J. Crew Group Management Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

J. Crew Group (JCG)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

March 20, 2012 11:00 am ET


Stuart Haselden -

James S. Scully - Chief Administration Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer

Libby Wadle - Executive Vice President of Retail & Factory


Karen Eltrich - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

William M. Reuter - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Carla Casella - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Grant Jordan - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Todd Harkrider - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Patrick DiMeglio

Emily E. Shanks - Barclays Capital, Research Division



Greetings, and welcome to the J. Crew Incorporated Fourth Quarter and Pro Forma Fiscal 2011 Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Mr. Stuart Haselden, Treasurer of J. Crew Incorporated. Thank you. Mr. Haselden, you may begin.

Stuart Haselden

Thank you for joining us to review our fourth quarter and fiscal 2011 results. With me today are Jim Scully, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer; Libby Wadle, Head of our J. Crew Brand; and other members of our management team.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you the company's Safe Harbor language, with which I am sure you are familiar. The statements contained in this conference call which are not historical fact may be deemed to constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual future results might differ materially from those projected in such statements due to a number of risks and uncertainties, all of which are described in the company's filings with the SEC and in the press release issued in connection with today's call.

As a result of the acquisition on March 7, 2011, by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, the company prepared financial statements for the predecessor period from January 30, 2011, through March 7, 2011, and the successor period from March 8, 2011, through January 28, 2012. Additionally, in order to provide a comparison to fiscal 2010, we have prepared a pro forma statement of operations for fiscal 2011, giving effect to the acquisition as if it occurred on the first day of the fiscal year, which can be found in Exhibit 2 of our press release.

Please note that this pro forma presentation is only for the fiscal year 2011. Comparisons for the fourth quarter reflect actual results post-acquisition versus actual results pre-acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2010. We refer you to the supplemental MD&A and other disclosures in our Form 10-K for fiscal 2011.

During this call, we will refer to adjusted EBITDA, which adjusts for items such as noncash, share-based compensation, transaction-related litigation, as well as the impact of purchase accounting resulting from the acquisition. You can find a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA in Exhibits 4 and 5 of our press release.

With that, I would now like to turn the call over to Jim Scully.

James S. Scully

Thanks, Stuart, and good morning. I will start today with a brief overview of our fourth quarter and fiscal year results, followed by an update on some of our key strategic initiatives. Stuart will then walk you through our financials in more detail, after which we will open the call to your questions.

For the fourth quarter, total revenues increased 13% with comparable company sales increasing 6%, comp store sales also increasing 6% and direct sales increasing 10%.

During the quarter, we continued to experience improving trends in our Women's business with our comp sales growth led by increases in Men's and Accessories. Our adjusted EBITDA totaled $59 million or 11.2% of revenues in the fourth quarter versus $52 million or 10.9% of revenues last year.

For the year, total revenues increased 8% with our comparable company sales increasing 3%, our comp store sales increasing 1% and direct sales increasing 11%. Our adjusted EBITDA totaled $282 million or 15.2% of revenues for the year versus $288 million or 16.7% of revenues last year.

We are pleased with the sequential improvement in our top line trend in 2011, particularly in our Women's business, and our customers have responded well to our spring product flows, which we are excited to see. At the end of the day, it is about the product and our mission is to offer the quality, style and design that our customers have come to expect from us.

I would like to spend a few minutes highlighting the progress we made on our key strategic initiatives in 2011 and to outline a few of our 2012 milestones, which we will update you on throughout the year. These key initiatives include: Store growth across both retail and factory; the continued growth of our J. Crew direct channel; expansion of our Madewell brand, both stores and online; our international expansion efforts in building the infrastructure and capabilities to support the execution of these initiatives.

On the retail store side, we opened 9 new stores in fiscal 2011, which included our first store outside of the United States at the Yorkdale Centre in Toronto in August. Our long-term goal continues to be to grow our North American square footage in the low- to mid-single-digit range annually over the next 3 to 5 years. In 2012, we plan to open 17 retail stores, which includes 3 locations in Canada. We will be opening in Vancouver late in the first quarter, Edmonton in the second quarter, and our second Toronto store at the Eaton Centre in the third quarter.

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