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Pacific Sunwear of California (NASDAQ:PSUN)

Q3 2013 Earnings Call

December 05, 2013 4:30 pm ET

Executives

Craig E. Gosselin - Senior Vice President of Human Resources, General Counsel and Secretary

Gary H. Schoenfeld - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Michael W. Kaplan - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President

Analysts

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Jane Thorn Leeson - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Jeffrey Wallin Van Sinderen - B. Riley Caris, Research Division

Betty Y. Chen - Mizuho Securities USA Inc., Research Division

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Isela Soto - Roth Capital Partners, LLC, Research Division

Stephanie S. Wissink - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Dorothy S. Lakner - Topeka Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company, LLC

Lee J. Giordano - Imperial Capital, LLC, Research Division

Operator

Good afternoon. My name is Dustin, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Q3 2013 Earnings Conference Call.

I would now like to turn the call over to Craig Gosselin. Sir, you may begin.

Craig E. Gosselin

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Pacific Sunwear California conference call announcing our fiscal third quarter 2013 financial results. This is Craig Gosselin, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Head of Human Resources.

This call is being recorded, and the playback will be available starting today, approximately 2 hours after the call through midnight on December 12, 2013. It can be accessed at (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406, passcode 16601726. The call will also be archived on our website at pacsun.com through midnight on March 18, 2014.

Your speakers today are Gary Schoenfeld, Chief Executive Officer, and Michael Kaplan, Chief Financial Officer. Today's call will be limited to 1 hour, and questions will be limited to 1 per participant.

Before I turn the call over to Gary, I'd like to note that statements and discussions during today's call will contain forward-looking information about our future financial performance and prospects. Our actual results could differ materially from those contained in our forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that could cause our business and financial results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are included in our fiscal 2012 Form 10-K and the subsequent filings we made with the SEC, as well as in the earnings press release we issued today. The documents can be found in the Investor Relations section on our website at pacsun.com. All information discussed on the call today is as of today, December 5, 2013. PacSun undertakes no duty to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances. This call, the webcast and its replay are the property of PacSun. It is not for rebroadcast or use by any other party without the prior written consent of PacSun.

With that said, I'll now turn the call over to Gary.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Thank you, Craig. Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us on our Q3 earnings call.

I'm pleased to say that even in what was a tough back-to-school season this year, we were able to continue to make progress with our seventh straight quarter of positive comps and are even more encouraged as we approach the peak weeks of holiday.

Total sales for the quarter were $207 million, driven by a comp store sales increase of 1%. Non-GAAP EPS for the quarter was a loss of $0.05 versus a loss of $0.02 last year. Yet as we had indicated on previous calls, the 53rd week calendar shift had a negative impact of approximately $11 million in sales and a corresponding $0.05 reduction in earnings for the quarter. Had it not been this shift, non-GAAP loss per diluted share would've been breakeven this year compared to last year's $0.02 loss per diluted share.

Our Women's business delivered its seventh straight quarter of positive performance with a plus 5 comp, which, as we've discussed throughout the year, has been due to a variety of factors, including our speed-to-market initiatives and anticipating trends, attracting and cultivating exciting brands, including Kendall & Kylie and Brandy Melville and aging of our customer. We are also seeing several of our Men's emerging brands performing positively in our Women's business as well.

In our Men's business, emerging brands, footwear and accessories continued to perform well, yet we ended up just short of a flat comp at a minus 1 for the third quarter, largely due to softness in denim in what has been a very competitive category across most all of retail. Overall, I continue to believe that our Men's assortment continues to strengthen, led by a number of great brands in apparel, footwear and accessories. And I think with the compelling brand and assortment that we have to offer, I believe we will be back to achieving positive comps in Q4. With respect to our Q4 outlook, we're off to a strong start with a positive 6 comp for the month of November. Several factors contributed to this, including strength in our emerging brands and, I think, our overall holiday assortment, colder weather, which always helps at this time of the year, and strong Black Friday performance across both genders. So as we look ahead to the peak weeks of holiday and then to 2014, we believe our results continue to validate the unique positioning that we are establishing for PacSun. I believe our assortment of great brands, and combined with our GSOM filter of California lifestyle and trends, is moving us closer to one of our primary goals of reestablishing PacSun as one of the most preeminent specialty retailers for girls and guys in their late teens and early 20s.

Brands continue to be at the forefront. And when I walk into our stores and see the brands in the Men's side of our business, from Nike SB to Hurley, Rooka, Vans, Diamond Supply Co., Crooks and Castles, Been Trill, Modern Amusement, Neff, Volcom, Young & Reckless, I think it gives us a very unique and compelling assortment. And similarly in Women's, even though Women's continues to be driven so much by trend with a growing presence of some of our Men's emerging brands and then strong brands like Brandy Melville, Kendall & Kylie and still a significant presence with Roxy and Billabong, we think that we're delivering exactly what we want to be doing from a branded perspective in our total store that is continuing to help advance our business as we move forward.

At the same time, we recognize that retail continues to get more competitive both in the malls, as well as online, and we know that we have to continue to raise our game and keep brands and creativity at the forefront of everything that we do. To that end, I want to just briefly mention that this weekend, we'll be hosting our second annual Common Threads event where we are honoring both individuals and groups that truly inspire creativity, diversity and optimism through music, art, social awareness and, of course, fashion. This year's event will be at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring ASAP Rocky as our special musical guest. And if any of you happen to be in town this weekend, we could probably still find you a ticket if you'd like to join us.

With that, I'm going to turn it over to Michael, who will speak more to our financial results, and then we'll look forward to taking your questions

Michael W. Kaplan

Thanks, Gary, and good afternoon, everyone. Today, I will discuss our Q3 2013 operating results, the impact of the 53rd week calendar shift on our quarterly results, and then I'll close with comments on our Q4 2013 financial outlook.

Our fiscal 2013 third quarter financial results were as follows: Total net sales from continuing operations were $207 million for the third quarter versus $215 million for the same period last year. Same-store sales increased 1%. The 53rd week calendar shift resulted in a decrease in Q3 '13 net sales of approximately $11 million as we lost a peak back-to-school week in early August versus a nonpeak week in November. Average unit sales for the quarter were up 1%, while total transactions were flat. E-commerce sales increased 2% in Q3 of '13 versus Q3 '12. Gross margin as a percentage of net sales was approximately 25% compared to 28% for the same period last year, which marks a 300-basis-point decline over the same period a year ago. Adjusting for the 53rd week calendar shift, gross margin decreased 120 basis points, all of which was attributable to merchandise margin. The decline in gross margin in the third quarter was the result of a challenging and competitive back-to-school landscape, leading to a higher promotional activity.

Adjusting for the timing of the 53rd week calendar shift, total inventory was down approximately 3% on a comparable store basis. SG&A expenses were approximately $54 million or 26% of net sales for Q3, which decreased from 28% for the same period a year ago. The 53rd week retail calendar shift deleveraged SG&A expenses as a percentage of sales by approximately 90 basis points. We recorded income taxes of $0.4 million for the quarter.

On a GAAP basis, we reported net income from continuing operations for the quarter of $17 million or $0.23 per diluted share. This compares to income from continuing operations of $3 million or $0.05 per diluted share for the same period a year ago. Included in the income from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2013 was a noncash gain of $23 million or $0.31 per diluted share related to our derivative liability compared to a gain of $6 million or $0.08 for the same period a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding the financial impact of the derivative liability and one-time store closure charges and using a normalized annual income tax rate of approximately 37%, we incurred a loss from continuing operations of approximately $4 million or $0.05 per diluted share versus a loss of approximately $1 million or $0.02 per diluted share on a similar basis last year. The negative $0.05 on a diluted basis is based on approximately 69 million weighted average common shares. The 53rd week calendar shift represented approximately negative $0.05 of the loss per share for the quarter -- of the total loss per share for the quarter. Therefore, adjusting for the shift, non-GAAP EPS improved by $0.02 per share as compared to last year.

During 2013, we have closed 13 stores and ended the quarter with a total of 635 core and outlet stores versus 722 a year ago. Consistent with prior communications, we plan to close an additional 15 to 20 stores during the fourth quarter.

I will now shift gears and talk about the financial outlook for the fourth quarter of 2013. As a reminder, we will continue guiding through results of operations on a continuing operations basis. Our Q4 guidance does not include the sales or cost directly associated with the stores we intend to close in Q4. Our guidance range for Q4 '13 contemplates a non-GAAP loss per diluted share from continuing operations of between negative $0.17 and negative $0.12 and includes the negative impact of the 53rd week retail calendar shift. Due to the loss of the 53rd week in Q4, we estimate based on our guidance the impact to be a decrease in projected Q4 net sales of approximately $9 million, approximately 150-basis-point decrease in gross margin and a decrease of approximately $0.03 per diluted share. Thus, taking into consideration the calendar shift, if we are to achieve the low end of our guidance range for non-GAAP EPS, that would represent a $0.03 improvement versus our Q4 2012 non-GAAP loss per share on a continued operations basis. Achieving the high end of our guidance range would translate to a non-GAAP EPS improvement of $0.08 versus last year. Our forecasted fourth quarter non-GAAP guidance range is based on the following assumptions: comparable store sales from 1% to 5%; net sales from $216 million to $225 million; a gross margin rate, including buying, distribution and occupancy, of 21% to 24% compared to 21% last year; SG&A expenses in the range of $61 million to $63 million; and applicable non-GAAP adjustments or tax effected using a normalized tax rate of approximately 37%. Our guidance for non-GAAP loss per share from continuing operations also excludes the quarterly impact of any change in the fair value of the derivative liability due to the inherently variable nature of this financial instrument.

Operator, we will now open up the call for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Adrienne Tennant with Janney Capital Markets.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Gary, my first question is actually if you can give us any more color about quarter-to-date trends? Maybe how they were trending up until Black Friday? What actually happened over Black Friday weekend, and whether your comp guidance implies acceleration into the rest of the quarter? And then really quickly, Michael, if you can just give us the AUR, UPT in transactions, that will be great.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Yes. So we had a strong Black Friday that contributed to the overall 6 comp in November. And as said in sort of opening comments, we think November benefited from colder weather. And then also looking at just the strength of Black Friday, that's what leads us to our 1% to 5% sales guidance as our best thinking in terms of how we think the quarter is going to play out. But the month, as well as Black Friday, both genders performed well and certainly encouraged in terms of what it means for Q4 and how we're going to finish the year.

Michael W. Kaplan

And with regards to the comp levers, all of the comp levers in the third quarter were flat to slightly positive, which is the third quarter in a row that we've seen flat to positive results across the comp levers. And Black Friday performance was transactions-driven.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Edward Yruma with KeyBanc.

Jane Thorn Leeson - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

This is Jane in for Ed. Just curious, how much is denim in Q4 for you?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Denim tends to represent in the range of 20-plus-or-minus percent of our Q4 business.

Jane Thorn Leeson - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

And so that will be the same year-over-year?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

I mean, it varies some. I'm not going to get into specifics by one class or another, but that gives you kind of an indication.

Jane Thorn Leeson - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then just quickly on -- are you planning to -- what are your plans for the brands for Women's and Men's in terms of adding any more brands like Kendall & Kylie, Brandy Melville, that type?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

So as I mentioned, I think we're all quite excited walking into our stores today and seeing the strength of brands that we have, so feel really good about the current stable of brands we work with. At the same time, we're always keeping our eyes open and looking for brands that have new ideas and new inspirations. So we'll continue to look for new opportunities. But certainly in a very different place than we were 3, 4, 5 years ago, we're pretty excited about the brands we're working with right now.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Jeff Van Sinderen with B. Riley.

Jeffrey Wallin Van Sinderen - B. Riley Caris, Research Division

Gary, I wonder if you can just clarify for me, I think you said -- or Michael, you said the promotions were up in Q3, and that was part of the contributor to gross margin. I think you said pro forma gross margin would've been down 150 basis points if you adjust for the 53rd week. Is that right?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

The adjustment for the 53rd week was a decrease of 120 basis points.

Jeffrey Wallin Van Sinderen - B. Riley Caris, Research Division

120? Okay. So I'm assuming you're a little more promotional in Q3 than last year, and I'm just wondering how you're promotional levels were in November if they were running up, down, flat. And then also, any sense you can give us about merchandise margins there are for November? And how should we think about merchandise margins for Q4 this year versus last year?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Again, I think you see in our guidance that we're looking for improved overall margins, and merch margins is a very important contributor to that. So we like where margins are headed in terms of fourth quarter and what it's going to mean for the year as a whole.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Betty Chen with Mizuho Securities.

Betty Y. Chen - Mizuho Securities USA Inc., Research Division

I was wondering if you can give us a little bit more color, Gary, regarding the Women's merchandise. I know you've got a lot of the brands that are working well. Can you share with us any product color? Is it the tops, the bottoms? That would be very helpful. And then also, in terms of the inventory and composition, Michael, it looks really clean. Given what you said about basic denim and we've heard it out here in the marketplace, do you feel comfortable with the denim composition in the stores right now? And then lastly, just kind of related to that earlier merchandise margin question, certainly, the team has done a good job of recovering that merchandise margin line. How much more opportunity do we have, given that it seems like we're still in the early stages of some of the product changes that's been happening in the stores over the past few quarters?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Well, I wish I had the crystal ball to answer your last question on margins. What I will say is we are pleased with the progress and margins that we've achieved over the last 2 years. But you're correct, we don't think we're done and we think -- we've been consistent with that. The continued drivers of our financial results is improving top line and improving margins. So -- and we remain optimistic that we can continue to improve on both and, importantly, margins being a critical piece to how we see continuing to move our bottom line as we go forward. As to the other parts of your questions, with regards to denim, we anticipate that -- it's not anticipating. What we all see, obviously, is denim continuing to be a promotional category. We think we've appropriately factored that into our guidance and the overall expectations in terms of Q4. And as for the first part of your question, within Women's, we'd say the tops are the overall driver growth in the Women's business right now.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Marni Shapiro with The Retail Tracker.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Can you just talk a little bit about your online business? I guess, I'm curious about some of the metrics around it. Are you seeing traffic increase? And then conversely, how is your conversion online versus what you've seen leading up to this? And if you can give any color around the Black Friday, Cyber Monday versus last year. And one final question related to online and a bit in stores, are you seeing or did you see in the third quarter that you are getting a new customer into PacSun? Or is this primarily lapse customers that are still coming back and revisiting the brand?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

So anecdotally, we do think that we're seeing new customers come in to the stores. We don't take pictures, nor do we have traffic counters, so I can't answer it any more definitively than that. But we do believe we have certainly a dapper[ph] customer, where we want it to be in terms of older teens and early 20s. We continue to get pretty consistent feedback that, that is the sweet spot of PacSun's customer base today, and we do think that we're attracting new customers into PacSun. But I can't give you any more specifics on that. With regards to your question on e-com, e-com in Q2 -- in Q3 was up only modestly. Margins were also up. So overall performance in e-com was pretty decent in Q3. But as a whole, we're not seeing the growth in e-com that I think the overall industry is, and we know we need to address some things to help support that. I am pleased to say we have very strong Cyber Monday. I was in our distribution center in Kansas on Tuesday, and they are jammed filling for orders, which is great. So we're optimistic about seeing better performance in e-com in Q4 and, certainly, will continue to be an important initiative as we go into 2014, and there's a lot of things that drive that. As to your question about conversion, what we see is traffic is up. We see more of that traffic growth coming through mobile, and conversion rate on mobile considerably lower than what we see in desktops. So overall traffic is up, driven by mobile. Conversion is down, similarly driven by mobile.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Dave King with Roth Capital Partners.

Isela Soto - Roth Capital Partners, LLC, Research Division

This is actually Isela Soto on for Dave King. Guys, so I was just wondering, in your view, how much did promotions help with sales? And then also if you could you just talk about your outlook for promotions for the remainder of holiday?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

I don't really think I can answer either of those questions. I mean, promotions are part of sales. How much do they help? I don't think there's an answer to that. And similarly in terms of what our promotional plans for holiday, you can see what we've done today. You can see what we've done in stores. We obviously anticipate the marketplace will be promotional at Christmas. That's a given. But I think if you've watched our stores over the course of the year, you've seen our promotional rate and things we've done pretty consistent with the prior year. And I think we sit in a position where that's probably a reasonable expectation for the balance of holiday.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Steph Wissink with Piper Jaffray.

Stephanie S. Wissink - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Just a follow-up on the fourth quarter guidance. If I look at your comp in that low single- to mid single-digit positive range, I would've expected a little bit more pasture to the bottom line. So Michael, could you just give us an update on where your leverage point is? And as we kind of think about 2014, if we're to see that kind of comp rates stabilize in that low single-digit range, is it possible that you could yield incremental profitability or narrow some of those losses on the earnings side?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

I think, as Michael spoke to it, the 53rd week had a $0.03 impact on the quarter to begin with. So when you back that out and then look at the improvement that our guidance suggests, which net of the 53rd week is a $0.03 to $0.08 improvement on the 1% to 5% sales increase with SG&A pretty flat to a year ago, we're pretty happy with what that picture is. And in the promotional environment that we're in right now, we're pretty happy if we can achieve those results.

Stephanie S. Wissink - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Gary, if I could just do a follow-up or ask a follow-up to that. So if you look at your run rates kind of quarterly for sales, what does it need to be, excluding the calendar shift in the 53rd week, just on run rate basis to really drive the leverage you'd like to see in the model?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

I'm not going to comment beyond our Q4 guidance and answer the question, so I think there's not a lot more that I can add other than what we've already shared as it relates to Q4.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Dorothy Lakner with Topeka Capital Markets.

Dorothy S. Lakner - Topeka Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

And I think what I've perceived is a lot more guys coming back to the brand as well. So hopefully, that bodes well for fourth quarter. I wondered if you could just give us a little bit more color on the kinds of things you've done to bring that guys customer back. And then secondly, Gary, on the e-commerce business, you said there are some things you'd like to do. Could you share at least the gist of what you'd like to do there with those? So the website, by the way, I think also looks great.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

So sorry, Dorothy, the first part of your question again?

Dorothy S. Lakner - Topeka Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

It was on Men's, the what -- you sound very confident about getting that Men's comp back kind of up, more in line with the way the Women's has been going. So I just wondered what's driving that if you could give us a little bit more color.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Yes. I'd say all 3 things kind of commented on in the press release in terms of really our goal of becoming the leading specialty retailer for great brands, on-trend fashion and fashion basics. And I think we're delivering all 3 of those in both genders. And to your question, Men's, specifically, I think our assortment of Men's brands is really compelling today and different brands meaning different things to customers. And so the newer group of emerging brands we have in our stores with Diamond Supply and Crooks and Castles and Been Trill and Visual and Nike SB, and what all those brands are doing is really exciting, and we continued to add to that. We've got Beats By Dre coming in to our stores for the first time this week and adding net to the stores and what they mean particularly at this time of the year in accessories is really fine. And then still Hurley, Rooka, Volcom, Young & Reckless, still really good brands and still really important to our customers as well, and Nike, together with Vans, in footwear, so I think our branded assortment is unique and compelling. And at the same time, I also am really proud of our team in terms of what we're doing in design and anticipating trends, which is you see in our Chino programs that I think is among the best in the mall. And then also what we're doing with fashion basics with our On The Byas brand in knits and wovens. So add it all up, I think it's a very compelling specialty retail experience for a guy or a girl in her late teens and 20s, and that's what we've been striving to do. And I think people are starting to give us credit for that.

Dorothy S. Lakner - Topeka Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Yes, it sounds really exciting.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

From -- so from an e-com perspective, there have been a lot of work that we've been doing. And I think without the core part of the business, right, it's hard to break down some of the smaller pieces. But I think in e-com, our merchandising execution has improved a lot of the basics in terms of in stock positions. I think the visual storytelling and elevating of brands, I think, has improved. I think the functionality of the site, we converted to a new platform 12 months ago with Demandware. I think that's improved, but also starting to do a better job of making sure that we translate that to mobile. And there's no one thing that we need to do better. There's a lot of little things that really drive success online, and I think we're getting better at that. And there's a lot of little things that we can get better at as we go into 2014.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Justin Ruiss with Sidoti.

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company, LLC

I just wanted a quick question on the strength of the accessories business, if you could provide more color on that.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Yes, really pleased how branded accessories are -- and nonapparel is driving the Men's business. I would say on our Women's business, it's been inconsistent to be honest. And as we look to 2014, we see that as an opportunity for improvement.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Lee Giordano with Imperial Capital.

Lee J. Giordano - Imperial Capital, LLC, Research Division

And so as a follow-up to that question, how is the footwear business trending? And how are you penetrated in the number of doors at this point? Are you in all the doors you want to be? Or is there still room for additional footwear doors?

Gary H. Schoenfeld

So we continue to be really pleased with our Men's footwear. Really, Vans and Nike together continuing to just drive that category for us. And I think it anchors the store appropriately, the customer loves it, and I continue to be pleased with the number of exciting initiatives that we're doing with both of those brands. From a door-count perspective, we're in 80%, 85% of the doors, and we will be ultimately expanding that to all doors next year, predominantly, frankly, just to complete the PacSun experience. But also, there's obviously, we think, some incremental volume to be done in those doors. But those are much lower volume doors. But we still believe it's appropriate to have a more edited assortment that's still important to complete the merchandising and have Men's sneakers in those doors next year.

Operator

And there seem to be no further questions. I will now turn the call back over to our leadership for closing remarks.

Gary H. Schoenfeld

Great. Well, appreciate everybody's interest, and the nice comments never hurt. The team's been working hard, so we really do appreciate it. And similarly, wish you, all, a happy holiday season as well and look forward to continuing to update you on our progress. So thank you.

Operator

And ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. We thank you for your participation. You may all disconnect.

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