Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL), the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in North America, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2012, as well as its outlook for 2013.
Fourth Quarter Results
Net sales increased $36.2 million, or 20.8%, to $210.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 from $174.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Comparable store net sales increased 13.2% for the quarter, driven by a 9.1% increase in the number of customers invoiced and a 3.9% increase in the average sale. Non-comparable store net sales increased $13.1 million over the prior year period. As of December 31, 2012, the Company operated 288 stores, including four stores opened during the fourth quarter of 2012, for a total of 25 stores opened during the year.
Gross margin was 39.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 35.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase in gross margin reflects generally lower product costs due to sourcing initiatives and sales mix, as well as lower net transportation costs and a reduction in the estimated shrink of merchandise inventories.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses decreased as a percentage of net sales to 27.4% for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 27.7% for the fourth quarter of 2011. Operating margin increased 390 basis points to 11.6% in the fourth quarter of 2012, from 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Net income increased 63.2% to $13.8 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2012 from $8.5 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The Company’s effective tax rate was 43.7% for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to an effective tax rate of 38.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011, primarily due to the recording of a $1.3 million valuation allowance on certain deferred tax assets.