Year to date, shares of Urban Outfitters (URBN) are up 73% and 10.8% for the month. It seems investors are anticipating a strong quarterly report on Nov. 22. Investors seem excited by the possibility of a strong third-quarter report from the teen retailer.
The second-quarter report drove investors back into the stock. Urban Outfitters reported second-quarter earnings of 66 cents per share, 11 cents better than the consensus estimate of 55 cents per share. Revenue rose 2.7% to $890.6 million, vs. the $884.4 million estimate.
Same-store sales, which include the company's e-commerce business, increased 1%. For the retail segment only, same-store sales increased 5% at Urban Outfitters, decreased 3% at Anthropologie and were flat at Free People. Wholesale sales increased 4%.
Besides the strong comp at Urban Outfitters, gross margins jumped 179 basis points to 38.5%. The better margins helped to offset slightly higher spending of 50 basis points more. The margin improvement came mostly from the UO division and Anthropologie. Operating margins jumped 130 basis points to 13.3%.
The company as a whole finally got a handle on its inventory. It ended the first quarter with way too much inventory, but ended the second quarter with inventory down 6% at Anthropologie and 2% at the UO division. Total inventory decreased by $17 million or 4% year over year.
Last year, the company had all kinds of problems with the construction of its new distribution facility. The disruption cause major headaches with inventory and margins, but those problems are behind the company now. Going forward, comparisons should get easier.