Oxford Industries, Inc. (NYSE:OXM) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript December 6, 2023
Oxford Industries, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $1.01, expectations were $0.97.
Operator: Greetings. Welcome to Oxford Industries, Inc. Third Quarter Fiscal 2023 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation [Operator Instructions]. Please note this conference is being recorded. I would now turn the conference over to your host, Brian Smith of Oxford Industries. You may begin.
Brian Smith: Thank you, and good afternoon. Before we begin, I would like to remind participants that certain statements made on today's call and in the Q&A session may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results of operations or our financial condition to differ are discussed in our press release issued earlier today and in documents filed by us with the SEC, including the Risk Factors contained in our Form 10-K. We undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statements. During this call, we will be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures.
You can find a reconciliation of non-GAAP to GAAP financial measures in our press release issued earlier today, which is posted under the Investor Relations tab of our Web site at oxfordinc.com. And now I'd like to introduce today's call participants. With me today are Tom Chubb, Chairman and CEO; and Scott Grassmyer, CFO and COO. Thank you for your attention. And now I'd like to turn the call over to Tom Chubb.
Tom Chubb: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. I want to spend just a few minutes talking about the third quarter, then move to our expectations and plans for the fourth quarter and finally give you a bit of a sneak preview on our plans for 2024. We are pleased to be reporting solid results for the third quarter of fiscal 2023. Our results reflect low single digit sales growth, inclusive of the comps that were down low single digits, which come on top of a 12% positive comp in the third quarter of last this year. While the consumer has clearly become more judicious in their discretionary spending, we believe our performance, especially on a two year stack basis compares favorably to our peer group. Despite a more difficult backdrop, we delivered these results as our people have remained focused on leveraging our strong brands to deliver clear and consistent messages that inspire and resonate with customers, creating strong desire for our products and services.
A great example of this during the third quarter includes the opening of the Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California. This jewel box resort in the Coachella Valley leverages the credibility that Tommy Bahama has built over nearly 30 years in the hospitality space through our very popular restaurants and bars, as well as the overall strength of Tommy Bahama as one of America's premier lifestyle brands. The resort will have a meaningful impact on reinforcing and even strengthening the lifestyle positioning of the Tommy Bahama brand, ultimately helping us reach new customers, retain existing ones and increase the engagement of all customers, while at the same time, generating meaningful but modest royalty income over time. Another great example of leveraging the strength our brands to drive business results in the third quarter was the launch of the gorgeous new Johnny Was Web site.
You will recall that the new website layers the exquisite Johnny Was imagery, brand messaging and product on the best-in-class Lilly Pulitzer e-commerce technology that we have implemented over the last several years. The new Web site, combined with the change in digital marketing agencies, has us very excited about our ability to grow our Johnny Was web business going forward. As a result of these and many other activities by our brands, our traffic and full price selling remained healthy during the quarter, and we were actually able to expand adjusted gross margin. In addition, our active customer count and our new customer add rate both increased mid single digits versus last year while average annual spend has remained roughly flat. All of these metrics are extraordinarily positive indicators of the strength of our brands.
Finally, Scott will provide more details in a minute. But I would be remiss if I did not call out the strength of our cash flow from operations, which was $169 million on a year-to-date basis, our balance sheet and the fact that we were able to actually reduce inventory on a year-over-year basis during the quarter. Moving on to the fourth quarter. We are excited about our plans and our opportunities in a market that remains somewhat uneven. Our DTC business got off to a bit of a sluggish start in early November and then posted strong results during the very important Thanksgiving weekend. As you are aware, this year's calendar provides the longest possible selling period between Thanksgiving and Christmas at 32 days. Not surprisingly, business since the middle of the week following Thanksgiving has been choppy.
History indicates that when we have a calendar like this year's, we can expect a dramatic ramp up in sales during the 10 to 12 days before Christmas. We expect to see that ramp up this year and we are excited about the plans we have in each of our brands to capitalize on that opportunity. With respect to our wholesale business, we do expect to experience some headwinds during the fourth quarter. Our brands and products continue to perform very well at our key wholesale partners. However, due to the uncertain consumer environment, wholesale accounts have become more cautious in their purchasing for spring of 2024, and therefore, spring bookings are down as the result of this caution, not because of performance. Given that many of our early spring orders typically shift during the last month of each fiscal year, we expect some softness in our fourth quarter wholesale business.
Scott will provide more detail in a minute. But as a result of the wholesale situation and the uneven direct to consumer market, in the interest of caution, we are moderating our guidance for the fourth quarter. Moving beyond this year, we are extremely excited about our developing plans for 2024 and beyond. While it is too early for us to give our initial forecast for 2024, we would like to give you a sneak peek at some of our key plans. We believe that the most likely scenario for the economy is a soft landing. And in the absence of a broad macroeconomic setback, we believe that we can continue to leverage our incredible brands to inspire customers and generate the demand for our brands and services that will drive growth in our business.
Year-to-date, we have increased our store count by net 17 stores through the first three quarters and expect another five openings during the fourth quarter. Most of the openings happened in the back half of the year. And given the timing and typical post opening ramp up period, we will not see the full benefit of these stores until fiscal 2024. On top of this, we will also realize the full benefit from the upgrades that we have made to the Johnny Was e-commerce business, which were completed in the third quarter of this year in 2024. In addition to annualizing the impact of many of our 2023 activities, we also plan to continue to fuel future growth with projects that we have planned for 2024. First, we plan to increase our store count by more than 25 net new stores with Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer returning to more of a pre-pandemic store opening cadence.
We are particularly excited about the six Marlin Bars slated for the next 12 months, which includes our Winter Park, Florida location scheduled to open in January. We also anticipate meaningful openings for both Johnny Was and our Emerging Brands where we have opportunities for continued retail growth. The preopening activities associated with these stores, particularly the five Marlin Bars, will put some pressure on 2024 operating margins. But having these stores in place will fuel our growth trajectory in 2025 and beyond. We are also excited about the potential to utilize our Emerging Brands Group platform as a vehicle for growth. The platform has evolved nicely and we have proven its ability to support smaller brands in their growth and development.
The Beaufort Bohnett Company is a great example. Since we acquired TBBC in 2017, it has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 23%. Another great example is Duck Head, an iconic brand with an iconic product and over 150 years of history. This brand was all but out of business when we bought it. And since adding it to our platform, we relaunched and rebuilt the brand into a rapidly growing profitable business with sales in the excess of $10 million and meaningful potential. We are constantly on the lookout for more opportunities like these. Finally, we are enhancing our long term distribution capabilities by building an expanded, modern, automated distribution center near our existing facility in Lyons, Georgia. The target is to complete this project during 2025.
Once complete, it will increase our annual shipping capacity from 7 million units to over 20 million units, with potential to grow to 30 million units with some additional equipment investment. The project will have numerous significant benefits to the enterprise and will help continue to drive future growth. First, the cost per unit of handling and shipping a unit in this facility will continue to be highly competitive with greater automation. Secondly, it will give us the additional capacity that we need to service the concentration of stores that we have in Florida and elsewhere in the Eastern part of the country, giving us the ability to optimize inventory better by replenishing stores more quickly and more frequently. Finally, it will allow us to serve more of our web customers in the eastern part of the country better by getting products into their hands more quickly.
All of these activities, in addition to the others that we will talk about in March when we provide our initial forecast for the year, promise to help fuel growth in 2024 and beyond. None of what we have accomplished during 2023 or planned for 2024 would be possible without our wonderful and dedicated team of people. And during this holiday season, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all that they do. And now, I'll turn the call over to Scott for additional comments on our results for the third quarter and forecast for the balance of the year. Scott?
Scott Grassmyer: Thank you, Tom. As Tom mentioned, we are pleased to report another solid quarter that is within our guidance range. In a challenging macroeconomic environment for the consumer, our operating groups executed well going up against DTC comps of 12% in the third quarter of 2022. Consolidated net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2023 were $327 million, which included $49 million of sales for Johnny Was as compared to $23 million in the six weeks we owned Johnny Was last year, and a slight decline on a organic basis, resulting and 4% growth above last year's third quarter net sales of $313 million. In aggregate, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and Emerging Brands had decreases of 2% in full price bricks and mortar, 3% in full price e-commerce and 9% in wholesale sales.
Despite a decline of 3% year-over-year, the performance of our food and beverage locations remained strong with the decreases driven by remodels and closures resulting from the Maui wildfires. We were able to expand adjusted gross margin 60 basis points to 64% compared to 63.4% last year, are lowering inventory balances across all operating growth over the same time period. The increase in adjusted gross margin was driven by a full quarter of higher margin sales from Johnny Was compared to a partial quarter last year, a decrease in inventory markdowns, an increase in direct-to-consumer sales in Emerging Brands and decreased freight cost. These were partially offset by decreased Lilly Pulitzer full price e-commerce sales. Adjusted SG&A expenses were $191 million compared $171 million last year.
This increase was largely driven by an incremental $17 million of SG&A associated with the Johnny Was business, which we own for the full third quarter of '23 versus a partial third quarter in 2022. Result of all this yielded $21 million of adjusted operating income or a 7% operating margin compared to $32 million in 2022. The $21 million of operating income included $1 million of incremental operating income for Johnny Was, driven by a full quarter of ownership this year. The decrease in operating income reflects our planned SG&A investments in our people and business. We also saw modest declines in revenue from our licensing partners. Moving beyond operating income, we incurred more interest expense as a result of higher interest rates and higher average debt levels, but benefited from a lower effective tax rate due to certain discrete items that have a larger impact on our tax rate in the third quarter, given our lower earnings than in other fiscal quarters.
With all this, we achieved $1.01 of adjusted EPS, solidly within our guidance range. I'll now move on to our balance sheet, beginning with inventory. Our inventories decreased by 4% or $9 million year-over-year on a FIFO basis, while being able to expand adjusted gross margin. Inventory decreased in all operating groups resulting from our continued inventory discipline. Over the last 12 months, we used our robust cash flow to significantly repay our borrowings used to fund the Johnny Was acquisition. Our borrowings increased slightly in the third quarter, which has historically been a cash use quarter given our lower earnings compared to other fiscal quarters. We finished the quarter with $66 million of borrowings under our revolving credit facility, down from $119 million of borrowings at the beginning of the year.
Our $169 million of cash flow from operations in the first nine months of 2023 compared to $86 million in the first nine months last year allowed us to reduce outstanding debt by $53 million since the beginning of fiscal 2023, while also funding $54 million of capital expenditures, $31 million of dividends and $20 million of share repurchases. We expect strong cash flow for the rest of the year and anticipate repaying additional debt in the fourth quarter. I'll now spend some time on our outlook for the remainder of 2023. As Tom mentioned, we are moderating our full year view to reflect the impact of continued hesitancy shown by consumers in the third and fourth quarters. For the full year, we now expect net sales to be between $1.57 billion and $1.59 billion, growth of 11% to 13% compared to sales of $1.41 billion in 2022.
The planned increase in sales in the 53 week 2023 includes the benefit of the full year of Johnny Was as well as growth in our existing brands in the low single digit range, driven by increases in our direct-to-consumer businesses and relatively flat sales in our wholesale channel. Our updated guidance reflects decreases in comp store sales in the low single digit range and a softened wholesale outlook. We still anticipate modest gross margin expansion for the full year of 2023, including in the fourth quarter. The higher sales year-over-year and modestly higher gross margins are expected to be offset by increased SG&A, which is expected to grow at a rate higher than sales in each quarter of 2023, although at a rate in the fourth quarter that is more similar to the third quarter than the first two quarters.
Building on our efforts in the third quarter, we will continue to scrub the income statement and prudently trim expenses where appropriate while continuing to invest and help build for the future. Finally, we expect royalty income in the fourth quarter to be comparable to the prior year. Considering all these items, we expect adjusted operating margin for the full year to be approximately 14%. Additionally, we anticipate higher interest expense at 6% for the full year after incurring almost $5 million of interest expense in the first nine months of the year. This compares to $3 million of interest expense in the full year 2022 when we had no debt outstanding until the third quarter acquisition of Johnny Was. We also expect a higher effective tax rate of approximately 24% compared to 23% in 2022.
After considering these items, 2023 adjusted EPS is now expected to be between $10.10 and $10.30 versus adjusted EPS of $10.88 last year with the inclusion of a full year of profit from Johnny Was being offset by lower operating income in our existing businesses, increased effective tax rate and higher interest expense. After generating 9% comps in Q4 2022, we expect to increase sales in the high single digits in the fourth quarter due in part to the additional week in the quarter and our new brick and mortar locations, partially offset by lower comp store sales as discussed earlier and a softened wholesale outlook. We also spent modestly higher gross margins, a higher mix of direct-to-consumer sales and modest SG&A deleveraging as SG&A increases at a higher rate than sales.
We further expect interest expense in the fourth quarter to be lower than the interest expense in the fourth quarter last year due to our significant reduction in debt during 2023 and a higher effective tax rate as the fourth quarter 2022 included certain favorable items that are not expected to repeat in the fourth quarter of the current year. Capital expenditures in fiscal 2023 are expected to be approximately $80 million compared to $47 million in fiscal 2022. This is lower than prior estimates due to certain CapEx for our fulfillment center project shifting from fiscal '23 to fiscal '24. As we mentioned last quarter, the planned CapEx increase includes spend associated with brick and mortar locations, including build out associated with approximately 35 locations across all brands, including two new Marlin Bars and approximately 10 new Johnny Was locations.
A number of these our relocations and remodels, which along with a few store closures, should result in a net increase of full price stores of about 22 by the end of the year with approximately five net new locations in the fourth quarter. The spend associated with these brick and mortar locations represent about one half of the planned capital expenditure amounts for 2023. Additionally, we will also continue with our investments in our various technology systems initiatives. Finally, we anticipate limited initial capital spend in the fourth quarter related to our multiyear fulfillment center project that Tom highlighted earlier. We anticipate expenditures related to the project to continue in 2024 and 2025 with a substantial majority of the spend occurring in 2024.
We expect total spend for the project to be approximately $130 million. We continue to have a very positive outlook on our cash and liquidity position as well after generating cash flow from operations of $126 million in 2022, which included a working capital increase of $85 million, we expect to increase our cash flow from operations significantly to a level well in excess of $200 million in 2023. This level of positive cash flow from operations provides ample cash flow to fund our capital expenditures, dividend, share repurchases and the continued reduction of our outstanding debt during the year. Although, SG&A investments will put pressure on 2023 margins, these actions will set the table well for mid to upper single digit top line growth, a long term operating margin target at or above 15%.
Thank you for your time today. And now we'll turn the call over for questions. [Shamila]?
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