U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 3 mins

Edited Transcript of GMS earnings conference call or presentation 29-Aug-19 12:30pm GMT

Q1 2020 GMS Inc Earnings Call

Tucker Sep 11, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of GMS Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 12:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* A. Lynn Ross

GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO

* John C. Turner

GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director

* Leslie H. Kratcoski

GMS Inc. - VP of IR

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Christine Cho

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Director & Equity Research Analyst

* David John Manthey

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst

* Keith Brian Hughes

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD

* Kevin William Hocevar

Northcoast Research Partners, LLC - VP & Equity Research Analyst

* Michael Glaser Dahl

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Noah Christopher Merkousko

Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Associate

* Ryan Joseph Coyne

Instinet, LLC, Research Division - Research Analyst

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning, and welcome to the GMS First Quarter 2020 Earnings Call. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Leslie Kratcoski, Vice President, Investor Relations. Thank you. Ms. Kratcoski, you may begin.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leslie H. Kratcoski, GMS Inc. - VP of IR [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Claudia. And good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us this morning. I'm joined today by John Turner, President and CEO; and Lynn Ross, Chief Accounting Officer and Interim CFO. In addition to the press release issued this morning, we posted presentation slides to accompany this call in the Investors section of our website at gms.com.

On today's call, management's prepared remarks and answers to your questions may contain forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements address matters that are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control and may cause actual results to differ from those discussed today.

As a reminder, forward-looking statements represent management's current estimates and expectations. The company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in the future. Listeners are encouraged to review the more detailed discussions related to these forward-looking statements contained in the company's filings with the SEC, including the Risk Factors section in the company's 10-K and other periodic reports.

Today's presentation also includes the discussion of certain non-GAAP measures. The definitions and reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures are provided in the press release and presentation slides. Please note that references on this call to the first quarter fiscal 2020 relate to the quarter ended July 31, 2019.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to John Turner.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Leslie. Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. I will begin today's call with a review of our operating highlights and then turn it over to Lynn to cover our financial results in more detail. I'll then conclude our prepared remarks with some of my initial thoughts on our path forward following my first 4 months here at GMS.

We are off to a strong start to fiscal 2020 as we remain focused on leveraging the foundation of our business and positioning GMS for long-term growth and profitability. We achieved record net sales results in the quarter, which increased 8.9% year-over-year. This growth was broad-based across each of our product lines with growth of 7.5% in wallboard, 11.4% in ceilings, 2.1% in steel framing and 13.6% in other products.

Organic net sales increased 3.4% with just over 5% organic growth in the United States partially offset by about a 10% year-over-year organic sales decline in Canada. In the United States, the team delivered record results as we continue to experience healthy residential and commercial end markets with solid demand.

While the commercial markets are also solid in Canada, we continue to experience the impacts of the significant slowing in single-family housing, particularly in the greater Toronto area. Based on our current read, the timing of the recovery in the Canadian single-family housing market remains uncertain. However, similar to the United States, the fundamentals contributing to long-term Canadian residential construction demand remains sound, including strong household formation and population and economic growth. For now we remain focused on what we can control, and our Canadian team is executing very well in a tough environment. Nonetheless, our long-term strategic rationale for last year's acquisition of the largest distributor in Canada remains extremely compelling.

While gross margin improved year-over-year, we did experience an increase in adjusted SG&A as a percentage of sales. This was due to some continued cost pressures as well as reduced operating leverage in Canada but also because we're making investments in initiatives aimed at advancing our next phase of growth and success. Adjusted EBITDA increased 11% to a record $83.6 million for the quarter, and we realized an adjusted EBITDA record margin of almost 10%.

As previously announced, we acquired Hart Acoustical & Drywall Supply in the quarter, adding 3 locations in South Texas. We also opened 2 greenfield locations: one in Manchester, New Hampshire; and the other in Wichita Falls, Texas. We remain committed to disciplined expansion of our geographic footprint through accretive acquisitions and greenfield openings balanced with our debt reduction priority.

With that, I'll turn it over to Lynn to provide more detail on our financial results for Q1.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, John, and I'd also like to thank you all for joining us today. We were pleased to deliver a strong first quarter highlighted by record net sales and adjusted EBITDA performance.

Looking at Slide 4, we grew net sales 8.9% to $847.2 million, including 3.4% organic growth year-over-year. The modification in our calculation of organic net sales growth, as described in our earnings release this morning, is in response to the feedback from the investment community as well as our view that including sales from acquisitions, such as Titan, after the first anniversary of the acquisition date is more appropriately reflected in organic net sales growth on a year-over-year basis. As a point of reference, the 3.4% organic growth we are reporting today for the first quarter under our new methodology would've been 5.1% under the previous methodology, which would have excluded Titan sales from organic net sales for all of fiscal '20.

Our sales of wallboard were up by 7.5% compared to the same period last year, including 3.5% growth on an organic basis, which included a volume increase of over 4% and less than a 1% decrease in price. Our first quarter ceiling sales increased by 11.4% year-over-year or 8.3% on an organic basis. This organic growth included price increases of approximately 5% and higher volume of approximately 3%. Our sales of steel framing increased 2.1% year-over-year but declined 0.8% on an organic basis due to an approximate 5% increase in volume, which was offset by declines from price and mix totaling approximately 6%.

Sales of our other products, which consist of insulation, joint compound, tools, stucco, EIFS and various other complementary products continued to grow, increasing 13.6% in the quarter. This product segment now comprises almost 30% of our total sales. On an organic basis, we saw a 3.1% increase in this category, and we continue to focus on growing this highly profitable and complementary product segment.

Gross profit in the first quarter increased almost 12% to $274 million. This was the result of higher sales, both organically and including the positive impact of acquisitions, as well as $4.1 million of noncash purchase accounting adjustments recorded in the prior year related to the Titan acquisition.

Our gross margin of 32.3% improved 80 basis points from 31.5% a year ago primarily due to net favorable price-cost dynamics, Titan purchasing synergies and the prior year purchase accounting adjustments. At this time, we are maintaining our gross margin guide of 32.2% for fiscal '20.

Turning to Slide 5. Adjusted SG&A expense as a percentage of net sales was 22.6% compared to 22.4% in the prior year quarter. The 20 basis point increase in adjusted SG&A was a result of several factors. First of all, we experienced reduced operating leverage in Canada and continued cost pressures across the business, including some related to weather in the quarter. Additionally, we made some initial investments in business initiatives to support sales growth and operational efficiencies. Our investment in 6 greenfields in the last 2 quarters also impacted operating leverage as these locations take some time to ramp up. These impacts were partially offset by increased efficiencies from the company's cost-reduction initiatives undertaken over the last 12 months.

Moving on to adjusted EBITDA. We delivered $83.6 million of adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter, up 11% year-over-year. Our adjusted EBITDA margin was 9.9% as a percentage of sales, up 20 basis points from the 9.7% a year ago.

Turning to Slide 6. Free cash flow this quarter was a use of $18 million. It's typical for our first quarter to have a use of free cash flow, but this compares favorably to a use of $52 million a year ago. This improvement is primarily a result of a $26 million increase in cash from changes in net working capital and $10 million of higher net income after adjustments for noncash items. At the end of the quarter, our net debt to LTM pro forma adjusted EBITDA was 3.7x, which was down from 4.2x as of the end of the first quarter of fiscal '19 following the closing of the Titan acquisition and up slightly from 3.6x at the end of fiscal '19 as a result of the use of cash in the quarter that we just discussed. We intend to continue to delever through positive free cash flow generation anticipated for the full fiscal year.

And our balance sheet remains quite healthy with $24 million of cash on hand and $296 million available under our ABL facilities, resulting in substantial liquidity for our business. Additionally, of our total long-term debt, approximately 80% is not due until the year 2025.

Now let me turn the call back over to John before we open the line for questions. John?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Lynn. Once again, we're very pleased with our strong start to fiscal 2020. We continue to expand our market-leading position and our balanced product portfolio. Our diversified exposure across commercial and residential new and repair and remodel construction markets also continues to be an advantage.

Our dedicated team throughout North America continues to embrace our strong entrepreneurial culture and drive outstanding performance for our customers, suppliers and our shareholders. One of the things that attracted me to GMS was that our prospects for growth are significant. And after my first 4 months here, I'm even more convinced that's the case.

As we move forward, we are committed to advancing this next phase of growth and success. We will seek to capitalize on the meaningful organic growth opportunities across our platform. We also intend to continue to enhance and expand our geographic footprint through both greenfield locations and accretive acquisitions balanced with our debt reduction priorities. At the same time, we are also confident we will continue to leverage our scale and employ best practices to deliver further profit improvement. The team and I will be working diligently to execute on these initiatives, and we will be sure to keep you updated on our progress.

Operator, we are now ready to open the call for questions.

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Our first question is from Mike Dahl with RBC Capital Markets.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Glaser Dahl, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John, congrats on the first earnings call here. I just wanted to pick up on your commentary that you have talked with, and it sounds like a significant growth focus here. If we look at the results for the quarter, SG&A is still a bit elevated. Keeping the gross margin guide unchanged, it seems like you're -- you may be a little tilted towards focusing on growth. But I just wanted to ask, with that backdrop and the investments that you're likely to make to continue the growth here, how should we think about margins in, call it, the near to midterm? And I'm thinking just EBITDA margins and whether or not we kind of plateau here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, let me address the discussion around the investments first off and kind of our focus on growing the business. We will remain balanced in the way we do our investments as far as our organic approach versus accretive acquisition approach. But internally, we are investing in sales specialists in some of our other product categories and particularly around architectural specialties and ceilings as well as tools and accessories. And we have a nice little business called Tool Source Warehouse, which we are expanding as we speak as well. So we have some investments that are going into some of the product categories that are very profitable for us and that we're kind of in our infancy in a lot of ways. So that's kind of some of the investments behind the growth initiatives.

Additionally, we have ongoing technology initiatives to drive both productivity and service to our customers. So we have a logistics software implementation that's underway. We have what we call direct, which is the automation of our B2B relationship with our customers online. And then we are now just beginning to roll out an upgrade to our ERP. It's the same ERP that we are on. It's just moving everybody to a single instance. So that's a little bit of spending that's going to go on as we go forward.

I'm going to go ahead and let Lynn talk about what we expect from a margin perspective, but I'll reiterate our guide of 32.2% on the gross margin. I think that our top line sales are probably going to be similar. We've got good momentum, so I wouldn't expect -- the end markets seem fine. So that's kind of where I'm going to leave it, and I'll turn it over to Lynn.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, absolutely. Yes, Mike, I'd like to add to what John says and to respond to your question about the 10% to 15% incremental adjusted EBITDA margins. We do plan to be at 10% or higher going forward. In terms of our gross margin guide of 32.2%, we've talked about that as being a prudent guide in the past. We obviously will strive to do better.

And then with respect to operating leverage, how much we get depends on our performance in our Canadian business. It also depends on the mix of sales growth between volume and price. Obviously, it depends on the timing of efficiencies with respect to our initiatives. We do plan to seek areas of getting additional operating leverage. So does that respond to your question?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Glaser Dahl, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, it does. Yes. And then just shifting gears, obviously, there are a lot of things going on and going right for your business. One of the things that has been top of mind for investors, though, is some of the dynamics around wallboard and wallboard pricing. Specifically, yourselves and your public peer -- or one of your public peers on the distribution side are showing much more mild pricing declines than the manufacturers have shown. Could you just comment on what you think is driving that? Is that just a timing differential? Or has something shifted in terms of your ability to keep price while achieving a better purchase price from the OEMs? And just how to think about that dynamic and what you're seeing there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, Mike, as you know, we pride ourselves as being a service leader, and so we believe that we get paid for that. We have a fairly complex mix of business. And so across those end-use commercial and residential markets, we feel like we are not in a position to give up a tremendous amount of price at the moment. At the same time, you can see by our growth that we are very much focused on maintaining and growing our share in the market. And I think we're in a very good place right now.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question is from Keith Hughes with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Brian Hughes, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess the question is on the U.S. business. You kind of gave us a view, under the old same-store sale calculation, what that would look like. Are you seeing any substantial regional variations within that 5-odd-percent number of one part of the country carrying or lagging versus the average?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith, the same trend that's been going forward. You're looking at the coastal regions, the southern regions are stronger, and the central part of the United States is a little softer. We've done some things in our business in the middle of the country and very proud of what our teams have been able to accomplish there to improve their business slightly. But generally speaking, it's coastal from the Northeast all throughout the Southeast to the South and back up the West Coast. Those are the strongest parts of the business.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Brian Hughes, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And is -- I guess as you look at your commercial backlog, is that -- are you seeing any signs of weakness on quotation, bid activity, things of that nature in commercial?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not yet. Commercial still remains very strong. Solid pipeline.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Brian Hughes, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the final -- okay. And I guess final question on Canada. At what point, what month, quarter, however you want to do it -- where did you reach the point where Canada started really turning down on it when you anniversaried, I guess, is my question.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm going to let Lynn answer it because I don't think I was here when that started. So go ahead, Lynn.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I'd say comps get easier in the back half of the year, Keith, with respect to Canada.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Brian Hughes, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So the back half year. Fiscal year or calendar year?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Yes fiscal -- yes, sorry, fiscal Q3.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith Brian Hughes, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Which would be the kind of calendar beginning in 2020 on a calendar basis. Is that correct?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, correct.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question is from Kevin Hocevar with Northcoast Research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin William Hocevar, Northcoast Research Partners, LLC - VP & Equity Research Analyst [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wanted to revisit -- so the gross margin guide, 32.2% for the year, if I look back historically, July has always been your lowest gross margin quarter of the year, and you eclipsed that number this year. You put up 32.3%. So I guess I want to get a sense for still going with the 32.2% for the year. Is there anything that would cause that then to come down the balance of the year and kind of back to normal seasonal trend of that going higher? Or -- but like you said, there's maybe some conservatism baked in there. I just wanted to have a better understanding of -- is there something that's going to drag that down? Or any clarity you provide there would be helpful.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Sure. On the 32.2%, Kevin, we believe that that's just a prudent guide. I don't see anything coming at us that would drag that down in the balance of the year. And like we've discussed, we continue to maintain that guide, just -- we believe that it's prudent. We will strive to beat that.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin William Hocevar, Northcoast Research Partners, LLC - VP & Equity Research Analyst [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Got you. And John, I think you mentioned to an earlier question something along the lines of top line sales remaining similar. I just wanted to get some -- as we look ahead, we want to get some clarity on that, what that's in reference to. Is that the 9% sales you grew this quarter? Or is that you grew -- it looked like base business volumes were up in that 3% to 5% across the different categories. Is that an expectation that you expect going forward? Just any color you can provide on, as we look at the top line going forward, what we can expect.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [23]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I'm speaking mostly towards our organic number, so I would expect low to mid-single-digit type growth on the organic side of volume. I'm not 100% convinced yet on what's happening with steel pricing and/or, really, the wallboard situation, but I think from a volume perspective, the pipeline looks low/mid-single digits.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [24]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Michael Wood with Nomura Instinet.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan Joseph Coyne, Instinet, LLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [25]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is Ryan Coyne on for Mike. Just 3.4% organic growth, can you just talk about how you think that performed against the industry? In other words, were you able to achieve your 1 to 2 points of growth above the market?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [26]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think we have all the numbers yet, but I -- we think we're growing above the rate of the market slightly. I don't think 3.4% is dramatically greater than the market, but I do think we are doing better organically. Our mix of steel business in the quarter was definitely something that dragged us back on the top line a little bit, but I think on a volume basis, we're better. And our wallboard volume was certainly better than what we think the industry is performing at, at the moment.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan Joseph Coyne, Instinet, LLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [27]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Great. And then you called out favorable price-cost in the quarter. Are you able to quantify this? And then what's your expectation for that for the balance of the year?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [28]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So I would -- as you know, we don't provide the gross margin by product category. I would provide a little bit of color and say that our steel gross margin was down due to the fact that we were selling through higher-price inventory. Price declines were particularly marked in the month of July for the steel business. And wallboard was up. Did I provide that bit of color?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [29]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question is from Matthew Bouley with Barclays.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Christine Cho, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Director & Equity Research Analyst [30]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is actually Christine Cho on for Matt. My first question is actually on ceilings. I was wondering, noting that price was a positive contribution of about 5% in the quarter, what is your expectation on the ability to continue to push price in the segment?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [31]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would tell you it's pretty dependent upon the mix of what we sell. We're very focused on driving a higher value through our ceilings business with architectural specialties. Again, I mentioned a little bit of investment there as well on salespeople and engineers in that space. But I think that, that's about normal. It's maybe a little robust for the quarter, but I wouldn't expect it to change dramatically going forward.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Christine Cho, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Director & Equity Research Analyst [32]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it. And then just going forward, how are you thinking about your strategy, maybe a little bit more color on the strategy for tuck-in acquisitions and greenfields throughout the rest of the year and potentially more color on 2Q?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [33]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, as we mentioned, we're disciplined in our approach. We're focused on delevering the business. But when the right opportunities in the right markets and some sort of significant strategic component come along, we're certainly going to continue to do acquisitions. I would expect them to be mostly small tuck-ins. And greenfields are really expansions of our business in major markets where we already are. They're not going to be stand-alone greenfields in markets where we are currently not. So they tend to ramp up a little bit faster. But as you can see, even in this quarter, with 6 of them over the last 2 quarters, there is a little bit of an SG&A impact for them. So we'll continue to do about what we've been doing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [34]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question is from David Manthey with Baird.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David John Manthey, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [35]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First of all, earlier in the call, you had mentioned a 10% EBITDA. And I didn't quite catch if you were referring to an expectation for a recorded level of 10% or if you were referring to a contribution margin. Could you clarify that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [36]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, sure. So we always strive to be at 10%. That's been kind of our stated goal, and we believe that, that 10% adjusted EBITDA margin continues to be a good goal. What I was referring to is the guidance with respect to the 10% to 15% incremental margin that we have also provided as guide on previous calls, and we continue to adhere to that as well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David John Manthey, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [37]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Sounds good. And then in terms of the growth you've been seeing here in the last few quarters, 3%, 4%, 5% kind of volume growth and now price/mix seems to be waning a bit, how do you think about those dynamics relative to the 10% to 15%? Is there a revenue -- organic revenue growth target that you need to achieve in order to get in that 10% to 15% window? How do you think about the stall speed here?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [38]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, I would tell you that, yes, obviously, in the near term, we need to maintain a reasonable growth level at low single-digit type organic growth level. And we don't see any reason why we wouldn't be able to achieve that kind of a level to achieve the flow-through that we're talking about. Obviously, if there is a significant change in the end-use markets, then we'll have to adjust. But we don't see that in the near term.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David John Manthey, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [39]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Okay. And then -- yes, I'm sorry.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [40]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. We will have to achieve the low to mid-single-digits, and then like we discussed, that 32.2% is a prudent guide. We hope to exceed that. And then with respect to operating leverage, we talked about the fact that we're seeking to look for operating leverage as -- through the balance of the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David John Manthey, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [41]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And then last question on Canada. Can you discuss specifically what actions you've taken up there in terms of rightsizing that business today to improve the profitability even if the growth just sort of flattens out from going down right now?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sure. I was just there, and I can tell you that our team has done a fantastic job. I was there last week. We've reduced our headcount over 13% in that -- in Canada. At the same time, we've strengthened relationships with a lot of the customers. It is unfortunate, what we're going through up there in single-family, with the balance of the business being pretty strong. The commercial and multifamily markets, high-rise multifamily, in the greater Toronto area look very good. Our team is executing exceptionally well, very soft in the prairies in single-family, soft in GTA in single-family and a little soft on the West Coast in single-family as well. But we've done everything we think we know how to do to reduce our cost but also kind of ignite again a little bit of an additional organic growth engine up there. And I'm comfortable that, that team's positioned for the long term. We're going to do very well in Canada over the long term.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [43]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question is from Trey Grooms with Stephens.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Noah Christopher Merkousko, Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Associate [44]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is Noah Merkousko on this morning for Trey Grooms. So first question kind of talking about what you've seen on wallboard volume and pricing trends in August. It sounds like pricing has been relatively stable. Has that continued in August?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A. Lynn Ross, GMS Inc. - Interim CFO, Corporate Controller & CAO [45]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, it has. So on a -- yes, so let me give you a little bit more context. On a year-over-year basis, our sales per day were higher in each month in the quarter, and we see that positive momentum continue into August. In addition, our sales were sequentially higher or stable each month during the quarter, and we see that continuing into August.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Noah Christopher Merkousko, Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Associate [46]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got you. That's helpful. And then just a quick follow-up here. From a price-cost standpoint, is it fair to say you're pretty well caught up there? And any color and expectations for the remainder of the year would be helpful.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John C. Turner, GMS Inc. - President, CEO & Director [47]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think we are caught up. I think steel remains a little bit under pressure just because I think for the balance of this year, the rate of decline is definitely slowing in steel, just the raw material itself. You can see that if you look at the commodity market. But steel really seems to be the only place that may have a little more slippage. Everything else seems very stable.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [48]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are no further questions registered at this time. I would like to turn the conference back over to Leslie Kratcoski for closing comments.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leslie H. Kratcoski, GMS Inc. - VP of IR [49]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd just like to thank everyone for joining us today. A replay of the call will be available shortly on our website. And as always, we appreciate your interest in GMS. Good day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [50]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This concludes today's conference call. You may disconnect your lines. Thank you for participating, and have a pleasant day.