving customer engagement. As we go about our approach in other media channels beyond print, we are pleased with the results. Over the last 12 months, we have captured well over two million unique email addresses and have an above industry average email open rate.

Additionally, we are learning more about our customers and have grown our known customer files significantly. All of this has allowed us to improve our ability to drive traffic with email, which we believe over time will allow us to shift advertising dollars. We also continue to test other advertising and have been pleased with the early results. All of these efforts allow us to build stronger brand awareness and drive more traffic to our stores.

Turning now to our work with inventory management. As I noted, total inventories continued to be down year-over-year. Since the latter part of last year, we have removed significant dollars from our overall working capital needs with our move to process inventory on a FIFO basis and no longer hold large inventory reserves in our warehouse. This initiative, as well as continued refinement in how we buy, have led to meaningful improvements in the freshness of our store level inventory.

While we believe we are taking the right steps with our total inventory management, we have also embarked on a project to optimize our inventory level in a subset of our stores. So far, the initial results of this work has been encouraging and we believe there is opportunity to generate additional sales volume in these stores.

With regards to our supply chain, our distribution centers in Phoenix and Dallas handled peak and are continuing to effectively manage our supply and we are continuing to effectively manage our supply chain on a FIFO basis. We have continued to add more points of distribution with our Phoenix DC servicing 182 stores at the end of Q2 versus 151 at the end of Q1. By the end of this fiscal year, we expect to transition an additional 61 stores to our Phoenix DC. Clearly, this is great progress for our supply chain as we are now able to move more products through our more efficient distribution facility while taking pressure off of our Dallas distribution center.

As we have moved past the issues of last year and with our distribution network functioning more effectively, we are also in a position to begin evaluating next steps for our Dallas distribution center. As we have mentioned before, moving from our current facility has always been an opportunity. We just had to prioritize and sequence our initiatives and tackle the most critical ones first. We are actively looking at different possibilities and will keep you updated on any notable developments.

Finally, on the real estate front, we are on track to relocate 45 stores, open 15 and expand eight stores. We are going to have a busy spring with seven openings, five closures, 19 relocations and one expansion. The dislocation created by the evolving changes in the retail sector are creating many opportunities for us from a retail perspective, from real estate perspective. All of these changes will take time to fully shake out and we are patient being discerning about the deals we do and aggressive in our negotiations for new deals [or lease terminals] [ph].

As we look to the back half of this year, we are far better positioned than we were a year ago across every area of the business. Over the course of the last 12 months, we have made considerable management changes with many of our new leaders recently celebrating their first anniversary in their roles. I am proud of the team we have built and through these significant changes in the organization, we are seeing benefits internally and we feel good about our ability to continue to drive further improvement.

We remain focused on our goal to deliver improved gross margins for the second half and for the year we expect comp performance of 2% to 5%, as well as significant EBITDA improvement. Given our planned improvement for the second half and continued working capital discipline, we also continue to expect our fiscal year year-end net debt position to be flat to last year.

I will now turn the call over to Stacie to go through our results and outlook in more detail.

Stacie Shirley

Thank you Steve. Thank you. In the second quarter, net sales were $333.8 million, up approximately 1.7% from Q2 last year despite having 16 fewer stores in our store base. Comp sales increased 1.8% on top of the 3.8% increase in Q2 last year. Comp transactions increased 1.9% and average ticket decreased 0.1%.

Stores relocated over the last 12 months continued to be strong contributing approximately 340 basis points to comp sales in the quarter, driven by both better real estate and larger average store footprint. During the quarter we had three zero green card events versus last year, resulting in a headwind to our overall topline performance for Q2. As Steve discussed, we are expanding our focus to additional platforms to improve customer engagement and increase the effectiveness of our current marketing spend.

Gross profit was basically flat at $105.7 million, a decrease of $300,000 versus last year. Gross margin for the second quarter was 31.7% compared to last year's gross margin of 32.3%. As expected and discussed last quarter, gross margin decline year-over-year driven by a planned shift in our markdown cadence and was partially offset by continued improvements in IMU. Additionally, the amount of previously capitalized supply chain and freight costs recognized in this quarter was lower than the same period last year as a result of a decrease in costs incurred for both buying and supply chain compared to last year.

SGA expenses were just slightly above last year at $97.4 million for the second quarter versus last year's expenses of $97.2 million. As a percentage of net sales, SGA improved 40 basis points to 29.2% compared to 29.6% in the same period last year. The decrease in rate was driven primarily by reduced advertising expenses this quarter. Also contributing to the decrease in SGA were reductions in certain other corporate expenses including labor costs and legal and professional fees which decreased both in dollars and as a percentage of net sales from the prior year quarter. Partially offsetting these decreased costs were higher store rent and depreciation from our ongoing strategy to improve our store real estate.

Our operating income was $8.3 million for the quarter compared to operating income of $8.8 million last year. We reported net income of $8.7 million or $0.19 per share compared to last year's net income of $8.4 million or $0.19 per share. Also, EBITDA for this year was $15.2 million, compared to $14.5 million last year and adjusted EBITDA was $16.6 million this year compared to $17.2 million for the second quarter of last year. Included in adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of last year was approximately $1.1 million of incremental costs relating to the ramp-up of our Phoenix distribution center. For further details on the remaining reconciling items, please refer to our earnings release for the reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA.

Now let me review our results for the six-month period ended December 31. Net sales were $552.6 million, compared to $540 million for the same period last year. This is a 2.3% increase in total sales with 16 fewer stores compared to last year. Comp store sales growth was 2.5% on top of last year's 4.3%. Comp transactions increased 2.3% along with the 0.2% increase in average ticket. Sales at the 55 stores relocated during the past 12 months increased approximately 59% on average for the first six months of fiscal 2018 as compared to the prior year period. Again, primarily from the improved real estate and larger store footprint and these stores contributed 370 basis points to our comp store sales.

Gross margin for the first six months of fiscal 2018 was 33.2% compared to last year's gross margin rate of 33.9%. The decrease in gross margin was primarily due to last quarter's recognition of previously capitalized supply chain and freight costs, including an approximate 50 basis point impact of elevated costs related to the supply chain issues we incurred in the prior fiscal year and to a much lesser extent increased markdown. Partially offsetting these increases in costs was an improvement in initial merchandise markup.

SGA expenses were $187.4 million for the first half of fiscal 2018 compared to last year's expenses of $183.8 million. As a percent of net sales, SGA improved slightly to 33.9% versus 34% in the same period last year driven by the same details I just mentioned related to the second quarter.

Our operating loss for the first six months of fiscal 2018 was $3.7 million compared to an operating loss of $500,000 in the first six months of fiscal 2017. We reported net loss of $3.6 million or a loss of $0.08 per share compared to last year's net loss of $400,000 or $0.01 per share for the six months.

EBITDA was $9.7 million for the six months of this fiscal year compared to $10.2 million for the same period last year and adjusted EBITDA was $12.5 million compared to $14.8 million for the first six months of fiscal 2017. The last year number included about $2.1 million related to the Phoenix DC ramp up.

Turning now to our balance sheet. Cash and cash equivalents were $9.4 million as of the end of the order compared to $12.6 million at the same time last year with total liquidity of $112.3 million including approximately $102.9 million available on our revolver. As of quarter-end, we had no borrowings outstanding under our line of credit. Given the seasonality of our buying, we expect we will be in our line for the remainder of the fiscal year. That said, we continue to expect in the year with our debt relatively flat with fiscal 2017 year-end levels.

We ended the quarter with inventory at $220 million, a 12.5% decrease from the year ago. And for the quarter, we invested $6.3 million of CapEx on a net basis, the majority of which was focused on our real estate initiative. During the quarter, we opened four stores, relocated 14 stores, expanded two stores and closed eight stores.

Turning now to our outlook. With regards to the remainder of the year, we continue to expect substantial gross margin improvement in the range of approximately 250 to 300 basis points. Again, as Steve had mentioned, we expect our fiscal 2018 comp sales performance to be in the range of 2% to 5%. And we expect to leverage SGA for the year. We believe that we are on track to deliver significant improvement in our fiscal 2018 EBITDA. Lastly, our outlook for our capital spend continues to be in the range of $25 million to $30 million for the year.

I will now turn the call back over to Steve before we open up for questions.

Steven Becker

Thank you Stacie. Before we turn the cal over for questions, I would like to thank our teams for all the hard work and dedication to Tuesday Morning. We are making good progress against our initiatives and we are excited and ready for an improved spring performance.

Now with that, we will open it up for questions. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. The first question is from Jeff Van Sinderen of B. Riley. Your line is open.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Hi. Good morning everyone. It might be tough to quantify but wondering how much you estimate the unfavorable weather and the shift in advertising schedule impacted your comps in the quarter? And then if you could speak more about regional performance differences and also are there any advertising schedule differences we should be aware of for your fiscal second half?

Steven Becker

So we had a shift of one event in the December quarter and then we removed two events. Over the last couple of years, we have a lot of creep in terms of green card events and we had them last year, I think, back-to-back-to-back-to-back in December. And we just decided that a couple of those events weren't profitable and put a heck of a lot of strain on both our supply chain and our stores. So we removed those and definitely cost us some sales, as did the shift from one event that moved from the second quarter to the first quarter. There definitely was some weather in the quarter. I don't know if we have quantified that.

Stacie Shirley

No. We have not.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay. And then is there anything as far as advertising schedule differences we should be aware for second half?

Steven Becker

No. I think for the most part, you know, given our event history, for the most part it should be relatively consistent. I mean we are spending a lot of time from a marketing standpoint testing new mediums and we are working to shift dollars away from green card promotion, from the traditional means of green card promotion, which historically was print, both newspaper inserts and direct mail. And so in the second quarter, we did a lot of testing and I think we are at the point in time where we are beginning to see some signs of optimism around opportunity. And so I think you will see us continually try to move some dollars away from those mediums towards digital where we think there is opportunities to deploy dollars more effectively.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay. Good. And then maybe for Stacie. Just a couple of balance sheet items. How should we think about the average inventory levels during Q3 and then I guess at the end of the quarter? And then what would you expect the drawdown on your revolver to be roughly at the end of Q3?

Stacie Shirley

So from an average inventory, we have certainly entered the spring in a better position this year than where we were a year ago. We haven't really given guidance as to an average inventory and Steve spoke a little bit about the opportunity that we have in a subset of our stores to focus on inventory at these base stores. And so we would expect to see some improvement in those stores on an overall level basis.

I don't know if there is anything else on inventory you want to speak to.

Steven Becker

Yes. We talked about inventory ad nauseum. As you know, we have spent a lot of time overall on our inventory levels and we put in place a number of initiatives which we think improved the overall freshness of inventory. So our overall inventory was down about 12.5% versus last year. Our turns were up slightly. We measure the freshness of our inventory. Both three and six month inventory was significantly fresher, both in the second quarter and also in January than it was last year. We spent a lot of time on managing our weeks of supply. So we want the inventory to be fresher. We want it to turn more.

And I think the organization, from a merchandising standpoint, is really focused on the chase more so, I think frankly than it's ever been which is all positive. And then we have this initiative to identify an opportunity, a subset of stores within our base, which we think have been under inventoried. So if you think back on what happened with our supply chain last year, it really created some distorted sales record and we allocate back to regular price sales. And so stores that didn't get enough inventory therefore didn't have the right sales record therefore they weren't getting fed more inventory. So we spent a lot of time looking at individual stores where we felt they were outperforming their inventory levels and we are currently spending time adjusting that. We have an internal team. It's a project that's a couple months old and the early signs there are pretty positive.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay.

Stacie Shirley

And from a debt level, we haven't talked about where we think we are going to end Q3. The only guidance we have given is that, again, we believe we will be in the same range at the end of the year as we were last year.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay. Any color, I know January is kind of a transitional month, but any color you can give us on how Q3 is starting? And then also just to clarify, your outlook calls for acceleration in comps going forward. Just wondering how we should think about comps in legacy versus legacy or non-relocated stores for second half?

Steven Becker

So Jeff, I would say this, if you think about the position that we are in today versus the position that we were in last year, I am not going to speak to exactly the performance in the month of January, but I will say that we are in a much better spot than we were then. The inventory is fresher. The product is timely. The mix is better. The inventory levels are better. So I would say, internally we are feeling better about our positioning. We don't update trend but that's how we feel about the positioning.

And in terms of comps in the base, that's obviously a huge focus of ours. And as we look at our performance over the course of the last year, you can really see anomalies based on inventory levels and much of that, as I mentioned, has a lot to do with the way that the supply chain functioned last year. And so you can see if you break our base into three different cohorts, very significant differences in performance based on inventory levels.

And so we are spending a lot of time on that and it's early and again, the results right now reflect the time last year when the stores were really low on white space inventory and we are receiving some of their inventory behind schedule. So we are tracking that. We are optimistic that there is opportunity there, but it's early.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay. That's helpful. And then one last one. If I heard you right, I think you said 19 relocations for spring this year. Just wondering how many store relocations you are planning for calendar 2018 at this point?

Steven Becker

I don't think we have given calendar numbers. I am not sure those are set. We have given fiscal year numbers.

Stacie Shirley

Just for this fiscal year we haven't really.

Steven Becker

Yes. What's the fiscal?

Stacie Shirley

For this year, it's the 45 for this year.

Steven Becker

45 for this year. And you know, I would say, Jeff look, I think the nice thing about our real estate portfolio is it's extremely flexible. I think 25% of our leases come up for renewal this year. And so you know we are being very opportunistic from a real estate standpoint. There is a lot of opportunity out there. There is a lot of square footage showing up that wasn't there before. You have seen a bunch of recent announcements that are pretty significant in the market and that presents an opportunity for us. Obviously it takes a little while to shake out. So you know, I would say, our real estate plans are pretty fluid and we are just watching and waiting and looking for the right opportunities.

Jeff Van Sinderen

Okay. Got it. Well, I can take the rest offline. Thanks for taking my questions and best of luck.

Steven Becker

Thank you.

Stacie Shirley

Thanks Jeff.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from Howard Silverman of Special Situations Fund. Your line is open.

Alex Silverman

Actually, it's Alex Silverman, but that's okay. Good morning.

Steven Becker

Good morning.

Alex Silverman

So Jeff covered a bunch of my questions, but can you spend a minute on your higher initial inventory markup? How much of that is mix? How much of that is ability to price at less of a discount? Walk us through that if you could because I think this is, I don't know, your seventh or eighth quarter in a row of improvements.

Stacie Shirley

Yes. So we are very pleased with the trend that we have seen year-over-year for several quarters now. I mean it's a combination of things. It's a combination of both the mix as well as just a more disciplined buying and making sure that we have got better tools in place to monitor our progress and to ensure that we are hitting our goals. But other than that, we haven't really split it out to say the two pieces.

Steven Becker

Yes. I also think, Alex, there is some environment there. I think that we have made changes in leadership in merchandising and there is a lot of discipline around that. and I think W that when you hit an environment like this, you have a real opportunity to be very aggressive in what you pay for merchandise. And obviously, that helps you to drive your IMU.

Alex Silverman

Okay. Secondly, your 55 stores were up 52%. You said part of that is better real estate, part of that is larger footprint. Backing out footprint, can you give us a sense of what growth was like on a per square foot basis?

Steven Becker

I will have to get back to you offline on that. I don't have that number in front of me.

Alex Silverman

Or even on just how much of that mix, what percent of that, how much of that growth was one versus the other, even a bucket?

Steven Becker

We don't have that number in front of me for the quarter.

Stacie Shirley

It certainly is a part of it, but not in every single relocation that we look at is there a significant increase in square footage. But it's definitely a combination of an increase in just the overall performance of those stores in that first year, regardless of whether it's a bigger footprint or not we see really great performance.

Steven Becker

Yes. I would say, generally speaking, more of it is due to the location than the square footage growth. In fact sometimes we step back in square footage. We might have had a former supermarket that was oversized for a very large space and we move into a more modest pace. Obviously, sometimes we step forward smaller space into a larger one. But bigger driving factor is almost always the location.

Alex Silverman

Okay. And then my last question is, what do you think year two trends are for those relocated stores? Do you see the follow through?

Steven Becker

So they always step back in year two because they have such a strong glow period.

Alex Silverman

Yes.

Steven Becker

And so that first 90 days out of the box, they outperform very significantly. And then they pull back into a trend that's more in line with the base.

Alex Silverman

Got it. Helpful. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. The next question is from Ethan Steinberg of SG Capital. Your line is open.

Ethan Steinberg

Hi guys. Thanks for taking the call. Those guys covered most of the questions I had to ask. I just want you to talk, Steve, a little bit more about some of the dislocation you are seeing with retail and what kind of opportunities that's creating? And also tie that into maybe opportunities which you have on lease costs as they come up for renewal, if that's changing right now.

Steven Becker

So you mean from a real estate perspective or overall?

Ethan Steinberg

I guess both. I am curious if you are seeing it open up less competition on the demand side with the customers? And then also if it's helping you on the cost with negotiating leases?

Steven Becker

So I mean I would say, overall the dislocation of real estate is very positive. One, from a market standpoint, obviously when you have competition, you know, we have a market, it's positive for us, especially in lots of our smaller markets around the country when you are in Tyler, Texas or Austin, Texas and a competitor closes, there aren't that many alternatives and that's very positive for Tuesday Morning.

From a real estate perspective, absolutely. I mean I think it's become very rapidly a buyers market in the commercial real estate market. You have seen a series of store closing announcements already this year. I suspect you are going to see more. And some of them are pretty meaningful from a square footage standpoint.

And thirdly, from a vendor perspective, you know, a couple of buyers who have been here for a very long time commented to me over the last couple of weeks that they are as busy with closeout opportunities than they have ever seen. And I think that that has a lot to do with the fact that you have a lot of vendors who built businesses around supporting department stores and specialty stores and they are seeing the demand from major customers that we are all well aware of cutting back meaningfully.

And so they have manufacturing capacity that they have to fill and that creates opportunities for the off-price channel. I would say that we have just gotten back from a handful of shows which happened in the January timeframe and we are very consistently hearing the message that vendors are very open-minded about doing business in the off-price channel, including some vendors who historically have been reluctant to sell in those channels. They have embraced it. They recognize that it's an opportunity for them. And frankly they need to fill capacity.

Ethan Steinberg

All right. And just the one other question was, the inventory in the cohort stores or the non-relocated stores, is that roughly appropriate right now? Is that where you want it to be? Or is there still work to do?

Steven Becker

So there is still work to do. As I mentioned, we have a team that's working on rightsizing the inventory on a portion of the base and we think there is a lot of opportunity there. We are measuring it. As I mentioned, we are kind of cautiously optimistic, but again it's January versus a rough January last year from an inventory standpoint and it's going take a little while for that to play out. So we will have more talk about at the end of the March quarter. But we think there is still opportunity to get inventory levels rightsized in a good portion of our base.

Ethan Steinberg

All right. Thank you.

Steven Becker

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And at this time, I would like to turn the call back to Steve Becker for closing remarks.

Steven Becker

Thank you for joining us today. Have a good morning.

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference. You may now disconnect. Good day everyone.

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