The Men's Wearhouse (MW) Q4 2011 Earnings Call March 07, 2012 5:00 pm ET Executives Ken Dennard - Founder and Managing Partner George A. Zimmer - Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Douglas S. Ewert - Chief Executive officer, President and Director Neill P. Davis - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Analysts David M. Mann - Johnson Rice & Company, L.L.C., Research Division Janet Kloppenburg John D. Kernan - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division Unknown Analyst Margaret B. Whitfield - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division Betty Y. Chen - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division Richard Ellis Jaffe - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division Presentation Operator
And now I'd like to turn the call over to George Zimmer, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. George?George A. Zimmer Thanks, Ken. Before Doug and Neill get into the results and what drove them -- pardon me. Let me begin over. I'm sorry. Before Doug and Neill get into the results and what drove them, I'd like to take this opportunity, after a spectacular year, to step back and look at our company with a wide-angle lens. Of course, we're extremely pleased with our 2011 results. From the very beginning, I believe that the foundation of The Men's Wearhouse must be built by applying the Golden Rule to the day-to-day interactions between the company and its employees, and in turn, our store-based people's interactions with their customers. I'm so proud and grateful when I see this culture of service manifesting in both the current results and in the employee satisfaction that has led The Men's Wearhouse to be voted 100 Best Companies to work for, for the 11th year. This culture is the part of business that is extremely hard to replicate and takes decades to build. As I mentioned on the last call, I believe we are entering the Golden Age of the suit and our associates stand ready to serve our customers. This combination of a growing marketplace and a service culture that differentiates us from our competition is why I remain optimistic about this year and the coming years. I'll now turn it over to Doug. Douglas S. Ewert Thanks, George. The 17,000 men and women in our company deployed a variety of strategies and leveraged their experience to deliver impressive results in 2011, a great year for all of our stakeholders, particularly our shareholders. While I couldn't be more pleased with our 2011 results, I'm equally enthusiastic and optimistic about our opportunities. Before turning your attention to our 2012 plans, I want to share some of the highlights that are not apparent in the numbers.
Among the most notable achievements of last year is the fact that we sold a record-breaking 3 million suits and rented a record 3 million tuxedos. During our annual suit drive, we collected a record 144,000 garments and partnered with over 200 nonprofit organizations who helped unemployed men trying to get back into the workforce. And for the 11th year, we were selected as one of the Top 100 companies to work for, earning our highest-ranking ever.Looking towards 2012 and beyond, I would like to discuss the 5 most significant drivers to our organic growth. These are areas our executives are most focused on. The first is big and tall. During 2011, we grew our big and tall business 14% to $369 million, representing 23% of our total retail apparel sales. Since these products historically produced approximately 300 basis points higher margin than standard sizes, big and tall represents a disproportionate margin contribution opportunity. Our tactics include continued refinement of our product offerings and multichannel marketing initiatives. Last year, we opened 3 freestanding big and tall test stores to further our understanding of how this customer shops. Through these test stores, we see customers responding to an expanded array of products and sizes. We will now utilize this learning in our full-line retail stores and forego further expansion of big and tall stores. The second opportunity is being driven by a silhouette change in men's dress apparel. Roughly once every 10 years, a replenishment cycle is driven by a silhouette change in men's suits. 20 years ago, the cycle was driven by wide-shouldered and double-breasted suits. 10 years later, the 3-button suit drove the replenishment cycle. Today, we're seeing a much trimmer shape drive replenishment. It can be described as modern fit and is influencing trimmer shirtings and neckwear as well. Though these trimmer looks are particularly attractive to a younger customer, influences are seen across all demographics and sizes in the form of narrower lapels and pleatless pants. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com