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Beacon Roofing Supply (BECN) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

Motley Fool Transcribing, The Motley Fool
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Beacon Roofing Supply (NASDAQ: BECN)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
May. 07, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Beacon Roofing Supply second-quarter 2019 earnings conference call. My name is Justin, and I'll be your coordinator for today. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded for replay purposes. This call will contain forward-looking statements, including statements about its plans and objectives and future economic performance.

Forward-looking statements are only predictions and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Therefore, actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, but not limited to, those set forth in the Risk Factors section of the company's latest Form 10-K. These forward-looking statements fall within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding future events and the future financial performance of the company, including the company's financial outlook. The forward-looking statements contained in this call are based on information as of today, May 7, 2019, and except as required by law, the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any of these forward-looking statements. Finally, this call will contain references to certain non-GAAP measures. The reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures is set forth in today's press release. The company has posted a summary financial slide presentation on the Investors section of its website, under Events & Presentations, that will be referenced during management's review of the financial results. On the call today for Beacon Roofing Supply will be Mr.

Paul Isabella, president and CEO; Mr. Joe Nowicki, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Mr. Eric Swank, chief operating officer. I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Paul Isabella, president and CEO.

Please proceed, Mr. Isabella.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to our second-quarter earnings call. We had some very encouraging results during the quarter despite the weather challenges we encountered. Sales trended up nicely at the end of March, which helped drive results to the most positive end of the range we gave in our February pre-release, which was minus $0.45 of adjusted EPS.

Even more encouraging is that we've seen the positive sales trend continue in April, which adds to my optimism rather solid second half of the year. Organic same-day sales for the quarter ended positive at slightly over 1%, with residential organic same-day sales strong at approximately 5%. This demonstrates the strength of our sales even during a difficult breakthrough period. Gross margins were in line with seasonal trends, which I consider a real positive considering a harsh seasonal pressure we encountered. We paid down over $75 million in debt through solid working capital management in the quarter. And we were able to pass price along from our manufacturers and this marked the fourth consecutive quarter in which price cost was either positive or neutral. We've launched price increases across all product lines to stay in step with the 2019 manufacture increases, and we will, as always, be watching this very closely over the next few months. Lastly, the final group of Allied branches has been successful transitioned to the Beacon legacy ERP system.

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Overall, some really good progress during a tough quarter, which gives us our continued optimism regarding the second half of the year and beyond. Next I want to give you an update on several of our important strategic initiatives. Starting of with our exciting industry-leading digital offering, anchored by our e-commerce catalog, Beacon Pro+ and our integrated estimating tool, Beacon 3D+. We offer the most complete solution for contractors looking to drive productivity in their business. We have a full suite of digital tools that provide customer value add.

Items, such as online ordering and order history, 3D visualizer and estimating tool, automated rebate tracking, online bill pay, delivery tracking and project management among others are differentiators for our customers. We're pleased with the progress we're making with the offering. We currently estimate that sales through our digital platform will be approximately $300 million for fiscal 2019, up substantially from the 2018 number. Customers like the convenience and easy use and we're confident we'll see continued customer adoption. Our goal as stated at investor day last year is to reach $1 billion in sales in three to five years. Great performance to date as we only launched this program two years ago. Now I'd like to talk about two digital innovations just launched.

The first is our partnership with JobNimbus, a premier CRM and project management software platform for the building materials industry. Simply stated, this offering would provide our contractor base the ability to seamlessly create estimates and cement material orders from inside the JobNimbus platform directly into their local Beacon branch via our Pro+ digital suite. This means we've built a direct connect between the JobNimbus platform and the 90,000 SKUs in the Pro+ digital catalog. This integration will help customers save time, manage their work more efficiently and grow their business. The second tool is delivery tracking. Customers have always demanded accurate on-time deliveries that can now receive notifications when deliveries are scheduled and when the product arrives, and they can receive on-site photos prior to and after the delivery, which obviously helps them working with homeowners.

The pilot was in January with the full rollout starting in March and April. We're live in 15 markets and being well received by our customers. These are just two of the multiple offerings our digital suite provides. We're very committed to ongoing digital innovation and growing sales through this platform. Now I'll give you an update in another initiative that we're very excited about, RSAs or regional service areas. We talked in detail about this during our December Investor Day.

At that time, we had identified approximately 40 markets for planned conversion to a centralized dispatch with single P&Ls. We've now added several additional markets moving us to more than 50 in total. The implementation process is going very well and we're roughly halfway through this rollout.We're continuing to evaluate other potential markets, as well as derivations of this approach, including centralized hubs and facility relocations. Our customers will benefit from greater inventory access and more reliable delivery time lines.

This is very important as customers conduct business across wide geographies and our ability to quickly and efficiently provide service saves them time and money. We believe this is a very significant and exciting opportunity for our customers as this is rolled out to all of our markets. Lastly, in terms of our greenfield branch openings, we're at five year-to-date, with another five to be opened by the end of September. The openings to date have been three exterior and two interior branches. All openings complement our regional service area approach by providing overall better coverage and service for our customer base.

And we'll continue to balance greenfield openings with our RSA rollout. Joe, I'll now pass the call over to you to provide some additional details on our quarter and the 2019 outlook.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Paul, and good afternoon, everyone. I'll now provide a little more color to the positive accomplishments that Paul mentioned. The positive organic growth, lower adjusted existing operating expenses, a nice pay down in debt as a result of our solid free cash flow and price-to-cost parity. I'll spend a few minutes now speaking about each of these highlights.

First, organic sales for the quarter increased 1.2% on a same-days basis. This was driven by a 5% increase in January, a 4% decline in February and a 3% increase in March. What this tells us is that when the weather was better during the first three weeks of January and the last couple of weeks of March, we experienced healthy demand. This continued into April, where we saw a modest daily sales increase. The organic daily sales growth was led by 5% residential roofing growth.

As Paul mentioned, thanks to favorable weather at the end of the quarter, we finished March strong and that helped us to make up some ground from February. We also believe, we're now past the 2018 hail headwinds, as the key hail states have begun to see improved performance versus the prior year. By geographic region, we experienced solid same-day sales growth in our Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions as both were up high-teens year over year, and Canada was also up almost 10%. Our Southeast and Southwest regions were basically flat year over year, but our Midwest and West regions were down high single digits as a result of the weather challenges previously discussed. On commercial roofing, we produced positive gross profit dollar growth year over year driven by solid improvements in our GM rate as we continue to focus on driving value to our customers. Overall pricing was up 5.5 to 6 percentage points which -- with gains across all three product categories. Now these price increases reflect the inflation that occurred last year. Turning to cost control.

Adjusted existing market operating expenses were down almost $2 million on a year-over-year basis and declined 10 basis points as a percentage of sales. Our teams responded quickly in the second half of the quarter when the challenging weather hit to tighten our cost controls on labor and discretionary spending. We saw solid improvement in our opex rates as we went through the quarter. We remained vigilant toward tightly managing our cost structure and improving our leverage.

The sales growth improved in the second half. We anticipate favorable operating leverage to result. Now shifting over to gross margins. For the fourth quarter in a row, we were again successful in offsetting the manufacturers cost increases with selling price increases. This sequential trends in our gross margin this year also align with what we've seen in prior years for Q2.

Our slight decline in gross margin year over year was primarily the result of our onetime freight cost true-up coupled with some mix shifts within our product categories and competitive pricing pressure due to the weather challenges. Before I shift to the 2019 guidance, I want to mention a couple of points related to our balance sheet and cash flow generation. Free cash flow was solid over $80 million primarily due to good working capital management. We used that free cash flow to pay down over $75 million in debt this quarter. Rising LIBOR rates year over year drove an increase in interest expense even with the lower debt balance, so another reason we remained focused on paying down our debt and lowering our leverage to 3 times.

Capital spending for the quarter was $14 million, still all in line with our full-year guidance of $50 million or 70 basis points of sales, a great improvement from our historical spending levels. Last, I want to comment on our 2019 guidance. Consistent with our late March press release, we're confident in achieving the lower end of our previously provided adjusted EPS range of $2.90 to $3.35 for fiscal year 2019. So no change from our last update. We believe core demand has remained healthy and we anticipate further activity tied to winter deferrals and incremental damage caused by the wetter and colder weather.

We expect these additional sales will help us recover a small portion of the Q2 earnings shortfall as outlined in our guidance. I'll now turn the call over to the operator to take your questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] Our first question is going to come from Keith Hughes from SunTrust. Your line is now open.

Keith Hughes -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Thank you. So two questions. I guess first, on April with -- you said kind of barely out there, they decelerate from some of the growth rate you saw in March. And any other color on April would be helpful.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. No, it's actually increased from March, whether you look at even -- March was an interesting month, a tale of two halves, a weak first half, strong back half, but even from the standpoint of the strong back half, March -- April accelerated. The other color, I think that's important is last year we had some hurricane volume in the April sales number from Harvey that we kind of bumped up against, as well as now we're on the backside a bit of Florida from those storms there. So we're -- when you look at our own, Keith, expectations for April, we're very pleased of the progress as we exited March and through the month, and it gives us a lot of confidence as now we jump into May, June the balance of the year because, as you know, looking at last-year comps to get a bit easier.

Keith Hughes -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

OK. And then a second question on gross margin that you talked about, the true-up on transport costs. I was little surprised it was higher given that residential did so well. It's your highest-margin product compared to the other segments. Is there anything else within there I'm missing?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, sure. If you'll look through the gross margin, it's kind of walk from year to year. We did -- certainly, we did a great job continuing on the synergies and that benefited us. We did have this ocean freight true-up a small piece to it.

We did get a benefit, as you mentioned, from just within those categories more resi, but we also saw, as I mentioned, some product and geographic mix kind of within the categories of the product lines as well, too, in addition to some more competitive pricing pressures as well, primarily on the resi side. That combination of factors, which really got us to the 23.4%, slight decline from where we were last year at 23.7%.

Keith Hughes -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

All right. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Ryan Merkel from William Blair.

Ryan Merkel -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

Hey, thanks. Hello, everyone.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Ryan.

Ryan Merkel -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

So I wanted to ask about sales. Obviously, noise with weather, and you've got some price, but I think the price benefit sort of declines as the year goes on. I guess what I'm getting at is I think you need sort of mid-single digit organic daily growth, the rest of the way to sort of hit guidance. Is that something you're still comfortable with based on everything that you see today?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, we are. Actually, that -- if you look at the Q3 of last year, I think, we grew in the 2% range and then we were down 5% or 6% in Q4. So just based on the current rate, we feel good in the second half.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And most of it really is, Ryan, due to the comps. So if you look at last year's comps to it, it's a lower hurdle for us, which gets us really comfortable at that mid-single digits for the rest of the year. You're correct, that is baked into our forecast.

Ryan Merkel -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

OK. I just want to make sure. And then you mentioned the onetime freight cost, can you just quantify what that was, how much that impacted things in the quarter and it is onetime so we're not going to see that repeat?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Now it's just a ocean freight, some costs from a prior period that rolled in here, small number in total. Just a couple million dollars, but it still was 10, 15 basis points on the overall gross margin piece to it. Not a big number. Good enough.

Ryan Merkel -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

All right. I'll pass it along. Thanks.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Ryan.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Matt Haney from Baird. Your line is now open. If your phone is on mute, please unmute it.

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

Yes. [Technical difficulty] Hello?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Very difficult to hear you.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Dave, are you there?

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

Yes. Can you guys hear me?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Now we can.

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

OK. All right. Well, this is David Manthey. So question, what level of storm activity is baked into your guidance range now? I know you expressed confidence in the low end of the range? Are you assuming an average storm year will get you to the low end or would a kind of normal storm year put you at the midpoint?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Really, what we've got baked in is a consistent with the last year kind of storm environment. So as you know, we had high-storm years in '16 and '17. '18 was a low-storm year. What we've got included in our guidance really is that same low-storm year kind of continuing. So we don't have a big ramp up for storms included in our revenue guidance.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Dave, it kind of follows what we said in the fourth-quarter call last year where we did three different scenarios of the low, high, mid part of the range is based on normal storm, high storm, low storm. And right now, the way the year's unfolding, even though we know we still have hail opportunity until July, it's pretty much matching last year. So that's what we estimate.

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

Yes. OK. And then on the price realization, could you talk about what your price realization was in res, non-res and complementary?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. We don't break down the pricing piece by product category, Dave. We just kind of give it in total. And in total, we ended up, as I mentioned, somewhere between that 5.5% and 6% range across all of them combined.

There was a little variation within them to some extent, but we got a little bit less on the residential side. But overall, not too significant across them, Dave.

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

OK. Thank you.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Dave.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Trey Morrish from Evercore. Your line is now open.

Trey Morrish -- Evercore ISI -- Analsyt

Hey, thank you, guys. I guess the first place to start would be, there's been an April price increase announcement out in the market. And I'm just wondering what you've seen so far in terms of end user's reactions willingness to accept a higher price out there following your increase announcement?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. You broke up a little bit with the connection, but I think you were asking about what our end user is saying. Right now, it's still too early. We're just either have launched or launched, right, just based on the timing of the manufacturer increase, etc. And as I said, and I've said in the past, we're talking probably 30 to 60 days to get a good feel of what the market is going to do.

Not much different than last year. I think we said the same thing. Internally, of course, we've done all of prep for pushing price through system changes, notifications, all of that. So obviously, we'll update it on the next earnings call.

It's just too early right now.

Trey Morrish -- Evercore ISI -- Analsyt

OK. And then you mentioned curtailing some costs late in the quarter to help weighing in and improve your cost basis as volumes were still soft. I'm wonder if you can give us some tangible examples of what you mechanically did to see that improvement relative to what you were expecting on your last update to us?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think the reality is given the volatility of our Q2, which is not new, this has happened many Q2s over the years. I mean it's a function of how quick do you -- based on what you view sales are going to be in the coming two, three, six, eight weeks, what you do really to control your labor during that period, right? And I think, especially as we started through February and saw the potential for the month to be -- and the January through Feb really, really harsh weather with the polar vortex, the rain in the far west, rain and snow in a lot of places, we drew down naturally and then as the sales popped up through the end of March, we were able to gain a bit of leverage even though for the quarter, of course, there's still pain because of that variability, I think Joe mentioned of strong sales beginning in Jan, strong sales at the end of March and in between especially in our Q2 very difficult to predict. So we manage the service, right? But we can't totally just strip down these branches, that's ridiculous because we wouldn't be taking care of our customers. So it's that balance.

That's the reality of a draw-down and then a sales increase as we go through March.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I'll give you even more tactical details on it because there's some great tools that we have that we use around our head count tracking and over time, which goes all the way down from the division, the region, the branch level, by roles, and we keep track of on a weekly basis, how we're doing on those head count metrics, and we gear it toward what are those weekly sales looking like as well, too. So we've tried to align our head count directly with the sales on a weekly basis as we're going through a very tangible tactical, but good tools that we use to control the head count and the labor cost, as Paul said, which is significant part of our operating expenses.

Trey Morrish -- Evercore ISI -- Analsyt

All right. Thanks very much, guys.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Garik Shmois from Longbow. Your line is now open.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Securities -- Analyst

Well, hi. Thanks. I'm just wondering if you can speak to how we should think about mix as we look out over the next several quarters if some of the Western markets do see some pent-up demand without having material impact on unmixed and potentially gross margins?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Without getting into exact numbers, right, because we don't give forecast by quarter, but the good news is the west is finally starting to see the backside -- coming out of the backside all these hail challenges they had last year. We saw a bit of that in April, and some of those hail impacted markets actually slowed down the negative, close even to zero or slight gain year over year and/or sequentially, right? So what does that mean? That's going to mean more residential volume in the back half, which gives us some of that confidence we talked about related to the gross margin growth from Q2 to Q3 and Q4.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And this is traditional what you'll see is -- well, if you look historically, their gross margin changes from second to third and fourth quarter. You'll notice that our -- we always have margin uptick in that third and fourth quarter, and a lot of it is the mix-related elements of -- you move to a more residential volume. So it should be a benefit to us. We'll watch this as we go through the next two quarters.

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Securities -- Analyst

OK. Thanks. And I just wanted to ask on commercial. Given the sales decline, it sounds like you had good pricing. Just wondering if you could speak to how much was weather impacting volume, how much is it -- you're briskly walking away from business to protect price. And what's the outlook for commercial sales moving forward, especially as comps get easier?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean the outlook is favorable. Again, we're not going to give you a split by product line, but there's no doubt when you look at our Western impacted or weather-impacted regions, up the mid-West, even Texas, the mountain, far West, commercial was heavily impacted. Some of that weather, some of that just this true-up or improvement in gross margin, right, which is something we do need to do. It's very difficult to break those two pieces out.

But then if you look conversely, the East Coast regions that had pretty good volume, very strong volume, we saw some double-digit increases on the commercial side organically.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Matt McCall from Seaport Global Securities. Your line is now open.

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. Good afternoon, guys.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Matt.

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

Joe, maybe expand on that pricing question. Earlier, you said that the pricing on resi was a little below the five and a half to six points that you recognized. And you also said that you had price-cost parity overall. Just given the competitive pricing pressure commentary that you gave around the winter months, should I assume from that that there was a price-cost drag in residential, specifically, but a price-cost parity overall?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, good question. Let me provide some clarity on my answer because you're right, the residential price impact was above that roughly 5.5% to 6% price increase. So resi was higher. It was weaker than we had anticipated and weaker than we would expect it to see.

That all ties into the weather impact, right? Because we talked about the weather impact in our volumes. So the weather impacted the volumes on the resi side during that weaker period, which in essence had an impact on price. So I hope that helps with that part. Now the part B of your question was, what does that mean with regards to the price cost? Yes, you're right, the price cost does vary by product line.

It certainly was weaker on the resi side than it was on the commercial and the complementary piece. So good point in total, we had price-cost parity.

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

Well, so now that the weather has gotten better, have the trends improved in pricing for residential price cost or residential. Has that improved as we've gotten into these better volume periods that you've been referencing?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, we wouldn't give any April results or even breakout the March pieces. I mean, you could imagine though, just logically speaking, with a steep slope roof, right, it's -- folks are not going to get up on a steep slope roof in tough weather and conversely, when it's great weather that's when they're really moving to get their work done. So less competition, more jobs available, more work available.

That's the best way I can answer that.

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

Maybe -- I'm sorry for the follow-up, but maybe the competitive pricing dynamic, has that improved -- have those pressures improved? I feel like that's what you're saying with the volume you had...

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. As demand, and which we've always said, Matt, as demand improves that tends to lessen. We see it in some of these Eastern markets that grew quite well. And last year, we saw the converse because of the pressure of backside of hail.

Now that the West is starting to come out of that, I mean, we should see demand improve, hence that should help that situation, yes.

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

OK. Perfect. Thank you.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Trey Grooms from Stephens Inc. Your line is now open.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Good afternoon. Thank you. So it sounds like a lot of the gross-margin hit that you guys experienced in the quarter was transitory and with possible neutral price-cost or maybe even positive later in the year. Should -- Joe, should we be modeling margins kind of in that flat to up range as we look in the back half? Or would any of these items that hits you in the 2Q linger into the back half at all?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, I think you're right in your analysis, so if you think about our 30 basis point decline in GM year over year between the true-up and between some of the weather-related impacts, the competitive price that was we mentioned, the mix in there, those should be things which don't -- do not have an impact going forward. So I think you're right, considering reasonably kind of flat gross margins in the back half of the year is pretty good assumption to use there, Trey.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Meaning flat year over year?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

OK. And then you guys have seen some improvement on the opex spend, so as we're kind of looking into the back half of this year and even into next year, and I know you kind of touched on some of the synergies and reiterated those targets, things like that, but how should we be thinking of other operating expenses as we look into the foreseeable future, I guess, the next several quarters?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Well, as you know, we're still working through the Allied integration, so we'll see some benefit of some of the synergies continue to crawl through as that kind of integration completes. Most of the supply chain work has been completed on the purchasing synergies, right? But you do have more of the opex ones, so those should help us going forward. Then I think it's just all the same blocking and tackling that we have done in the past in regards as we watch and manage every line item within our opex numbers. Additionally, you'll also see as we begin to implement more of the RSA approach that should have some benefits to us overall in our operating expense structure also.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

And just kind of with the synergies, can you remind us or maybe update us what we should be looking for as far as kind of exiting, what run rate we'd be looking for as we're exiting this fiscal year?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You know, in terms of dollars, what we've said, we haven't really changed. It is the total outlook for those, roughly $120 million, and we accomplished somewhere around $50 million in first year, the September period ended. We'll add another $50 million to it, so we'll get to about $100 million that will be incorporated into this year's numbers and synergies. And then, we'll pick up the remaining $20 million in the last quarter for our kind of two-year period with it.

And that's pretty consistent. That hasn't changed too much. I think we're still right on a great path there. We're achieving most of all the things that we have said.

Some a little above, some a little below, but in total right where we want to be.

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Sounds great. Thanks for taking my questions. Good luck.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Kathryn Thompson from Thompson Research Group. Your line is now open.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Hi. Thank you for taking my questions today. During the quarter, you opened four new greenfield branches and are set to open an additional five the remainder of the year. Just in light of your earlier commentary to start a generally better competitive landscape within distribution.

Maybe help us better understand how -- what gives you confidence that adding these new greenfield locations won't necessarily markup the competitive landscape that will enhance your positioning in the market?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Kathryn. We opened up five -- just to clarify, we opened up five today and then five more. And I think if you look at the place kind of those -- some are interior branches where we just don't have a presence or they're much farther away from an existing branch. And really to the same extent, the exterior branches are in that same position, so they become distant adjacencies that pickup markets that are much too far for us to deliver from an existing branch.

That's how we've looked at it. So we're not going to -- and some of that will be ceded, but that's how our greenfields always are. There'll be some portion of sales that will come from that market already that we're serving, but we believe by putting in that location, that we would be able to pick up more sales. So now going forward, as I said in my prepared remarks, with all the work we're doing on the RSA piece, we're going to continue as we did with these 10, the exterior and the interior pieces, we'll continue to evaluate every RSA to make sure that we're not adding fixed costs where we don't need to, especially as we move to more hubs, more centralized shipments and dispatching in markets. But we still have a lot of open geography where we can play some branches.

We'll just continue to evaluate that as we go through time.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you for that. You may have mentioned this already, but just as a follow-up, any thoughts on your -- or any changes in terms of your leverage target by the end of either fiscal '19 or calendar '19?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, no real changes to it. As we've talked about before, really the big goal is getting it under -- getting to 3 times leverage, right? I mean that's been our clear kind of strategy to drive toward it, and we're going to keep doing like we did this quarter, a $75 million kind of pay down in the debt piece. We're going to continue to work down the debt piece, further drive EBITDA, and improve that leverage rate through. So no change in our goals and forecasts there. We're pushing toward that.

I'm driving toward the pay down of the debt piece to get the leverage down lower. You bet.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

And no change in the free cash expectations also?

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No change in the free cash either. I think similar to the numbers that we gave on our guidance in regards to the EPS, that would be at the lower end of the free cash flow range just like the lower end of the EPS range, so -- but no change to the ranges.

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you very much.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Kathryn.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Michael Rehaut from J.P. Morgan Chase. Your line is now open.

Elad Hillman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Hi. This is Elad on for Mike. I wanted to dig a little deeper into the comments you made about the solid free cash flow being helped by good working capital management. If you could just expand on what that was? And then more specifically, if you've any commentary around inventory levels and given some of the pickup in the overall market? Thanks.

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Elad. Really, if you looked at our balance sheet and EBIT, you'll see part of -- and why I refer to as good working capital management, it really is managing our inventory piece, the receivables where we had good strong collections. And then also balancing it with our payables and the flow of our payables as well, too. We had some of the inventory purchases, so you know the inventory value is up a bit.

We had some of those inventory purchases toward the end of the quarter, the payables were still outstanding there. So what you notice was inventory might have been a little bit higher, but it was included in the accounts payable and accruals. Overall, a good balance on the working capital part of getting the cash collections and a lot of the -- more of our aged receivables, which helped us. So getting the collection of receivables and working through the inventory piece of it, but more importantly then also managing the AP balances, too.

So good overall cash flow management on working capital, those three elements.

Elad Hillman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Scott Schrier from Citi. Your line is now open.

Tim Mazurczak -- Citi -- Analyst

Hi. It's actually Tim Mazurczak on for Scott. I apologize if you already went through this before as most of my questions have already been answered, but in terms of the network rationalization, how much is lost? I mean can you kind of give us a benchmark of where we are, and if any of your expectations have changed?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, we talked about the thick of the markets that were impacting on this centralized dispatch [Inaudible] from 40 to 50, and if you look at the number of districts, we call them, we have, it's close to 100. So I think as we go through time, we'll continue to -- some are smaller, we'll continue to evaluate those, right, as we go through time. So it'll end up being over 50, and I just can't give you a number right now.

Tim Mazurczak -- Citi -- Analyst

OK. All right. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Phil Ng, Jefferies.

Phil Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Can you provide little more color on competitive activity across your different segments? Is your view essentially that in the quarter you saw a little more competition due to the seasonal -- source seasonal quarter and bad weather and have you seen those headwinds dissipate since? And commercial seemed a bit weaker than we would have expected? Was it just simply weather-related or was there some business you guys walked away from?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, on the commercial piece, like I can mentioned it prior, there's no doubt in the regions that we were down because of weather, commercial was also down, so there's a piece of that. And I wouldn't necessarily say walk, I mean, it's just a function of us pushing harder to raise gross margin in that product line. So we feel -- we like the commercial business and the product line as I've said in the past. We're going to continue to work extremely hard to grow it.

But I think this was a quarter where we did actually some very good things with driving margin up, but at the same time, we had some double-digit downs in regions that have really hit hard with weather. On the competitive side, it's virtually impossible for me to talk about other than the generic as I said earlier, when demand is down, there's more competition. But we've had competition since I walked in here almost 12 years ago and prior, and that's not going to change. That's why we're focused so hard on providing our value-add to the contractor base, right? So we're the logical choice for them to come to.

Phil Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it. And just a bigger-picture question and just given some of the branch consolidation and head-count reduction, do you think there's been any drop-off in service level? Have you seen any dis-synergies on the revenue front? I did notice you guys were talking about how you want to clamp down your cost front on the opex side, which should help profitability, but just want to make sure on the service side of things how that kind of plays out?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

No, absolutely, no. And when we talk about any change in manpower, it's -- this is not new. We have -- we're a seasonal business. So as conditions change, we have to adjust the workforce.

We do it through a number of ways, right? So -- and our folks understand that and been through this for a number of years. So no, our service is -- that's the first priority we have is taking care of our contractor base. So we're in good shape there.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Jay McCanless from Wedbush. Your line is now open.

Jay McCanless -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

Hey. Good afternoon. The first question I had, the labor savings that you achieved during 2Q, are you going to lose all that and maybe then some as you have to ramp up over time in 3Q to make up for some of the business that couldn't get to you because of weather? Just trying to get a sense of how SG&A plays out through the back half of the year?

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, without getting into too much specifics, obviously, we man based on our volume, and we'll continue to do that as efficiently as we can. So that's the best way to put it. So there's not much more detail I can get. And then obviously for us, in the second half, we always get much better opex leverage as sales increase, right? And if you look at last year's number, I think they were close to 16% -- 16.5% on an adjusted basis, and 17%-or-so of sales.

So there's a natural draw-down anyways of opex against sales. That's about the best way I can answer that without getting too specific. And again, for us, it's not anything new, we have to flex up and down for sales, with the first priority being service to our customers.

Jay McCanless -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

OK. That's all I had. Thank you.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. That concludes the questions. Now I'd like to turn the call back over to Mr. Isabella for closing remarks.

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Thanks. I'll close by saying as I have in the past, we're in a great industry, one that's very resilient, one that's highly attractive with steady repair, remodel content, historically, in the range of 70% to 75%. We continue to execute the elements of our strategic plan very well, and we've made excellent progress on the Allied integration or operating as one company.

We believe we're the innovation leader in our industry, and our digital suite really offers many value adds to our customer base. Our future is very bright, I've said this many times before. We'll stay focused on delivering results for our investors. Thank you for participating in this afternoon's call.

We appreciate the continued support from the investment community, as well as our highly valued relationships with customers, suppliers and employees. Have a great evening, and we look forward to speaking to you again in three months.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 44 minutes

Call participants:

Paul Isabella -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Joe Nowicki -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Keith Hughes -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Ryan Merkel -- William Blair and Company -- Analyst

David Manthey -- Robert W. Baird and Company--Analyst

Trey Morrish -- Evercore ISI -- Analsyt

Garik Shmois -- Longbow Securities -- Analyst

Matt McCall -- Seaport Global Securities -- Analyst

Trey Grooms -- Stephens Inc. -- Analyst

Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

Elad Hillman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Tim Mazurczak -- Citi -- Analyst

Phil Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Jay McCanless -- Wedbush Securities -- Analyst

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