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Edited Transcript of FLWS earnings conference call or presentation 30-Jan-20 1:00pm GMT

Q2 2020 1-800-Flowers.Com Inc Earnings Call

CARLE PLACE Feb 5, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of 1-800-Flowers.Com Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Christopher G. McCann

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director

* Joseph D. Pititto

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - SVP of IR & Corporate Communications

* William E. Shea

1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alex Joseph Fuhrman

Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst

* Anthony Chester Lebiedzinski

Sidoti & Company, LLC - Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Daniel Louis Kurnos

The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst

* Douglas Matthai Lane

Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research

* Linda Ann Bolton-Weiser

D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst

* Michael A. Kupinski

NOBLE Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research and Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, and welcome to the 1-800-FLOWERS. COM, Inc. Fiscal Year 2020 Second Quarter Results Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to Joe Pititto. Sir, please go ahead.

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Joseph D. Pititto, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - SVP of IR & Corporate Communications [2]

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Thank you, Katie. Good morning, and thank you all for joining us today to discuss 1-800-FLOWERS. COM, Inc.'s financial results for our fiscal 2020 second quarter. For those of you who have not received a copy of our press release issued earlier this morning, the release can be accessed at the Investor Relations section of our corporate website at 1800flowersinc.com. Our call today will begin with brief formal remarks, and then we'll open the call to your questions. Presenting today will be Chris McCann, CEO; and Bill Shea, CFO.

Before we begin, I need to remind everyone that some of the statements we will make today may be forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the applicable statements. For a detailed description of these risks and uncertainties, please refer to our press release issued this morning as well as our SEC filings, including the company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

In addition, this morning, we will discuss certain supplemental financial measures that were not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the tables accompanying the company's press release issued this morning. The company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements made in today's call, any recordings of today's call, the press release issued earlier today or in any of its SEC filings, except as may be otherwise stated by the company.

I will now turn the call over to Chris McCann.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [3]

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Good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining us this morning. As reported in this morning's press release, we achieved strong top and bottom line results for our fiscal second quarter, reflecting strong operational execution across our company. These results reflect continued revenue growth momentum across all 3 of our business segments, coupled with the increased operating leverage we have achieved from the investments we've made in our business platform.

Revenue growth in the second quarter was primarily driven by Harry & David, the largest brand in our largest segment, Gourmet Food and Gift Baskets, which represented more than 75% of our total revenue for the quarter. Harry & David continues to benefit from the digital transformation of our marketing programs, complemented by strong merchandising programs. These initiatives continue to enable Harry & David to attract new customers, including a younger demographic, while also deepening engagement with existing customers.

Harry & David also continues to benefit from the expansion of its product offering, in particular, unique shareable gifts for both holiday and everyday occasions. As a result, we experienced significant strength in seasonal food gifts and harmony bakery assortments, everyday occasion collections for birthday, sympathy and get well and the expanded Harry & David Gourmet line, including award-winning Harry & David Wines, cheese platters, heat and serve prepared foods, all perfect for gifting and entertaining.

Other significant contributors to revenue growth in the Gourmet Food segment included strong demand in our wholesale Gift Baskets business, fueled by innovative new product designs and an expanded customer list and the addition of our newest brands, Shari's Berries, which we acquired this past August.

I'm pleased to report that Shari's Berries performed well during the second quarter and has built nice momentum ahead of its peak demand periods at Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. As such, we anticipate that it will be a modest contributor to our bottom line results during the second half and for the full year.

In our Consumer Floral business segment, we achieved strong results for the quarter with solid top line growth and increasing bottom line contributions. During the quarter, the 1-800-Flowers brand continued to extend its market leadership position, leveraging our investments in marketing and merchandising programs to drive revenue growth and increase its bottom line contribution. Our merchandising programs focused on truly original product designs, resulting in strong demand for such holiday and everyday gifts as holiday theme centerpieces, our exclusive local artisan collection and our expanded line of specialty gifts focused on home decor.

And finally, in our BloomNet business, the strong results for the quarter reflected our ability to drive sales of our expanded range of products and services, including advertising in our digital directory, hard goods such as vases and glassware and cut flowers and greenery. As a result, BloomNet also continued to grow its market share during the quarter.

So in summary, our results for the quarter reflect strong execution and continuing momentum across all our business segments. Before I ask Bill to share some insights on the quarter and our increased guidance for the year, allow me to spend just one moment on execution.

The results that we achieved over the past several quarters and the momentum we are carrying into the second half of our fiscal year reflect our focus on building strong sustainable growth while driving

higher margins and expanding margins. We have a clear strategy to win across all our business segments. We have a deep and experienced management team and thousands of highly skilled associates who are executing against that strategy every day. We are laser focused on continuously improving the customer experience. We are investing in innovative technologies as well as marketing and merchandising initiatives designed to attract new customers and deepen our relationship with existing customers. We continue to gain market share across all 3 of our business segments.

Simply stated, we're firing on all cylinders while simultaneously striving for continuous improvement every day. I'm extremely proud of what our management team has accomplished over the past several years and even more excited about what the future holds for our company and for our shareholders.

With that, let me turn the call over to Bill to share his insights on our results and discuss the drivers behind our raised guidance for the year. Bill?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [4]

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Thanks, Chris. As noted, we are very pleased with our strong top and bottom line results for the fiscal second quarter and for the first half of our fiscal year. Revenue growth for the quarter of 6% and 7% for the first half was driven by solid growth in all 3 of our business segments.

From an operating standpoint, all 3 business segments performed exceptionally well in the quarter and in the first half, enabling us to more than offset the headwinds we have discussed in the past, including a tight labor market and rising labor costs, tariffs and tariff uncertainty, calendar changes, specifically the 6 fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and rising transportation costs.

As a result, we continue to see improving operating leverage across our business platform. This is illustrated by the contribution margin growth of 10% or more in all 3 of our business segments through the first half of the year. This increased operating leverage, combined with our expectation for revenues to grow approximately 10% during the second half of our fiscal year, is enabling us to reaffirm our revenue growth guidance of 8% to 9% for the year and increase our guidance for EBITDA and EPS growth to ranges in the mid- to upper teens.

Now breaking down some of the metrics for the second quarter. Our revenue growth of 6% reflected solid growth in all 3 business segments. Gross profit margin was down slightly at 44.4%, reflecting our ability to manage the cost headwinds I mentioned earlier as well as the highly promotional nature of a holiday shopping season.

Operating expenses as a percent of total revenues, as adjusted, improved 50 basis points compared with the prior year period. The combination of these factors resulted in adjusted EBITDA growth of 7.4% to $110.7 million, an increase in net income of 8.1% to $74.2 million and an increase in EPS of 7.7%, to $1.12 per diluted share.

In terms of category results. In our Gourmet Food and Gift Baskets segment, which represents more than 75% of total revenues for the quarter, revenue increased 5.6% or nearly $25 million to $464.6 million. As we previously noted, a solid revenue growth in this segment was driven primarily by Harry & David, combined with strong growth in the wholesale baskets business and contributions from our newest brand, Shari's Berries. Revenue growth in this segment also reflected the impact of the shift of some gift basket shipments for certain wholesale customers into our fiscal first quarter, which we noted back in our October call. Combining the first 2 quarters of the year, total revenue growth in this segment was 7%.

Gross profit margin for the quarter was essentially flat at 45.5%. And importantly, we achieved strong operational execution across our Gourmet Food Gift brands. As a result, segment contribution margin increased 7.5% to $113.4 million. In Consumer Floral, revenues increased 7% to $115.7 million. Gross profit margin was unchanged at 38.5% and segment contribution margin increased 11% to $10.9 million.

As we stated at the start of the fiscal year, we expect segment contribution margin in Consumer Floral will be up year-over-year each quarter this year, as we continue to gain leverage on the investments we've made to drive strong growth and extend our market-leading position.

In our BloomNet segment, revenues for the quarter increased 9.8% to $25.7 million. The acceleration of BloomNet's revenue growth compared with our first quarter reflects our ability to drive sales of our expanded product and service offerings.

As we noted in our last call, we expect BloomNet to grow in the upper single digits to low double digits during the second half of the current fiscal year. Gross profit margin in the second quarter was 51.2%, down slightly due to product mix and segment contribution margin increased 10.6% to $9.1 million.

In terms of corporate expense, for the fiscal second quarter, corporate expense, including stock-based compensation was $26 million compared with $20.9 million in the prior year period. This increase is primarily due to higher stock-based compensation attributable to the company's strong performance over the past few years as well as the compensation charge related to our deferred comp plan, which has an equal offsetting benefit in interest income.

Turning to our balance sheet. At the end of the second quarter, our cash and investment position was $295.6 million compared with $173 million at our fiscal 2019 year ended June and $258 million at the end of the fiscal second quarter of last year. Our term debt balance, net of deferred financing cost was $94.7 million, and we have 0 borrowing outstanding under our working capital line within our revolving credit facility. As a result, total net cash at the end of the quarter was approximately $200 million. Inventory of approximately $68 million was in line with our expectations.

Regarding guidance for the full fiscal year. Based on our results for the first half of the fiscal year and our outlook for continued strong performance in the next 2 quarters, including revenue growth of approximately 10%, we are updating our guidance as follows: We are reaffirming our guidance for total consolidated revenue growth for the year of 8% to 9%. We are increasing guidance for EPS growth to a range of 15% to 17% from a previous range of 8% to 10%. We are increasing guidance for adjusted EBITDA growth to a range of 13% to 15% from a previous range of 8% to 10%, and we are also increasing our guidance for free cash flow for the year to a range of $45 million to $50 million from our previous target of approximately $45 million.

I'll now turn the call back to Chris.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [5]

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Thanks, Bill. So to sum up, we are very pleased with our results through the first half of the fiscal year. We continue to drive strong revenue growth and expand our market share position across all 3 of our business segments. We continue to enhance our operating leverage, focusing on constantly improving our execution across all areas of our business platform. We are growing our customer file, attracting increasing numbers of new customers, while deepening relationships we have with existing customers. Helping to drive this are our Celebrations Passport loyalty program, which provides free shipping for members and our initiatives to grow multi-brand customers, our best-performing customer cohort through expanded cross-brand merchandising and marketing programs.

Throughout the first half of our fiscal year, we saw continued double-digit growth in Passport members as well as strong growth in the creation of new multi-brand customers. As a result, we continue to see improvements in the behavior metrics of our customer file, helping to drive increased lifetime value.

As we move into our fiscal third quarter, we are well positioned to continue the positive trends we see across our platform. The 1-800-Flowers brand has a commanding position as a leading destination for the Valentine's Day holiday. Among the truly original product designs we are unveiling for the upcoming holiday are our new Romantic Medley's collection that elevates the traditional Valentine's Day floral arrangement with striking combinations of different blooms. And our vibrant gerbera daisies which we have named our Flower of the Year.

In terms of marketing innovations, we are introducing numerous new enhancements to our customer experience, including a new augmented reality capability to help customers visualize their selections in their home or office environment, a redesigned mobile app with one-tap buying and a gift finder tool and our new AI-powered intelligent virtual assistant. Our focus on innovation to enhance customer engagement and customer experience positions us well to deliver continued strong performance in the current quarter and for the full year.

Before I turn the call over to Katie to begin Q&A, I'd like to thank all of our associates for their hard work, their innovative thinking and their commitment to helping our customers express, connect, celebrate and deliver smiles.

With that, Katie, would you please repeat the instructions for Q&A?

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question will come from Alex Fuhrman with Craig-Hallum Group.

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Alex Joseph Fuhrman, Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [2]

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Congratulations on a really strong quarter here. I wanted to ask about your outlook for Valentine's Day, it's really right around the corner. I know it's too early to say what you've seen so far, but obviously seen nice strength in the Consumer Floral segment over the last couple of quarters. Can you talk a little bit about just what you're seeing in the competitive landscape? And what we should expect to see in terms of marketing spend behind the key Floral segment here heading into Valentine's Day?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [3]

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Great, Alex. Thank you. Yes, I think as we look at the Valentine holiday, you're right, it's really too early to get a read on things yet other than the fact that we just said, we feel, with the momentum that we've built over the past couple of years now in the floral category coming out of the good quarter of 7% growth this past quarter, as we move into the second half of the year now between both the Consumer Floral side performing well and the momentum we have there and BloomNet performing well, we feel that the floral business is really set up for a good second half of the year, really helping to drive what we are forecasting is a 10% growth, really, for the second half, putting us back into that guidance position that we spoke about earlier. Really, as we look at the competitive landscape, if I look at the position that we are in as 1-800-Flowers and the things that we focus on, on a regular basis, really making sure that we focus on what is it that's giving us the momentum we have. We focus on our customers. We focus on our brand strength. We focus on the truly original product designs we have, our category best customer experience. So we think we're extremely well positioned from a competitive point of view to just keep focusing and doing what we've been doing that's gained the market shares that we have over the past couple of years.

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Alex Joseph Fuhrman, Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [4]

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Great. That's really helpful. And then if I could also ask just Shari's Berries. It sounds like that's going as well or better than you could have hoped for when that transaction first closed. If I heard correctly, it sounds like that brand now expected to be profitable for the full year. Can you just talk about what has gone right there? And then just thinking about the fact that, obviously, your guidance for revenue for Shari's Berries is a fraction of the revenue that, that brand had done in years past? I mean, what kind of could we expect to see over the years, as you look to grow that brand? I know they had a lot of unprofitable revenue streams previously that probably won't be repeated. But if you could just help us think about the potential for that brand over the next couple of years, that would be helpful.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [5]

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Sure. I'll start and then will Bill chime in, if you have any additional thoughts. But as we look at -- we think things are going very well with the Shari's Berries integration that we talked about how quickly we -- it wasn't easy, but how quickly we integrated on our platform to begin with. And really, what we stated is our intent is to resize and reposition that business, and that's what we're doing. So we're still working on repositioning the brand and the product, and that will take a little bit of time. But the operational integration has gone very well. And as we look to grow that business now, it really has to grow its distribution capabilities along with its revenue growth at the same time, and you balance that. One of the things that we always caution and take a cautious approach is that we don't get out in front of our skis on the operational capability before demand is there to match it. So it's managing that. So as we grow the business, that's really the 2-step system that we have to grow the business.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [6]

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Yes. Alex, I think Shari's performance in the second quarter and the first half of the year kind of in line with what our expectations were from a top line perspective. It contributed approximately 1% of the revenues in Q2 and for the first half of the year. As we've indicated, it's peak revenue period all around Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. So we expect the majority of the revenue from Shari's Berries contribution for the year, it's really the second half of the year. And we continue to expect to see Shari representing about 2 percentage points of our 8% to 9% growth for the year. As Chris mentioned, we're very pleased with the -- which is -- with the performance of Shari's and where it's shaping out so that as a result we're comfortable saying that it's going to be a contributor this year. I think our original guidance was, with that we would be breakeven and flat on the bottom line -- from a bottom line standpoint.

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Operator [7]

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Our next question comes from Dan Kurnos with The Benchmark Company.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [8]

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Bill, I don't know if I caught this or not, but did you put a number around what you thought maybe the lost revenue opportunity was from the 6 fewer holiday days this quarter? And how demand kind of ended in the period? And I just want to get a sense if you guys made some kind of trade-off in the quarter maybe due to potentially increased shipping costs or lower LTV to trade-off some revenue and take higher profits just due to some of the calendar challenges?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [9]

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Dan, we didn't give a specific number to it. We knew kind of going into this year and into the quarter, that the 6 less shopping days would have an impact on us. We knew kind of the revenue growth in this quarter would be lower than our annual guidance and that we would pick up in the second half of the year, especially with Shari's being a bigger contributor from that. But we have to -- we continue to monitor, as we went through the holiday, what promotions worked and didn't work. And we wanted to actually demonstrate some of the leverage that we have in the model. And obviously, what ended up we outperforming on the bottom line. We certainly didn't reach for revenue, but it was a promotional environment that we're operating in. And obviously, that condensed shopping season helped feed into that.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [10]

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Yes. And even with that, as we said, the 6 fewer less shopping days and we anticipated those, obviously, going in and the other headwinds we had, we're extremely pleased with the 6% growth that we had for the quarter. And when you really break it down and you'd look at the revenue growth for the first half of the year of 7%, then again, if you jump into the quarter, you had the Gourmet Food category, growing almost 6%. We have Consumer Floral growing 7%. BloomNet growing 9.8%, looking to grow approximately 10% in the second half of the year. We think from a growth perspective and then the operating leverage that we're getting puts us in a really strong position.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [11]

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Yes. I think one of the point, I think we referenced it in the call, and we referenced it in the call back in October was that we did pull forward about $3 million -- little more than $3 million of wholesale revenues in the first quarter, help drive the double-digit growth in the first quarter, but it pulled growth out of this quarter. That's why it's really important to remember, we were at 7% growth for the first half of the year, and Gourmet Foods would be closer to 6.5% growth, if not for that timing difference in the quarter.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [12]

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Got it. That's helpful. And then just on the EBITDA guide raise, you're basically bringing the midpoint up by $4 million, I think, probably against consensus of about $3 million in this quarter. I'm just -- I think, Bill, you actually said that you still are anticipating Shari's Berries as flattish. So I'm assuming that none of the increased guide is from Shari's. So what's kind of driving the incremental operating leverage in the back half of the year?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [13]

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Well, I mean, Shari's is, like we said, it's going to be a modest contributor to the year and to the second half of -- into the second half of the year. So it's a piece of the overall increase, but certainly not the driver.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [14]

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And what is the driver of the OP lev increase in the back half year?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [15]

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I think it's just continued leverage. I think we're going to get some operating leverage in the second half of the year. You saw 50 basis points improvement in our OpEx in the first half of the year, that's going to accelerate a little bit in the second half of the year. We're expecting overall OpEx leverage to be -- for the year to be about 70 basis points or so.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [16]

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Okay. And then just last on capital use. Obviously, now you're past the quarter, the big holiday quarter, you do still have Valentine's Day. You guys have been linked, obviously, with T-Mall. How much is it at this point, with the stock where it is? Are you thinking about stepping in here versus keeping the powder dry to make a larger acquisition?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [17]

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If I understand the question, we have been in the market of buying back shares. We put in a 10b5 plan earlier in the year. So it shows up in our statement of cash flows, but we have been buying back. We bought back about 400,000 shares in the first half of the year, and we'll buy back shares in the second half of the year. Our stated goal with stock buybacks is to offset any sort of share creep from stock-based compensation. If you look at our share count and our EPS calculation, it is pretty flat year-over-year. So we're accomplishing that.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [18]

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And I think from a CapEx overall point of view, we'll continue to make the investments in our business where we see appropriate, investing in automation and testing to improve our distribution capabilities. So we'll do that as kind of normal course of business. I think with the strength of our balance sheet, the cash position that we have, plus the borrowing capacity that we have, it gives us the flexibility to continue to maintain the business, improve the business, and also still have probably a powder, as you point, for anything that may come along.

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Operator [19]

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Our next question comes from Michael Kupinski with NOBLE Capital Markets.

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Michael A. Kupinski, NOBLE Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research and Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst [20]

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Congratulations on your quarter. I was wondering if you can tell me on Shari's Berries, just kind of going back to that for a second, did you already implement your price increases for Shari's Berries? And then secondly, are you seeing that you're putting Shari's Berries on your infrastructure is actually giving you better benefit than you expected? And that might be the reason for the improved contribution this year? I was wondering if you could just add a little bit more color on that.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [21]

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Sure. So Michael, on the Shari's Berries, on the pricing, I would say we're still in the midst of finding what's the right price positioning as we look at the product, we look at the brand positioning, et cetera. So continuing to test and optimize appropriately there. And yes, I do think that the operating leverage that we've been able to bring to the business from putting it on our platform as we have, using the distribution resources that we have, especially the same-day distribution resources for Shari's Berries through our BloomNet Gourmet network that we use for food bouquet has certainly helped us to drive some operating improvement. And that's why we do believe it has been a contributor, and it will be a modest contributor for the full year.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [22]

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I was just going to say, this is still very much a test year for Shari's Berries. We're testing different pricing. We're testing kind of the repositioning of the brand. So there's a lot of learnings going on this fiscal year.

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Michael A. Kupinski, NOBLE Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research and Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst [23]

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And you haven't gotten any responses back from -- in terms of like from customers at this point using the product and what their -- whether or not they are more favorable or less favorable than what they had been before at this point?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [24]

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Not specifically, Michael. That would just be part of our ongoing customer sat program that we have with customer follow-ups. And what we're hearing and seeing there is positive, and that's continuing to guide us as we position the brand.

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Michael A. Kupinski, NOBLE Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research and Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst [25]

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Got you. And then in terms of -- you have really favorable economic conditions at this point. And I was just wondering if -- basically, if you're seeing really favorable momentum at this point based on just the economy? I mean, obviously, consumer confidence is hitting a new high here. I was just wondering, it seems like you have a Goldilocks kind of economy for your product. What is your sense about what's driving the momentum going into the second half of the year? Do you feel like the conditions, the economy is right? You have obviously been improving share. I was just getting -- trying to get a sense of the momentum that you're seeing in your business, possibly related to the economy?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [26]

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So I think when you -- a strong economy is always good, strong consumer confidence, as you pointed out, is very good for our business, and our floral business really relatively performs well in a strong economy, for sure. But what we've always said is that in a strong economy, we don't participate in real highs. Of course, we benefit, but it doesn't -- we don't perform robustly. But we also don't perform in the real lows of a down economy either. And especially as we look at the potential of a down economy to come, we think we're better positioned than we ever have been in the past because what we've seen is that people will trade-off from certain products, trade down into our category, whether it be floral, but even more so, the food brands are more stable during a down economy than floral even. And now that more than half of our business, 52-plus percent of our business is Gourmet Food, we think from a mix point of view, we're well positioned for both the slowing economy we're in today as well as a down economy. However, beyond the macro environment, we really think and if you look at what we've done over the past couple of years, especially on the floral side of the business, which is important as we go into the second half of the year now, I mean, we really performed well. From a competitive point of view, we've really outshined our competition, taking market share from them. And we do that by really focusing on our brand, focusing on our digital marketing capabilities, focusing on Passport program, the multi-brand customer initiatives that we have going in. I mean, these are the things that have been driving the momentum that has put us in the sustainable competitive position that we're in today.

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Michael A. Kupinski, NOBLE Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research and Senior Media & Entertainment Analyst [27]

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And I was just -- a follow-up on Dan's question. In terms of -- at this point, I know you're always looking for acquisitions, but how do you look at the M&A environment at this point? I mean, is there -- is it strong? Is it -- do you think that there's opportunities there? Or do you think that you're still looking at this point and looking for opportunities? Can you give us a sense of the M&A environment?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [28]

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Yes. What we look at is, again, we're in a very strong position with the balance sheets that we have and the flexibility that we have for it, and we're always making sure that we will be good stewards of that balance sheet, utilizing the capital that we have to invest in our current business, whether it's to drive more customer acquisition to make the capital investments in technology or distribution capabilities that we have. But at the end of the day, our goal is to put our cash and our underleveraged balance sheet to work for our shareholders through acquisitions that can help accelerate the top and bottom line. We used $20.5 million this year to buy Shari's Berries, that's been a nice tuck in. And we think that's got nice long-term opportunity for us. We'll continue to look for opportunities like that or larger opportunities as well, things that can leverage our operating platform that we've built or things that can add to that platform that can leverage across all of our customer base. So we're staying active, and again, our goal is to accelerate the growth through the appropriate acquisitions.

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Operator [29]

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Our next question comes from Linda Bolton-Weiser with D.A. Davidson.

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Linda Ann Bolton-Weiser, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [30]

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Congratulations.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [31]

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Thank you.

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Linda Ann Bolton-Weiser, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [32]

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Could you please comment on -- when you talked about GFGB, you mentioned in wholesale gift baskets, the strength there. And you -- I think you mentioned an expanded customer list, can you comment on -- is that a new channel? Or is that another club -- warehouse club customer? Or can you just kind of comment on what you meant by the expanded customer list there?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [33]

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Sure. So thank you, Linda. Yes, as we look especially on the wholesale gift basket side, our wholesale food growth side, we've had good results this holiday season. And it's been a combination of really good product design, and the team does a fantastic job on product innovation and product design now. That's also helped us just simply to gain new customers that we sell to. So it's not a new channel, but it's a number of new customers in that we sell our wholesale products, too.

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Linda Ann Bolton-Weiser, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [34]

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Great. And then you were talking about your outlook for Valentine's Day although it's so early. Can you just comment in general the competitive landscape? And I guess, FTD has been owned now for several months by a private equity firm. Are you seeing any changes with regard to how FTD is behaving or anything that is affecting your thinking about the upcoming big holidays?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [35]

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Linda, we believe we have a very sustainable competitive advantage that we've earned over the last couple of years. So as we look at the competitive landscape, especially going into Valentine's Day, we expect it to be highly promotional holidays. It always is in the floral category. But as we do that, and as you've seen us, especially the last couple of holidays, you see us continue to grow, continue to improve our bottom line, continue to improve our market share by focusing on our customers, focusing on the customer experience, the truly original products, some of which I pointed out, the Romantic Medley collection, gerbera daisies, et cetera. We think we have a really good merchandising and product development team that's been winning in the category, the different products we brought to the table. So when we look at the competitive landscape, we expect hard competition, we expect promotional activity, but we think we're as well positioned as we've ever been to win in that category.

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Linda Ann Bolton-Weiser, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [36]

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Great. And then finally, in BloomNet, you had really strong revenue growth. Are you in the phase yet where you believe that you're gaining new members in the network? And can you remind us how that works? I thought there was some seasonality where maybe that activity actually takes place more in the summer. Can you just talk about whether that's occurring yet? Or is that still to come?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [37]

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So I think as you look at the revenue, as we pointed out, lot of the revenue growth that we saw this quarter came from increased sales of products and services to our membership. And that helps tremendously. But you're right, there is a seasonality aspect to growing membership in that wire service. During the big holidays of the Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, people aren't like -- shop owners aren't likely to make major changes, but then they will during the summer time period. So sales blitz is for us, for example, to gain more membership, would normally happen during the summer months.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [38]

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But I think BloomNet is really is well positioned to kind of continue its momentum going forward and continue to take market share.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [39]

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Yes, certainly.

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Operator [40]

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Our next question comes from Doug Lane with Lane Research.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [41]

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Staying on the balance sheet and the cash here, you mentioned some technology investments. Is there anything on the horizon that would take you off this kind of $33 million, $34 million in CapEx annually down the pipe here?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [42]

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Yes. From a CapEx perspective, we've been in that range for a couple of years. That's our guidance for this year. Certainly, we expect to continue to invest on the technology side. We've always been a leader in innovation and how we are at the kind of the front end of our systems and how we reach our customers. But there's also back end and manufacturing and distribution. We've made some efforts over the past couple of years and accomplished some automation projects, both on the manufacturing side and we have plans in place for automation on the distribution side in some of our larger distribution centers. So we're expecting that range to continue in the foreseeable future.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [43]

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And just for clarity on the technology side of investments, as Bill points out, that's something that we're always making sure we're on the forefront of and we'll continue to do that, but there's no major hurdle coming up in front of us from a technology point of view.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [44]

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Okay, that's what I was looking for. And then I'm kind of new to the story here, but what's your attitude or approach on dividends?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [45]

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Well, as we look at the use of our cash, Doug, as we look at the use of our cash, first and foremost, we want to use our cash to grow the business, whether it be through investment into our organic growth or through acquisition, M&A activity, as we just discussed. So that's our primary use of cash focus. In addition to that, Bill referenced earlier, we do have a stock buyback program in place. Dividends is something that we don't see on a short-term horizon for us right now. We feel there's better opportunity to utilize that cash to grow the business and take more market share.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [46]

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Yes, sure. That makes sense. And then just looking, again, the quarter looks like execution was spot on. But just looking at some of the trends here, particularly on the variable expenses, where gross margins ticked down a little bit and your marketing spending ticked up a little bit. And again, not big moves, but just directionally, are these going to be sort of ongoing pressures here as I look at the rest of this year and start thinking about fiscal 2021?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [47]

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Yes. I mean, I think gross margins do fluctuate. I think we are operating extremely efficiently. We do have headwinds that impact gross margins. We're actually very pleased with where our gross margins have come out -- have come in. We've talked about a lot of these headwinds with rising labor costs and tariff and the tariff uncertainty, the promotional nature of the holiday season, rising transportation costs. So these are kind of ongoing items and headwinds that we have to face. We're offsetting that through automation initiatives and operational performance to a great extent, but the fluctuations you are seeing -- the little fluctuation you're seeing in some of the segments, some of that is product mix. BloomNet with its growth -- starting to accelerate its growth again with expanded products and services, some of those are at lower margins. BloomNet has a mix of high-margin products and services and low-margin products and services, and that does fluctuate from quarter-to-quarter. We're really very focused on moving top line growth, gross margin dollars and bottom line contribution. I think from an OpEx standpoint, as I mentioned a little earlier, we think we'll continue to drive some leverage on the OpEx side. We want to invest on the marketing side. We want to continue to drive top line growth, but looking for leverage in other aspects of our operating infrastructure to drive some leverage.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [48]

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Sure. And on the marketing expenses, should we just look at marketing expenses as basically moving in line with sales? Or are there any changes on the horizon there?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [49]

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Yes. I think over the last 2 years, we've actually invested incremental marketing dollars. Now when you look at the marketing and selling line, there's a lot more course in that. It isn't just straight advertising marketing dollars. So we're offsetting some of the increased marketing spend with savings elsewhere, but that's been part of the guidance that we've provided over the last couple of years. We were investing in kind of new customer acquisition growth, especially within the 1-800-Flowers and Harry & David brand to drive accelerated top line growth and building kind of a sustainable top line growth model.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [50]

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Yes. And that ties back again to the competitive positioning. We feel we're in a really strong position, so it makes sense for us to accelerate that a little bit.

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Operator [51]

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Our next question comes from Dan Kurnos with The Benchmark company.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [52]

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Yes, just 1 quick follow-up, guys. It's a good segue, Bill, from that last answer. Just kind of maybe structurally now, do you think that we're -- with all of your investments and sort of reaping the benefits of that, do you think we're back to kind of where you guys used to be in sort of, let's call it, 30, 40 basis points of annual margin expansion? And I'm not trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but obviously you're guide this year and then your Investor Day guide would only imply 10 basis points of expansion next year. So I don't know, I doubt there's incremental investment and I suspect you were being conservative. But just want to get a sense of where you feel structurally with the company at this point?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [53]

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Dan, we haven't provided guidance for -- formal guidance for 2021 other than what we talked about at our last investor conference with the $100 million number, and that didn't include the contribution from Shari's. And so that obviously -- the expectation is that number would increase. I mean, we're going to continue to drive sustainable top line growth. We've had a couple of years of incremental investments on the marketing side. We think that's been successful. We haven't made final decisions on our 2021 plans on that, but that has been successful, that investment in marketing, so but chance is that that's going to continue. And that we're looking to leverage other aspects of our platform to drive operating leverage.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [54]

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We are seeing the benefits of that celebratory ecosystem platform that we've built over all of these years, leveraging the technology, leveraging the distribution capabilities, leveraging some of the marketing programs like Passport, et cetera. All of that is helping to drive both the top line and the operating leverage.

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Daniel Louis Kurnos, The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Internet, Publishing & Broadcasting Analyst [55]

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Yes, got it. I was looking more directional. That's helpful. Obviously, not looking for solid '21, but it feels like we're kind of getting back to where we used to be with sort of consistent leverage and stable to improving top line with what you've got.

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Operator [56]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Anthony Lebiedzinski with the Sidoti & Company.

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Anthony Chester Lebiedzinski, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Senior Equity Research Analyst [57]

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So I just wanted to follow-up as far as new customer growth. Could you perhaps give us some color as far as how much of your revenue came from new customers to the business? And also I was wondering about your AOV for the quarter as well?

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [58]

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So on the new customer growth, we continue to look at, as I mentioned a couple of times, increasing new customer acquisition, but also deepening the relationship we have with existing customers. And I think if you look at the quarter, revenue from repeat customers was, I think, 62% -- yes, 66% actually in Q2. So it's showing the benefit of while we're increasing new customers, we're also deepening relationship with our existing customer base, and we're really happy with that. Again, looking at the programs like Passport, multi-brand customer initiatives, what they're doing to drive those healthy metrics for us. So the more we can keep a nice balance like that, Anthony, the better off we are.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [59]

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From an AOV perspective, most of the revenue growth for the quarter was driven by order growth. AOV was up about 1% and order growth was, I guess around 5%.

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Anthony Chester Lebiedzinski, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Senior Equity Research Analyst [60]

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Got it. As far as tariffs, just wondering if the Phase 1 trade deal, did that have any meaningful impact as far as your tariff hit for this year as far as your guidance change?

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [61]

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Well, I mean, the agreement with China seems to eliminate the threat of new tariffs that would impact our business going forward. However, we're still absorbing the impact of the tariffs that are already in place that have not been removed. We continue to, as we've discussed, we take initiatives to mitigate the impact of tariffs, but it still represents year-over-year. This has kind of been building. There are tariffs that were in place back in 2018 before the news on tariffs -- the newer tariffs came into play. Incrementally, this year, it still was several million dollars more than it was a year ago, but we continue to look at ways to offset the impact of that.

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Anthony Chester Lebiedzinski, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Senior Equity Research Analyst [62]

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Got it. Okay. And looking at the next few quarters, there are some calendar shifts, Valentine's Day is now on a Friday this year, Easter is a little bit earlier. Then Christmas then will fall into, actually, will be on a Friday, later this year, then the Valentine's Day then moves to a Sunday next year. So as we adjust our models, how should we think about these calendar changes for the next few quarters, just a high-level perspective would be great.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [63]

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Yes, go ahead, Bill. We'll give you that from a high level. Now obviously, as we get into next year, we'll be giving a little more guidance on the calendars of next year. But you're right, Christmas moving to a Friday is a nice benefit.

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William E. Shea, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - Senior VP of Finance & Administration, Treasurer and CFO [64]

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Yes. So first this year, Easter moves about a week earlier this year, but it's all within the fourth quarter. So most of it doesn't impact really the revenue that we generate because it's a little earlier, the way the accounting rules work, and some of our catalog costs that last year hit in Q4, hit in Q3. And so while we're not generating the revenue of those catalog expenses, we are booking -- we have to book that expense in Q3. So that does have a little impact on Q3 versus Q4, we're taking on more marketing expense here. The revenue kind of stays in Q4. To the point of next fiscal year, just at a very macro level, the calendar shift of having this year being a leap year, at holiday time, we clearly turned from kind of a headwind this year with the 6 less shopping days. Next year, we're getting a little bit of a tailwind. We pick up 2 days from a selling season as Thanksgiving moves from the 28 to the 26 and with Christmas moving from a Wednesday to a Friday, that's a great day from a logistics standpoint being at the end of the week and getting all those packages out. So clearly, a tailwind in Q2 that we've been -- we pickup next year with Valentine's Day and Friday is a good -- a very good day. Whenever Valentine's Day is towards the end of the week, that's a positive for us. It's such a -- late ordering customers order late for Valentine's Day. And so having that full week to get -- to grab that demand is a benefit. So Thursday and Friday are the better days for Valentine's Day. Next year, when that shifts to a Sunday, that will have an impact on us. So we get the tailwind in the second quarter with Christmas. We do have a headwind in the third quarter next year with Valentine's Day moving from a Friday to a Sunday.

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Operator [65]

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This concludes our question-and-answer session. I'll now turn the conference back over to management for closing remarks.

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Christopher G. McCann, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. - CEO, President & Director [66]

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Okay. Thank you, everyone. We appreciate your interest and your time here. Thank you very much. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. And of course, don't forget Valentine's is coming soon, so don't wait, visit any of our all-star lineup of brands to express your heartfelt sentiments, capture her heart on Valentine's Day. Thank you very much.

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Operator [67]

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The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation.