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Edited Transcript of RH earnings conference call or presentation 4-Dec-19 10:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 RH Earnings Q&A Conference Call

CORTE MADERA Dec 13, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of RH earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Allison C. Malkin

ICR, LLC - Senior MD

* Gary G. Friedman

RH - Chairman & CEO

* Jack M. Preston

RH - CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Atul Maheswari

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Associate

* Bradley Bingham Thomas

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst

* Curtis Smyser Nagle

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP

* Oliver Chen

Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Oliver Wintermantel

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Fundamental Research Analyst

* Robert Kenneth Griffin

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate

* Seth Mckain Basham

Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD Of Equity Research

* Steven Paul Forbes

Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Tami Zakaria

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the RH Third Quarter 2019 Q&A call. (Operator Instructions) And please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, speaker Allison Malkin. Thank you. Please go ahead.

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Allison C. Malkin, ICR, LLC - Senior MD [2]

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Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for our third quarter fiscal 2019 Q&A conference call. Joining me today are Gary Friedman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Jack Preston, Chief Financial Officer.

Before we start, I would like to remind you of our legal disclaimer, that we will make certain statements today that are forward-looking within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements about the outlook for our business and other matters referenced in our press release issued today. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Please refer to our SEC filings as well as our press release issued today for a more detailed description of the risk factors that may affect our results. Please also note that these forward-looking statements reflect our opinion only as of the date of this call, and we undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the result of any revision to these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

Also, during this call, we may discuss non-GAAP financial measures, which adjust our GAAP results to eliminate the impact of certain items. You will find additional information regarding these non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation of these non-GAAP to GAAP measures in today's financial results press release. A live broadcast of this call is also available on the Investor Relations section of our website at ir.rh.com.

With that, I'll turn the call over to the operator to begin our Q&A session. Operator, we're ready for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of Michael Lasser.

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Atul Maheswari, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Associate [2]

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This is Atul Maheswari filling in for Michael Lasser. So if you look at the guidance for the fourth quarter, you're calling for a 5% to 6% sales growth. Why shouldn't sales be much higher than this given you're cycling the 10 percentage point decline from December last year due to the stock market volatility and now also have the ski house launch in the marketplace?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [3]

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All right. Well, that's what we guided, and we're cycling a 4-point drag from exiting holiday and some other promotions. So...

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [4]

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You can essentially add 4% to our guidance and, in essence, think about an adjusted revenue growth rate.

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Atul Maheswari, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Associate [5]

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Okay. That's very helpful. And then as my follow-up, RH clearly has got a lot going on right now with all the new gallery openings. You have new concepts being rolled out, hospitality, and now we also have a planned global expansion. So how do you manage the sequencing of all that's going on so as to ensure that there are no execution-related hiccups going forward?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [6]

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Well, we execute the way we've been executing. So I just look at our past performance over the last couple of years, and I think we've, what, beat earnings guidance 8, 10 quarters in a row so we're not worried about it.

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Operator [7]

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Your next question comes from the line of Steven Forbes.

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Steven Paul Forbes, Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [8]

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So Gary, I wanted to start with RH International, right? And maybe if you can just comment on your current thinking around the number of international development projects the business can take on, right, within a single year. I guess I was sort of assuming as I was modeling out the business that you would do one, but is that right? I mean, would you do more than 1 in a year? I mean are there any sort of capacity restraints or people restraints as we start layering in the potential impact of RH international into the model?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [9]

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Well, we expect to start with 1 to 2 a year for the first year or 2 and believe we can ramp it from there. But from a capacity constraint point of view, we're not too concerned about it. We're opening in Europe first, focused on the U.K. and Paris and a few other kind of adjoining countries. So we don't see it as too much more complicated than opening new stores, quite frankly.

We run our business as a showroom business. We don't really stock our stores. We set up our galleries and take orders basically, right? Service customers, do design jobs and take orders. And the fulfillment side of our business, we've simplified greatly, and we don't see much complexity beyond that. So I don't think this is like 10 years ago opening an international business or 20 years ago opening an international business. It's a much smaller world today. Everybody communicates the same way. Everybody speaks basically English today, especially throughout Europe and all the European countries. And everybody knows our brand there. So we don't see a whole lot of complexity. It's just across the water.

And the biggest thing we're figuring out is how much of our product needs to kind of be housed and distributed from Europe, how much of it can actually travel across the water from our East Coast DC. But there's people running businesses similar than ours -- similar to ours today. Every one of our vendors shifts to Europe today. And a big part of our business is special order and that shifts directly into countries from vendors. So there's -- it's not as complex as you might think.

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Steven Paul Forbes, Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [10]

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And then just a quick follow-up, Jack, maybe for you. In the release mentioned 200 basis points of EBIT margin expansion in 2020. But any color you can provide on the revenue growth outlook. I mean, is it just fair to assume that -- to expect sort of to be within the long-term guidance range of 8 to 12?

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [11]

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Correct.

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Operator [12]

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Your next question comes from the line of Curtis Nagle from Bank of America.

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Curtis Smyser Nagle, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [13]

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First, just a quick model question. Just in terms of the 200 bps of margin expansion next year, I just want to make sure that's a net, not a gross number? And then I'll follow-up with another quick one.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [14]

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So what do you mean by that, Curtis?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [15]

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Yes, it's a net number, Curtis. We -- what we're saying is there's at least 200 basis points of margin expansion next year.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [16]

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That's right.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [17]

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That's the minimum we would hope we'd achieve, yes.

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Curtis Smyser Nagle, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [18]

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Understood, great. Thanks for clarifying that. And then maybe just a question for you, Gary, maybe a little more, I guess, qualitative. Just kind of looking at the model, I mean I think one of the more interesting things that you guys have done over the past few years is beefing up your collaboration with known designers and artists and kind of bringing them into your ecosystem. How important has this been to the growth of the brand? Do you have people coming in like specifically to ask for guys like Timothy Alton and kind of how do you see that continuing to develop over the next few years?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [19]

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Sure, sure. Well, I think it's one of the things we did when we pivoted the brand in 2009 and '10 and kind of turned the business kind of upside down or inside out, if you will. Most vertically integrated brands and ours was a -- what I'd call an inside-out model where we had 50 or so designers designing internally inside the company and then we present that externally. And what we did is we really turned that model inside-out, and we call it an outside-in model now, where we realized that -- and it was really a lightbulb that went off kind of watching Apple and when Apple launched the App store. And if you look at what Apple did and everybody went to the -- what was it, CSC -- Consumer Electronics conference.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [20]

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(inaudible)

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [21]

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The -- yes. And Apple is the only one not going there and Apple did their own conference and seemed to have the best attendance and the highest-quality designers and developers in technology were all designing for the Apple platform. And Apple focused on building the very best platform to amplify the work of the very best people in the world. And that's when the lightbulb went off for us, where we changed our model. We don't have any designers internally in the company anymore and we really have what we call a curation platform. And now instead of our product and our innovation being limited to 50 people in that area inside a company that would have to live in Corte Madera, really, the best people in the world can design and collaborate with us and we can amplify their work across the best platform.

So our focus is really building the best platform and building the best relationships with the best people. And I would say we're just starting to hit an inflection point, where at the highest end of the market, people that I think many would say might have never designed for our platform. You're going to hear about new names, see new people inside our books and on our website that are the very best people in the world and it will help us take the brand to another level of quality, taste and style.

So it's -- from our point of view, it's one of our real competitive advantages, and we've -- I think we've -- especially over the last decade, have our efforts on focusing on building the best platform. Best physical platform, the best online platform, the best print platform, the best service platform with interior design, and you'll hear about other things that we're doing to kind of enhance our services to really amplify the work of very best people.

I think now that we're a lot more visible, now that we have more of our larger physical stores, it's hard not to believe what we're going to do, right? It was different than when we had a lot of small mall stores. You have to be a big believer to say we were going to take the experience and the quality to an entirely different level. Now I think people see it and believe in it. So we -- again, as I said, we kind of have a tipping point where you have just more and more people coming on to the platform because we provide the most leverage for anybody in the industry today at the high end of the market.

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Operator [22]

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Your next question comes from the line of Oliver Chen from Cowen and Company.

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Oliver Chen, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [23]

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Gary, International is a big opportunity. What are your thoughts when you think about a market like Germany versus France, and also as you really think about the supply chain and delivering to the customer, the delivery networks there as well as how you're thinking about the supply chain with DCs and how those may evolve in the context of your expansion plans?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [24]

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Sure, sure. Well, Germany clearly is one of the biggest markets in Europe and France is I'd say the most fashionable and probably has the most influence on taste and style and maybe a brand cache in all of Europe. So in our view -- and we believe the U.K. will be our biggest market and again I think just about rivals France. London, France from a -- just a kind of a global view and global awareness are 2 very, very important cities.

So we're going to start in the U.K. I think we're going to do something completely revolutionary and unique to introduce ourselves into Europe in a way that no retail brand has done before. And we believe it's right to follow that with Paris, with France and make a statement there, especially as it's the center the fashion world. And Germany is also on our list. When I articulated in my letter that we have 5 to 7 locations that we're in negotiations on and pretty close to closing quite a few, Germany is right on that list. We're looking at 2 locations in Germany right now; 1 in France, that would be Paris; we have 2 in the U.K.; and then we're looking at cities -- other cities in Europe, Brussels and Madrid, Barcelona, other key cities where it's really the right place to kind of start our brand and position the brand from a design perspective. Also looking at Milan because it's a center of taste and style and where really the biggest home show in the world is, the Salone show in Milan.

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Oliver Chen, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [25]

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So Gary, as you do that, you've paid a lot of great attention to your delivery experience here in the U.S. Do you anticipate that being a big piece of the puzzle, just to ensure that it's a luxury experience when you touch the consumer at the home in these markets?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [26]

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Yes, absolutely. Well, one -- again, the world is getting smaller and smaller every year. And Europe has more complexity as far as trying to sometimes deliver in some of those cities. The infrastructure's a little more challenging. And the good news is everybody's home in Europe has furniture, and furniture is being delivered and has been being delivered for longer than our country has been on the planet. So it's not like it's an entirely new practice, what it is. It's new to us. And as we've studied it, we think that it's not going to be too much more difficult than kind of opening a new area in America or opening in Canada. The world has just gotten that much smaller.

So the real key is where do you position a DC. What's the most effective way to kind of cross borders. How do you manage some of the administration complexity. But what we feel confident about is the work we've done over the last 3 years -- more than 3 years now here on really architecting an entirely new operating platform and simplifying the business from a distribution network point of view and kind of re-architecting the reverse logistics and supply chain part of our business and focusing on elevating and simplifying the home delivery part of our business. We've just learned so much and feel so confident from an operational perspective. And our leaders in the business today are just kind of real forces, I think, in the industry.

And I think we're, in many ways, reconceptualizing the way supply chains are being looked at and executed, at least in our part of the business, the way home delivery has been looked at and executed our part of the business. And we'll bring all that same thinking to Europe. We may be initially a little bit more constrained just because we won't have all the volume and leverage we have. But our business is going to be pretty concentrated in certain markets just as it is in the U.S. today. So pretty quickly, we'll get scale and leverage.

And the good news is we're really good today and only getting better, right? And I think that's reflected in our operating margins, and we've guided to 14.2% this year. We're saying we're going to have at least 200 basis points of operating margin expansion last -- next year. That would tell you we'll be somewhere above 16% -- 16.2% or above. And all of that is inherent in the work we've done over the last 3 years. And what we've learned and really now the culture we've built from a kind of an operational service culture that I think is second to none. Second to none in the industry today, maybe second to none in the world. We don't know yet. We haven't spent enough time over there. But I'm just really confident in the team we have and our ability to execute and continue to innovate and improve.

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Oliver Chen, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [27]

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Okay. And our last question, Gary, waterworks has continued to be another impressive part of the business. What are your thoughts about that operating margin opportunity in terms of enhancing that and the integration pieces that are most important for the next few years?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [28]

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Yes. Well, with all the work we've had to do with redesigning and architecting the operating platform and kind of enhancing the gallery experience and launching a really kind of a revolutionary integrated hospitality platform inside our business, we had our hands full. And honestly, Waterworks has been operating no differently than Waterworks operated when we bought them. There really hasn't been any integration of the business today in any meaningful way that would create any amplification or leverage in that business.

So we now believe it's the right time to focus on Waterworks. We believe it's the right time to begin to integrate that business onto our platform and amplify that business onto our platform. And look, we think it's the best brand in the industry, and we think it will render the RH brand more valuable. And we believe Waterworks on our platform is no different than any of the great artisans in the world on our platform. We amplify their business and render them more valuable based on the platform we're building, which is really kind of second to none in the industry today.

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Operator [29]

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Your next question comes from the line of Seth Basham from Wedbush.

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Seth Mckain Basham, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD Of Equity Research [30]

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My question's around gross margins. You guys posted some strong performance in the third quarter and I was hoping to get a little more color on the drivers behind that performance.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [31]

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And you're referring relative to our guidance, not necessarily (inaudible).

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Seth Mckain Basham, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD Of Equity Research [32]

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Correct.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [33]

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Yes because obviously we beat last year by -- not beat, but we increased gross margin by 170 versus last year and -- versus the midpoint of our guidance, so it's up 140 basis points. A few factors there, I guess, relative to expectations. We are seeing continued strongness in the sort of product margin piece of our business. We are -- as we talked about the operating platform and the savings that we're getting there, the $15 million to $20 million that we talked about, we continue to learn about the full impact of that. And I think we're seeing -- just again, happily surprised that there continues to be leverage in that part of the cost of goods sold.

And then, frankly, as we've said before, we'd give a number. And the guidance we give versus what we have internally -- obviously, what we have internally is higher. I think in this case, there was just a bit of conservatism and we did -- we're proud of the result, we did a great job, and it was just probably, again, our internal forecast is generally higher than what we guide.

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Seth Mckain Basham, Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division - MD Of Equity Research [34]

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Got it. That's helpful color. We'll take that to mean that the fourth quarter gross margin guidance's unchanged, your internal forecasts are higher and the pricing power will persist, which is good news.

Last question on the topic related to tariffs is that you implied that there is little to no impact on the business. Could you state whether or not you saw for the full-price business units decline or increase for the quarter?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [35]

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Yes, we don't give that level of data. But I'd just say, look, you've got a -- our business is expanding at a pretty healthy pace. Our gross margins are expanding substantially. I think we're the only ones in our industry that's meaningfully growing operating margin. Most are trying to kind of hold on and -- or they're eroding. And I think what you're seeing is the -- what I'd say the emergence of the RH brand is a luxury brand that can -- has the potential to generate luxury margins.

And we just have a completely different business model today. We have a different brand today. The connection we have to the customer, the membership model that we have. The physical environments we're creating that are multidimensional with integrated hospitality. The design services that we offer, where we have real interior designers doing your home, not a visual merchant or someone right out of school. So we just have a completely unique and differentiated brand and platform and it's allowing us to get better margins.

And as we continue to position this as a luxury brand, it's like we said we've clear line of sight of 20% operating margins for the company today. And when I say clear line of sight, we know we can get there. We could probably get there faster than most people believe and it's just a question of how we want to invest along the way. And how we want to kind of keep building.

And it's not that 20% is the target or the end point. We looked at our 5-year plan, 20% is not the -- this is not the end point, not by any means. So if you think about the operating margins that many people have run in luxury brands that could be 25% to 30%. And I'm not saying that we'll get to 30% today, but I would say 20% is visible and very doable and 25% is likely.

So when you put that together with the long-term growth algorithm and the brand being able to play internationally, there's no one like us internationally. There's no -- I mean, we have less competition internationally than we do in the United States. I think our biggest competitor in the United States at the higher end is probably $300 million or $400 million. So the impact we have -- or the impact we will have and the disruption we can cause internationally I think it's exponential compared with the U.S., where you actually have a more developed competitor base.

So tariffs, to us, are -- I mean, they're not a big headline inside our company today. I mean, it might be a big headline in companies that are kind of trying to squeeze the lemon and hold on and maintain operating margins or not let them slide further. And that's just not who we are. It's not what we're building. This is an entirely new business model that has massive potential. Tariffs are kind of a short-term, episodic kind of distraction. Not anything that we look at strategically. We've got lots of flexibility. We can source in many different companies all over the world. I think still believe China is a great partner. I still have faith that a trade deal will be worked out. But if it doesn't work out, we have lots of optionality. There's -- yes. So not a big headline when you're thinking about RH.

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Operator [36]

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Your next question comes from the line of Oliver Wintermantel from Evercore ISI.

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Oliver Wintermantel, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Fundamental Research Analyst [37]

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Gary, you were talking just now about operating margins in the 20%, 25% range and up from 14 today. Can you maybe help us understand how -- you maybe on a path, how to get there? Is that more on the gross margin line or is that really leverage from SG&A line? Or does the business have to change materially to get there? Just help us maybe understand that a little bit more, how you think to get there.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [38]

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Yes, I will. Did you get a chance to read the letter yet?

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Oliver Wintermantel, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Fundamental Research Analyst [39]

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I did, yes.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [40]

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Yes. Okay. Well, that gives you a path to 20%, just basically right there. And so if you just take those pieces and -- with some enhancements. So -- and then if you kind of just think about the business, the last point I made there, every time we transform a legacy gallery to a design gallery and we expect in the first few years to double the business, that provides leverage across our entire platform. But as I pointed out, meaningful leverage in occupancy, meaningful leverage in advertising -- and I know advertising is in SG&A but I wanted to point it out because it doesn't mean -- just take any market where we're -- we might have a $15 million gallery and we open a big gallery and over the first few years, it gets to $30 million.

We're not mailing any more source books into that market. We're not doing anything differently from an advertising point of view in that market, but we're doubling the volume of the markets. So you can do the math on that pretty easily. Your ad cost falls in half. [Occupancy] cost leverage in our new galleries. And especially with our new development model, where we're able to really have very little depreciation in the next galleries that we're going to be doing going forward.

And so just right there, if you think about -- and then you take that volume and leverage it across the whole corporate SG&A, right, and the entire supply chain. And when you look at our business and you look at the very healthy percent of our -- percentage, we talk about what percent of our business is special order now?

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [41]

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We don't.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [42]

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We don't. Okay. Well, let's just say we have a big percentage of our business at special order, right, so that inventory spins very fast and has a very high return on it. And you just kind of do that math all the way through the model as you expand the model and get to 60, 70 design galleries in North America. And then think about the fact that around the world, we're starting with the new model, not the old model. You have to remember, if you start with the fact that this was a very different company with very different earnings. When I took over, it was at negative 5%. We kind of got to 7 and then we hit the downturn, and we had to scratch back up from 0. And today, most of the people that are -- home furnishings business is of a scale in North America, have operating margins of probably 5% to, I don't know, 8%, maybe someone has 10%. And today, we've got 14% going to 16%, 16.2%.

And so it's just -- we're not starting with having to kind of build up -- like we're starting with the new model in these countries. And we're starting with really, really great brand awareness and brand power. So we think we're going to ramp relatively quickly when we go internationally. We're opening internationally with all the leverage and the real estate development model that we're executing here. So yes, that's what kind of gives us a lot of leverage long term.

And the growth in the kind of the corporate overhead is going to be relatively minimal over the long term. I mean, we'll make investments and we'll keep expanding businesses and things like that, but in some ways, you could think about us in a way like a technology company from the perspective of -- we also run our business in a very project-based point of view. So just as Apple might shift a lot of resources to developing from an iPod to an iPhone or an iPad, we shift internal resources to develop RH Beach House, RH Ski House, RH Color and so on and so forth. Those are not kind of new businesses with new infrastructures and new organizations. It's just really the leverage of the flywheel we built that will provide a lot of gross margin expansion and operating margin expansion.

And then you put that on this kind of new massively more efficient operating platform we built. I think people probably underestimate the work we've done over the 3.5 years. I mean, we basically took the entire leadership team, cross-functional leadership team of the company, spent 3.5 years reconceptualizing and white-boarding an entirely new operating platform. I've never been with a company that's ever tried to do that. Usually, the methodology is, let's go hire a consultant, let's hire McKinsey or Boston Consulting or Bain, or take your pick, whoever they are. Let's bring in the consultant, let's let them interview everybody in our company and then look at our supply chain, look at our business and come back with a 1,000-page report and charge you $2 million or $3 million and say, "Thank you very much. Good luck. If you want us to help you execute this we can kind of be around and try to usher you along for another $2 million." And it usually becomes a plan nobody believes in and it's not the plan the organization conceptualized. Nobody really stopped work long enough, got out of their siloed functions long enough to really look at the business cross functionally to really build something entirely new. And that's what we did.

And look, it was painful at first, right? We pulled the car into the pit after we blew a tire. When we launched RH Modern, everybody's expecting us to kind of change the tires and come out back into the race. And we decided to take -- stay in the pit and build an entirely new car. Our stock went all the way down to $25 a share. People thought we were nuts. But we decided we were going to kind of stop and focus and conceptualize an entirely new business platform.

And we built it, not one consultant, nobody from the outside. Everybody from the inside and everybody that knows this business, and everybody is forced to work an entirely different way. We got all the brains in the game, all the egos out of the room, we broke down every silo. And if it moved, we measured it. If it didn't, we painted it. And we've built an entirely new company. And I think we'll all see how the results unveil over the next several years.

And look, when our operating margins got to 10, a lot of the analyst reports said, "Oh, they're at -- the operating margins are the highest performer in the industry." and that person slid back, "We don't think 10 operating margin's sustainable." When we get to 12, same story. "Oh, we don't think 12 operating margin's sustainable." Now we're at 14, I'm sure a lot of people don't think 14 is sustainable. We just told you, we've got at least 200 basis points of operating margin expansion in the model for next year. As Jack just said, that's probably not our internal forecast. So correct, it's not sustainable. It's only going to get better.

So I think yes, this is a new business, a new model, a very differentiated brand with an entirely new platform and brand proposition, and so it's going to be fun.

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Operator [43]

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Your next question comes from the line of Tami Zakaria from JPMorgan.

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Tami Zakaria, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [44]

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Congrats on another strong trend. So I have 2 quick questions. The first 1 is do you think the 2 distribution centers you have in the U.S. are enough in the medium term to support your sales and the momentum in the business you're seeing, especially if you go into Europe in 2021?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [45]

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Yes. We've-- we'll probably start to expand the footprint in the distribution centers over the next 12 to 18 months, so -- but you're really talking about kind of space expansion, not so much new distribution centers in new markets. We think we're kind of well positioned. So as we go into Europe, we're still sizing that up. What percent of the SKUs should we start with for our European expansion.

Just like any other business, you can use kind of the 80-20 rule. Maybe ours is 30-70. But directionally, the top 30% of our SKUs drives 75%, 76% of our revenues. You've got a good portion of those SKUs that are special order, so they really never hit DC. They just get cross-docked and go to a customer. So just like we don't necessarily house 100% of our SKUs in both distribution centers, that would just slow down the turn.

I mean, if you think about what's really different in our company, we used to have 4 furniture DCs that had 100% of the SKUs, right? That made no sense. Now we have 1 DC that has 100% of SKUs and 1 DC that has a significantly smaller percentage of SKUs. And so when we open in Europe, I think about it that way. We'd probably open a distribution center that has maybe 1/3 of the SKUs and then the other 2/3 gets shipped from Europe.

And so that's why I say it's not as complex as you might think, right? And we're not housing the goods in retail stores. We're not replenishing retail stores. We set up our galleries, and there -- it's like setting up a beautiful home or a hotel lobby, right? Like nothing really moves. Once in a while we get a customer that wants to lay on top of the bed, we've got to kind of fluff up the pillows inside the gallery.

But our business is not -- look, I think back in my days at The Gap, and I was restocking shelves and backrooms and having to move floor sets because all of a sudden, whatever collection blew out, you have empty racks, and now, you've got to try to move the whole store around and you're trying to stay in stock. And all these styles, sizes, colors, so on and so forth, we don't do any of that. It's a much simpler business on many levels. The hardest part of our business is actually delivering the stuff to the customer's home, which we believe we've leapfrogged from where we were and probably leapfrogged much of the rest of the industry.

But it's not as complex as, I think, people think it is. For us, we kind of look at it like, okay, we're going across the pond and we're opening in London, then we'll open in Paris, and we'll open beautiful galleries. And again, we just kind of got to set them up once, right, nothing moves. Nobody steals anything. Nobody walks out with a bed. Nobody moves a bed or a sofa. All the mirrors and lights stay in the same place.

What we do is we show up and we service the customer and provide an outstanding experience. And then on the back end, we have to execute and get the goods in the customer's home. And for the bigger part of our business, which is furniture, again, you're talking about probably the top 1/3 of our SKUs that we have to focus on, not the entire assortment. And then out of that, you've got a meaningful percentage of that -- I mean, less than 1/2, more than 1/4 that's special order, right? So it's different kind of model.

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Tami Zakaria, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [46]

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Got it. That's helpful. And my second question is how should we be thinking about the tax rate next year?

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [47]

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So Tami, we haven't obviously guided to that level yet. We provided, obviously, for this year, the update to the -- to our guidance. The tax rate we did the prior quarter was to 21%, and we clearly beat that this quarter given the stock option activity. I think -- again, no specific guidance. I'll tell you internally, we're using 20%. It could be better than that, to be honest. I think there's just...

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [48]

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So it's a function of the stock price, right? So we've got a lot of people holding options at relatively low prices. And so if the stock continues to perform, I'm sure people are going to exercise options and sell stock. I mean, we have a pretty widely distributed option plan within the company. And that's really what drives it. So as our stock has performed, as the stock is -- went from 50 to 100, 100 to 150, 150 to 200, we have more activity in our stock option plan, and that drives a lower tax rate.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [49]

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Exactly.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [50]

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So probably, if I think about it simply, if our stock stays at this level, continues to go higher, we're going to probably have a high activity of -- in our option plan. If our stock drops to $50, it will probably slow down and we'll pay more tax. It's not too much more complicated than that.

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Operator [51]

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Your next question comes from the line of Brad Thomas from KeyBanc Capital Markets.

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Bradley Bingham Thomas, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [52]

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Gary, I was hoping you could talk a little bit more about the Guesthouse as we look ahead to its opening in 2020 and if you could tell us a bit more about what you hope that experience to be like for guests and maybe how it may fit into the long-term business model.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [53]

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Yes. Not a lot to report yet. We wanted to let you know -- we're obviously opening it this year. We'll do a more fulsome explanation. But I'd start with the fact that everything we do is intended to render the RH brand more valuable, right, and position RH as kind of thought leaders, taste makers and place makers inside our industry. And that's what the Guesthouse is designed to do. We believe we can -- we've reconceptualized an entirely new market. We'll create an entirely new market for travelers seeking privacy and luxury and security in many ways. So if you think about privacy, privacy today is something everybody's giving away with social media, and it's -- with the Internet, for the most part, is taken away. And it's what people talk about most as being at risk is our privacy. So hard to find privacy today. Hard to -- but nobody's -- not too many people are selling privacy today, so we're creating a concept built around privacy and luxury.

A lot of people have asked me -- because it hits the real estate press, right? And that's the way we had to start talking about it a little bit because we signed a lease. And in that public document, it talks about RH building a hotel concept so people asked me, "I hear you're opening your hotel in New York," and I say, "No." And then they say, "I mean a boutique hotel." And I say, "No." And then they say, "Well, what are you doing?" I say, "We're creating a Guesthouse, and we're going to try to reconceptualize hospitality and do something no one's ever done." And then they say, "Oh, so I got it. It's going to be a showroom for your product." And then I say, "No. We have a 90,000-square foot showroom 20 steps away. Why would we do that? In fact, it's not going to have any of our products."

And that usually is what twists everybody's head around a bit because it's too expected, right? And if you do something that people expect and consumers expect, you'll never surprise and delight them. So we're doing something that I think nobody can imagine. I think it's going to elevate our brand. I think it's going to be amongst one of the best things we've ever done and one of the most innovative things done in hospitality in years.

So we're very excited about it. And the first one is in New York. The second one, I wrote in the letter, is in Aspen. They're 2 epicenters for taste, design and wealth, and that's where the wealthy and affluent visit and vacation. Aspen's one of those global epicenters. And I think this will, again, be another thing we do that creates a global conversation that continues to elevate the RH brand as we attempt to climb the luxury mountain.

I tell our team internally here that -- and if you think about almost every -- I think every luxury brand in the world today, all the best luxury brands, whether it's Hermès, Louis Vuitton, CHANEL, you name it, on and on, Christian Dior and all the others, they were all born at the top of the luxury mountain, right, they started there and we obviously didn't. And we're one of the few that is trying to make the climb to the top of the luxury mountain. And the people at the top of the luxury mountain, quite frankly, don't really want you to make that climb. They don't really invite you to their party. You're not from the neighborhood. You don't have the background. And to make that climb, which -- I don't know a brand that has from the level we started at.

To make that climb up the luxury mountain, you have to do things that create a forced reconsideration, right? You have to do things that force people to respect you, that force people to tip their hat, right? And I believe that's the kind of work we've done throughout our entire journey, step by step. We've taken another -- climbed another rung up that luxury mountain. We've only done things that have rendered our brand more valuable even if they were painful, like taking the car into the pit and going from a promotional model to a membership model and changing how our brand is perceived or opening really inspiring spaces and galleries. When the world was shrinking and closing stores, we're opening the most inspiring architectural environments in the history of retail and -- or integrating hospitality into our galleries the way we have. And Guesthouse will be no different. It will be a magnificent statement of our brand. It will -- we believe it will create a global conversation and set a new standard.

And not only that, what happens when you do work like this is it challenges your organization in a way that kind of just executing the same thing every day doesn't, right? It forces you to think differently. It forces you to reach higher. And that's why -- by the way, why we started in New York. A lot of people said, like, "Gosh, why don't you open your first Guesthouse somewhere where everybody is not going to pay that much attention, where you can make mistakes, where the critics won't be so harsh?" And we more operate from the Frank Sinatra model and believe that if you can make it there, you can get anywhere. And that's why it's important to start in New York. You start in a city like that, it brings out your best work. It brings out your best thinking. And I think what you'll see when we open the Guesthouse this year is something that's entirely new, entirely unexpected. And I've just told you entirely too much.

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Bradley Bingham Thomas, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [54]

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Well, I appreciate it, Gary. And looking forward to seeing it when it opens. I was hoping I could ask a quick follow-up on color and if you could just give us a sense of how big you think the scope of that new category may be next year and if you think you need to make changes of significance in the store to highlight that product in the store next year.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [55]

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Yes. Well, I think if you -- our brand is, a lot of times, picked on for not having much color. People usually say, "Oh, RH doesn't like color. Gary Friedman doesn't like color." It's not that we don't like color, it just so happens that the vast majority of the market is colorless. Why is it colorless because humans are generally colorless, right? We're shades of light to dark. The world is generally colorless, except for some green. The ocean is actually colorless. It's a reflection of the sky. And so what are we most comfortable with? Neutrals. Is there a market for color? There is. How big is it? It's not that big. If it was -- it's significantly smaller than clothing, right? And I'm learning that the hard way back in my Pottery Barn days, when I think I could chase the fashion color palettes, and all I did was create a hell of a lot of markdowns.

And so we think color will be additive to the brand. Today, nobody's waking up in the morning saying, "I want some colorful furnishings," and saying, "I'm going to RH." Like zero, right? We're basically a neutral-based brand. Is there a market? Is there possibly another 15% to 20% of kind of opening up the aperture of our brand? I think so. I could think it could be up to 20%. I think it will take several years to get there. And we have to do this in a really smart way. What we don't want to do is confuse the brand and unfocus the brand.

So we're doing it in a very RH way. It's very architectural. It's very disciplined. It's very structural in its approach. It's very intentional in its approach. And it's done in a way that maybe 1 or 2 interior designers in the history of the world have executed color that's -- who we've studied. One, primarily, who's really influenced probably the way I see the world from an interior design point of view more than anybody else, and that's Anouska Hempel, who's an interior designer that was really the godmother to the boutique hotel trends. Everybody kind of gives Ian Schrager credit. Actually, Anouska Hempel was before Ian Schrager. She just launched in London with the Blakes Hotels. And if you look at some of her work, and she uses color in a very architectural, very disciplined way. We studied her work. We studied one other person's work. Honestly, I don't think that too many people do color very well.

So we have to do color as well as we do neutrals. We have to do it within the point of view of our brand and we have to do it in a way that it elevates the RH brand and it renders the RH brand more valuable. We can't let it unfocus us. We can't let it kind of distract from the core business. We have to beautifully integrate it, and it has to amplify what we do. So not easy.

We've been working on it for 5 years. We thought we were going to kind of get it done the last couple of years, and it's just hasn't got there yet. We think we're very close, and we'll be ready next year. But it's like anything else we do, right? I mean, everything we've done is kind of a test, right, and we learn. You can have all the ideas in your head that you want, but you don't really know anything until you do something, right? And so we tend to learn by doing. We spend a lot of time deeply thinking about anything we do. And we try to conceptualize it. We try to kind of move our vision, translate our vision from vision to a strategy and figure out then how we can bring that strategy to life. But honestly, until you do it you don't really know that much. And so no different than RH Beach House or RH Ski House. They launched as relatively small tests. Source books that are 100 -- I think they're about 120, 140 pages. Very different than how we launched Modern. We launched with 545 pages. That didn't go so well, maybe a little bit too much complexity. But looking back, we -- look, we're glad we did it. It cost us $20 million to keep customers happy. We kind of botched some of the execution, but it's a huge business for us today.

But if you look at Beach House and Ski House, we tested them very small. We're learning a lot. We know what's working, what's not working. We will expand the assortment to optimize the mailings, to optimize the web presentation and begin to then test and move some of the best collections into our retail galleries.

That will be the same thing with Color. It's like -- we try to integrate color into the RH core book, into the interiors book at least 5 times. And probably 30 days before mailing the book, we just yanked it because it was unfocusing the brand. And so we decided to capitalize it in its own book, and we'll call it RH Color. And it'll kind of give its own part of the website or its own website integrated to our portal of the world of RH, which you'll hear more about that later, that we'll be working on and introducing later this year. But we'll present it in a way that people will know we're in the business, we'll be in the business in a very distinctive way. But we'll test it. We'll learn. We'll do some things right, we'll do some things wrong. But we get smart really quick here once we get data, once we get real feedback. So -- and then our -- then we accelerate the learning curve and we start to accelerate the business.

So we're hopeful. We think we think we're going to do color better than anybody else in the planet, except for maybe Anouska Hempel and one unnamed interior designer, but we're hopeful.

I don't think it will start real fast. I mean, I think there's just nobody waking up in the morning thinking about us for color. So it'll take a couple of years to kind of have it be known and have it grow. And no differently with Modern. Today, if anybody is thinking about modern home furnishing or furniture, I think everybody's thinking about us. And so Color will ramp, and we'll build a bigger impression in people's minds. And we'll be able to integrate it into our galleries in a really beautiful way. We've got a lot of concepts and things we've been thinking about and how we'll do that. So super excited about it, but it's not going to change everything in the first year.

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Operator [56]

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Your next question comes from the line of Zach Fadem from Wells Fargo.

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Unidentified Analyst, [57]

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This is actually [David Lance] on for Zach. So on the evolution of the real estate strategy, I was curious to see how you think about the opportunity as it stands today, and in particular, whether you see an opportunity in some of the smaller domestic markets like Columbus or Minneapolis, and relative to the sales lifts that you've seen in some of the larger markets that you have.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [58]

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So it's -- well, I mean, we have obviously opened in Minneapolis. We're opening in Columbus next week. So what's the specific question, David?

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Unidentified Analyst, [59]

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I guess, just more clarity around kind of some of the lift and like what you've been seeing in some of the smaller domestic markets in comparison to some of the larger markets.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [60]

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Yes, the lift is basically the same. The biggest difference is if do we or don't we have hospitality integrated. Hospitality integrated into the gallery gives us a greater lift, not just from the hospitality business but the traffic the hospitality business drives.

So we've been really, really consistent, plus or minus 10% or so. We haven't really had any surprises per se. Whether it's a small market, a small -- I guess, the smallest we've done is Kansas City and Leewood, I guess. And the biggest is big, New York. New York was really 2 step, right? New York was a legacy gallery that we expanded kind of 4 years before -- or something like that to a -- what I call, kind of a design gallery. We tripled the size of New York in its previous location. And the Flatiron went from 1 floor to 3 floors. And then we -- then we more than doubled the size of New York again.

And so the math has been very consistent. It's within a band, as you might expect. And sometimes, it's a little different just on how the business is actually growing that year, right? So if you looked at a gallery that was converting in a year where the business might have been growing at 15%, that gallery lifted bigger. If it was a year where the business grew at 5%, that gallery -- that number also influenced the lift, right? So it depends on what we're doing with the assortment strategy, with the marketing strategy, so on and so forth around the business. But we've got enough of them now. We're very consistent. It's very predictable.

And what's very different than other people and why it hasn't worked for other people, most people, they've taken a 5,000 square foot assortment and they put it into a 20,000 square foot flagship in Manhattan or Los Angeles or San Francisco, name any city, and it still performs like a 5,000 square foot assortment, right? You might get a little bit more sales. But what we have today, it's very different. We have probably a 200,000 square foot assortment and less -- I think today, it's less than 5% of the assortment is in our legacy galleries, right? You can only go in and probably see 5% to 8% of the assortment today in a typical gallery. So when we go from showing 5% of the assortment to 30% of the assortment, we know that math and we know what that lift is.

And so in each of these markets, we look at not only how big a gallery really is, but also how are we presenting each category, how many collections in each category do we have, how many living room presentations, dining room, bedroom, bathroom. We understand the math and the productivity. And so these prototypes are designed very scientifically, very mathematically. And we have a lot of data. So -- and because we've -- we now have a real proven concept and a high-productivity concept that can perform on multiple levels, right, multiple floors most retailers can't, and that can use rooftop space and garden space with our outdoor furniture business. We're really very desirable to developers, and so -- and we're proven. And now we're more desirable. We have hospitality. And that's really valuable to a developer because it drives traffic into their development.

And we don't just have any hospitality. We have many markets that we're going into, probably the most beautiful restaurant in the market. And one of the most productive restaurants in the market. If you look at our hours, we're not really open some of the peak hours for dinner. We close relatively early, and we don't have a bar. So when you look at our productivity and you take the alcohol component away from it, you look at our hours of operation, we're probably as productive as almost anybody out there. And I think it's because we're building beautiful environments, we have amazing hospitality and we have really high-quality, consistent culinary experience in food.

So that just -- it's only going to make the gallery performance better going forward as we expand the offer with Beach House, Ski House and Color. We're not going to do 0 with any of those, so they're all going to be incremental, right? And they don't even have to be in the gallery to be incremental to the gallery, right, because our galleries can sell beyond the 4 walls of the store.

So we feel more confident than ever about the real estate strategy. And it really doesn't matter. Again, whether -- kind of our lowest volume market's about $10 million, right? So our lowest volume stores are probably about as productive as many of our competitors' highest volume stores. So many people would like to have a $10 million or $12 million gallery, store. We look at those as kind of our lower-volume ones. But when a $10 million store will turn into -- go from like $10 million to $17 million to $18 million in year 1, and then to $19 million or $20 million in year 2 and keep growing. But we tend to, on average, by year 3, double the business if we have hospitality and less than that if we have -- don't have hospitality.

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Unidentified Analyst, [61]

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Great. And just one follow-up for me. On the outlet sales, they continue to expand. Curious if you could talk about any additional drivers beyond the DC liquidation and to the extent you think the outlet sales could be cannibalizing your full-price business.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [62]

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No, we don't believe it's cannibalizing the full-price business. We -- the outlet business has basically always been a return business, right? So it's mostly a return, slightly second-quality product. Sometimes it gets some new product if we have long inventory or discontinuing things. But really, what we've done over the last several years is just reduce inventory in the company, right?

I think versus our 5-year plan from 3 years ago -- the company has about $500 million less inventory. If you were to -- if we were turning the business at the same rate we were in 2016, I think, today, we'd have about $500 million worth of inventory, right? So you can think about it as like-for-like company. We took $500 million of inventory, at cost, out of the system, right? That's how much more efficient we are. So the company has gotten significantly bigger on $500 million less inventory.

So we've used the outlets to kind of help us liquidate that inventory, right, and drive down that inventory. And so it's -- as we think about it going forward, we actually think that -- it's funny you're asking because we were just in a meeting the day before yesterday. And you're thinking about, okay, now where do we go from here? What does the outlet business look like for RH as we go forward? And not that we want to build a big second-quality brand or do anything to kind of render the RH brand less valuable, but we've never really kind of looked at it in a real innovative way. We've made it massively more efficient.

Next year, it will be massively more profitable just because we're not going to be driving so much revenue at low price through it. But we now have some new kind of thoughts, new visions and ideas for that channel that -- where we could probably even drive some incremental -- long-term incremental revenues. Next year, it will probably be a revenue drag, but long-term incremental revenues and incremental profitability. It's just -- it's never been used for anything besides liquidating returns and damages.

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Operator [63]

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And your next question comes from the line of Bobby Griffin from Raymond James.

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Robert Kenneth Griffin, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [64]

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Just one quick clarification first, is the 20% operating margin target inclusive of the international expansion or is that just for the North American business?

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [65]

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Well, there's some international expansion. Like I say, we'll launch international in '21 or '22. So as you go forward, I mean, international will be part of that. So I don't really kind of separate them out as we model it.

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Robert Kenneth Griffin, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [66]

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Okay. I guess the other way to ask it, Gary, do you expect the international margin profile to be similar to what we're used to seeing here in the U.S. business, I guess, is the other way to ask it to help me clear it up.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [67]

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Yes, we do. We do, yes. As we've modeled it out, there'll be a little bit of startup cost as we open a DC again. But we're not going to open a giant DC. So we'll have some investments. We'll have some minor overhead. Some boots on the ground internationally. And there'll probably be some slightly higher preopening costs because we'll -- initially, we won't be able to leverage the local teams. We'll have to send more people over. But again, once we get a gallery up and running, it's pretty self-sustaining pretty quickly.

So initially, if we're right on the volume -- what's interesting here, Bobby and for the rest of the people on the call, that we probably even talked about, when -- if you think about going into the U.K., right, the U.K. is -- what is that, a population of 61 million or something like that. California has a population of 40 million. Yes, 68 million to 40 million, significantly more people in the U.K., a very high demographic. If you look at California, we have lots of galleries, right, and yet, we're going to open in the U.K. with initially 1 and then we'll have 2. But you're going to have -- it'd be like, think about New York. If we just opened 1 gallery in New York and we didn't have anything in New Jersey, which we've got multiple stores, if we didn't have Connecticut, if we didn't have Westport, if we didn't have Philadelphia, if we didn't have anything that's in that geographical region or just take the kind of almost the entire East Coast or the entire West Coast, I mean, Great Britain is bigger than -- it's got 40%, 50% more people than California. California, we have a lot of stores, and so we -- well, we're doing about $450 million in California today. $450 million in California. And we only have 1 market with a big gallery, and that's Los Angeles, right? We don't have Orange County, we don't have San Diego, we don't have San Francisco, we don't have Northern California and Marin County, we don't have Silicon Valley, we don't have the East Bay, Walnut Creek area, I mean, California, once we transition the galleries will probably be a $700 million market for us, right? So we'll, over time, double the retail business, and we'll get a lift in direct.

So if you think about starting in the U.K., I look at it and go, "What is that? A potential $1 billion market?" A potential $1 billion market, and I opened just one big store in L.A. It's going to be a giant store and the direct business is going to be huge, right? And so we think because of the size of the market and the fact we're opening with these really dramatic retail experiences with an assortment that is really disruptive, that we're going to ramp very quickly and get really good leverage in international growth.

It's not -- it's -- it'd be one thing if we were opening little galleries, right? It's -- so it's very different than that. It's one thing if we're going in opening 7,000 square foot stores, opening in London with a 7,000 square foot store, or in the London -- Greater London area with like 4 or 5 7,000-square foot stores and opening in these other markets with these little stores and then having to come back and redo them. I mean, we -- we're opening in these massive markets, and we're going to open with an incredible brand statements and with an incredible assortment. So I think we're going to do really, really well.

And then all the math on our internal models, even at our conservative side, our return on invested capital and our operating margins and earnings look really, really good. So we don't see this as being any kind of real drag to the business. I know for some businesses, they roll out internationally, they're not really making money or they've got a drag or they got to wait 5 years to make money. That's -- I hate to say anything is impossible. But call this as close to impossible. We'd have to have such a swing and a miss like in these markets, and I just don't think that's going to happen. Not based on the work we've done and what we know about our brand today, how much we export to those markets today, et cetera.

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Robert Kenneth Griffin, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [68]

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Okay. I appreciate the detail. Very exciting. We look forward to seeing one of those stores once they're up and running.

And I guess, secondly for me, I just wanted to go back to the comments about product margins. Can you maybe just help me get a better understanding -- or help us get a better understanding of the fundamental drivers, driving better product margins? And then within those drivers, the sustainability of that. Is there a concern that at some point, if it's price, the consumer becomes -- you get too pricy for your core customer? Or is some of the drivers different? Is your volume becoming a bigger part? Working with more -- fewer designers, but doing more business with each one of those designers, just to help me frame the product margin discussion better.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [69]

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Well, our product keeps evolving, right? And we keep kind of climbing the luxury mountain, the quality gets better. With better quality, prices get higher. But while the prices get higher, they're still massively disruptive inside the marketplace. Start with RH Modern, the average price of furniture in RH Modern we launched was 30% to 50% higher than our core business, right? So -- and it's wildly successful, but it also had higher quality. We used it as a platform to kind of take another step-up from a quality point of view.

And so I don't know. If you look at the value of Hermès globally, what's Hermès like? $80 billion or something like some market value. There's a lot of people that want really high-quality product. And I think if you just study American business over the last -- whatever period you want to, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, people trade up, people will pay for better quality. They just won't pay more for the same quality. They'll pay for better quality.

So what's evolved in our business is the quality's gotten better, the design has gotten better, the taste has gotten better, the scarcity has gotten higher, the desirability has gotten again higher -- gotten better. We're just a more desirable brand today. We are a more admired brand today. We have higher-quality product today. We have better design goods -- product today. We have better -- it's presented in more aspirational spaces today. We've got an aspirational hospitality concept that drives thousands of people into our galleries that are now seeing that really high quality, high taste, inspiring -- it's presented in inspiring spaces.

So it's -- in many ways, we're creating a new market, right? And when you're creating a new market, you've got a lot of leeway with what should the price be? I mean, I don't know, you hold up a Birkin bag against every other bag in the world, is it cost too much? Is it too expensive? Or is it the most desirable bag in the world? That's the way to think about it.

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Operator [70]

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And there are no further questions at this time over the phone. Presenters, you may continue.

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Gary G. Friedman, RH - Chairman & CEO [71]

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Okay. Well, great. Thank you, everyone, for your time. We wish all of you a happy holiday.

We look forward to hopefully seeing some of you at our Columbus opening next week, and if not, we'll see you in the new year. Thank you so much.

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Jack M. Preston, RH - CFO [72]

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Thank you.

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Operator [73]

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And this concludes today's conference call. Thank you all for participating. You may now disconnect.