Chico’s FAS Inc. (CHS) Q2 2012 Earnings Call August 22, 2012 8:30 am ET Executives David Dyer – President, Chief Executive Officer Pamela Knous – Chief Financial Officer Todd Vogensen – Vice President, Investor Relations Analysts Adrienne Tennant – Janney Capital Markets Robin Murchison – SunTrust Neely Tamminga – Piper Jaffray Dana Telsey – Telsey Advisory Group Betty Chen – Wedbush Securities Paul Alexander – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Samantha Shapiro – Stifel Nicolaus Margaret Whitfield – Sterne Agee Jennifer Black – Jennifer Black & Associates Marni Shapiro – The Retail Tracker Brian Tunick – JP Morgan Presentation Operator
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And with that, I will turn it over to Dave.David Dyer Great. Thanks Todd and good morning everyone. I’m delighted to announce our terrific second quarter results. We delivered record second quarter sales and the highest second quarter earnings per share in the Company’s history. All in all, we beat our expectations for the quarter. Earnings per share – up 28% on top of a 47% increase last year. Comparable sales – up 5.6% for a two-year stack of 18.4%. Gross margin – up 30 basis points on top of 40 basis points last year. SG&A – leverage of 60 basis points on top of 190 basis point leverage last year, and inventories down 6%, excluding Boston Proper. Our unique trend right merchandise and innovative marketing drove significant achievements in the second quarter, including a double-digit increase in new customers, a higher penetration of full-price sales, and increases in both average dollar sales and transactions. These results demonstrate superb team execution. We delivered another quarter of strong growth in 2012 against our toughest quarterly comparison from last year in a much more challenging economic environment. After adding up the record results for both first and second quarters, I’m pleased to see that we’re updating our planning assumptions for fiscal 2012, which Pam will review with you shortly. Today with these consolidated results as a backdrop, I’d like to take just a few minutes to highlights our successes by brand. Let’s start with Chico’s Soma. Comparable sales performance increased 7.2% on top of 11.9% last year for one of the industry’s leading two-year stacks of 19%. Turning to Chico’s, we’re clearly winning with color, print and pattern. Our compelling trend right merchandise drove strong sales and gross margin conversion as we successfully cycled last year’s results. Despite this year’s more promotional competitive environment, Chico’s experienced strong full-price selling.
This trend right product also drove exceptional new store performance. Chico’s has opened 13 new stores this year, including six outlets, and overall we’re meeting or beating our sales expectations. Product-wise, I will add that we’re very excited about the sale potential of our So Slimming technology introduced last fall. Our So Slimming jeans have been such a huge success that we’ve already expanded the So Slimming line to additional bottoms in our fall collections. Congratulations to Cindy Murray and her team for this great quarter.White House Black Market’s momentum continued in the second quarter with a 2.3% comparable sales increase on top of a 14.9% last year, for at two-year stack of 17.2% and a three-year stack of 30%. This is truly one of the best performances in specialty retail. Our second quarter total sales are up 9.8% for White House, reflecting 39 new stores this year over year as we accelerate our capital investment in this brand. As we have discussed in our planning assumptions, we knew it would be a challenge to cycle last year due to the launch of the work kit and the polished casual assortment which drove 14.9% comparable sales increase in 2011, and we are pleased with our results in this quarter. As I mentioned on our first quarter call, we entered the second quarter for White House Black Market a bit lean in inventory, having delivered above-plan total sales performance of 18.2% in the first quarter. We opened 31 stores to date this year, including 10 outlets. These new stores are exceeding our sales expectations and were our first priority as we allocated total inventory since first year sales are a major indicator of the long-term success for a given location. So in all likelihood, we left more than a few comparable sales dollars on the table. As I have previously stated, that’s a good problem to have and I’m pleased at how well our assortments continue to resonate with new and existing White House Black Market customers. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com