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Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSUN)

Q1 2014 Earnings Conference Call

May 29, 2014 4:30 PM ET

Executives

Craig Gosselin - Senior VP, General Counsel and Head of HR

Gary Schoenfeld - President and CEO

Michael Kaplan - SVP and CFO

Analysts

Dave King - ROTH Capital Markets

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley & Company

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

Steph Wissink - Piper Jaffray

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company

Operator

Good afternoon. My name is Mike, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the First Quarter 2014 Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the call over to Craig Gosselin, General Counsel. You may begin your conference.

Craig Gosselin

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Pacific Sunwear of California conference call announcing our first quarter 2014 financial results. My name 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 two hours after the call through midnight on June 5, 2014. It can be accessed at (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406, passcode 47110638. The call will also be archived on our Web site at pacsun.com through midnight on August 28, 2014.

The speakers today are Gary Schoenfeld, Chief Executive Officer; and Michael Kaplan, Chief Financial Officer. Today's call will be limited to one hour, and questions will be limited to one 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 and 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 2013 Form 10-K and in subsequent filings we made with the SEC, as well as in the earnings press release we issued today. These documents can also be found in the Investor Relations section on our Web site at pacsun.com. All information discussed on the call is as of today, May 29, 2014. 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 Pacific Sunwear. 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 Schoenfeld

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us on our Q1 2014 earnings call. As we continue to navigate through what is well recognized as a challenging market, I am very pleased to report our Q1 results and our nine straight quarters of positive comp store sales.

Total sales for the quarter were $171 million and were driven by comp store increase of 3%. We achieved 140 basis point merchandise margin improvements through a particularly strong quarter in Men’s as well as continued improvement in assortment planning, inventory flows, store clustering and markdown optimization. The result was a non-GAAP EPS for the quarter with a loss of $0.11 versus a loss of $0.14 last year.

Throughout the first quarter we continued to focus our four strategic imperatives. Creating a covenant brand portfolio with the best of the best brands, becoming a leader in anticipating and recognizing fashion trends, integrating the Golden State of Mind brand positioning in all customer test points and building a top talent organization across the country. I believe we successfully executed on these four pillars in Q1 and we will continue to concentrate on these priorities throughout the remainder of fiscal 2014 and beyond.

Our Men’s business has continued to strengthen and as a result achieved a positive 10% comps increase in the first quarter of 2014 which is the highest Men’s sales comp in the past 10 years, which is obviously a great way to start the year. I believe we continue to make great progress towards creating the most covenant brand portfolio in the Mall and working closely with our key brand partners to both merchandise and communicate the depth of their brands and creative cycles with consumers.

Our Women’s business came in below plan at a minus 5 comp, largely due to soft performance in two areas, swim and non-apparel. Excluding these categories the rest of our Women’s business was up driven by continued strength in Brandy Melville and Kendall & Kylie as well as key categories of tops and shorts. While we continue to expand our brand portfolio and leverage our speed to market where appropriate in both our Men’s and Women’s business, whatever are other core strategies is to continue to elevate and differentiate PacSun in this crowded marketplace of today.

As you may recall in the beginning of 2012, we launched Golden State of Mind as our brand’s identity tied to our unique 30 year heritage of championing California Lifestyle. Last Friday we kicked off a new three month campaign dedicated to sharing the Golden State of Mind with the rest of the country. It is the biggest initiative we have launched to-date for the GSOM brand positioning and we believe this is a very exciting time to reintroduce the new PacSun to consumers. Through our Golden State of Mind platform we want guys and girls to recognize that the creativity, diversity and optimism of California, is highly relevant across the country unless with their backyards.

To bring this to life in all our customer test points, over the past six months, we visited 20 cities and key landmarks ranging from South Beach in Miami and Bergen Street New Orleans, to Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore. Inspired by what we did in our SoHo pop-up stores last summer, we just blended the images with aspects of California specific imagery to create a creative and artistic representation of how the two locations can live together harmoniously. We then took a step further and documented footage that depicted what Golden State of Mind stands for, and package to do to a pretty extraordinary two minute video which connects the viewer with the clear image of what Golden State of Mind means and represents.

We’re quite proud of all of this and what it means in terms of what PacSun stands for and if you haven’t had the chance to do so, I encourage you to check it out on pacsun.com or go on to YouTube where I think we’re on-track to reach 0.5 million views within the first week, which I think is pretty fantastic. We have also planned scheduled activities for the summer to spans the country, including live events, in-store activations, online sweepstakes and yes even a GSOM ice-cream trucks that will travel through all 50 states.

I will conclude by saying that we remain focused on the business absolutes within our control. Even though Q2 has gotten off to a slower start largely due to the continued underperformance in women’s swim and non-apparel, our goals for the year remains the same; drive positive comp store sales and gain market share, increase our merchandised margins through improved inventory management, store clustering and trend right merchandize. Continue to enhance the customer experience within our stores and online and continue to differentiate and elevate PacSun.

I will now turn the call over to Michael.

Michael Kaplan

Thanks Gary. Today I will discuss our Q1 2014 operating results and then close with comments on our Q2 2014 financial outlook. Our fiscal 2014 first quarter financial results were as follows. Total net sales from continuing operations were 171 million for the first quarter versus 166 million for the same period last year.

Comparable store sales increased 3%, average unit sales for the quarter were up 6% while total transactions were down 3%. Ecommerce sales increased 6% in Q1 2014 versus Q1 2013, and represented 7% of total sales in Q1 2014. Gross margin as a percentage of net sales was approximately 26% compared to 25% for the same period last year, which marked a 100 basis point improvement. Contributing to the improvement in gross margin was 140 basis points increase in merchandized margin partially offset by a deleveraging of buying an occupancy cost of 40 basis points.

Total inventory was down approximately 5% on a comparable store basis. SG&A expenses were approximately 52 million or 30% of net sales for Q1, representing a decrease from 32% for the same period a year ago. We recorded income taxes of 0.4 million for the quarter. On a GAAP basis we reported a loss from continuing operations of 10 million or a negative $0.15 per diluted share compared to a loss from continuing operations of 24 million or a negative $0.35 per diluted share a year ago.

On a non-GAAP basis excluding the non-cash financial impact associated with our derivative liability and use in a normalized income tax benefit of approximately 3.8 million, our loss from continuing operations for the quarter was approximately 7 million or a negative $0.11 per diluted share versus a non-GAAP loss of 9 million or a negative $0.14 per diluted share on a similar basis last year.

We ended the quarter with a total of 618 core and outlet stores versus 638 a year ago. During this quarter we opened one store and closed another. We plan to open four stores during the remainder of fiscal ’14 and close approximately 10 to 20 stores with the majority of closures occurring in Q4 2014.

I will now talk about the financial outlook for the second quarter of 2014. Our guidance range for Q2 ’14 contemplates a non-GAAP loss per diluted share from continuing operations of between negative $0.08 and negative $0.02. The weighted average common shares used in calculating the range was approximately 69 million shares. Our forecast for the second quarter non-GAAP guidance range is based on the following assumptions.

Comparable store sales from negative 5% to flat, net sales from 200 million to 210 million, a gross margin rate including buying, distribution and occupancy, of 26% to 29%, compared to 30% last year. SG&A expenses in the range of $56 million to $58 million and applicable non-GAAP adjustments or tax effected using a normalized tax rate. Our guidance for non-GAAP loss per share from continuing operations also excludes the non-cash financial 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) Your first question is from Dave King with ROTH Capital.

Dave King - ROTH Capital Markets

Thanks. Good afternoon guys. I guess well first congrats on the function of immense business this quarter and the continued improvement you’re seeing there. I guess my question has to do with the women’s side and some of the weakness you called out in terms of swim and non-apparel categories. I guess Gary could you talk a little bit about what might be driving that specifically. And as you look out so far it sounds like in so far in Q2 you’re having some of the same weakness. And is that weakness been getting more pronounced or maybe you can just talk about what you’re seeing and how long that should persist? Thanks.

Gary Schoenfeld

Yes, I think it’s similar kind of Q1 to Q2 but I think it changes in terms of looking at the back half of the year swim for obvious reasons really finishes in the back half of the year, and with regards to non-apparel I think it’s a couple of things. And I think you’re seeing non-apparel just become more and more competitive and what some other bigger box faster fasten retailers putting out some pretty dominant non-apparel offerings at some awfully attractive prices from a consumer standpoint it’s just making that a more competitive part of the business. Secondly for us our heritage brands used to be a big part of our women’s non-apparel and those brands are not seeing the strength that they used to a few years ago and certainly going farther back than that.

As to the underperformance in swim this year it’s pretty similar between the two quarters and candidly disappointing. And we keep asking ourselves what do, we think we might be missing in terms of trend, and there aren’t obvious answers. So our view is for a combination of reasons swim doesn’t seem to be a high priority in terms of her spend this season where there is some newness in high wasted we’ve certainly seen some interest. There certainly are some fashion items happening within women’s swim but it’s not like certain parts of the assortment are just lying out another parts of the assortment aren’t performing which then would tell us it’s an assortment issue. We’re seeing just kind of the very muted response since the beginning of the season and that certainly has remained through May. So, it’s a pretty meaningful category for us in the first half of the year and that combined with underperformance in non-apparel is bringing down what otherwise is still pretty good performance in our women’s business.

Dave King - ROTH Capital Markets

Okay, that helps greatly. And then so then if I think about the guidance then for the second quarter does that then imply that the men’s business you’re not still expecting that to be as strong as kind of that 10% that you have seen, is that somewhat of a fair assumption or am I just…?

Gary Schoenfeld

Yes. I mean I think the 10% was a high watermark which was fantastic I think it underscores a lot of strength and a lot of health in the business. One of the things that shifts from Q1 to Q2 is tanks become a much bigger part of the business in Q2 and if you walk the mall you’re seeing just how broadly assorted tanks are in a large number of retailers and some at some very, very aggressive pricing. So there are some things like that that are happening that bring down the growth rates. But overall I think the brand assortment we have in men’s is arguably the most compelling it’s ever been in the 30 years of PacSun and I think the consumer is really recognizing we’ve got a distinctive proposition in the brands that we carry as well as our desire to continue to embrace what’s happening from a trend perspective and really be a branded apparel destination for guys and girls and their late teens and into their 20s.

Dave King - ROTH Capital Markets

Alright, thanks. That’s very encouraging. I’ll sit back.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question is from Marni Shapiro with The Retail Tracker.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Hey guys, congratulations.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

The stores are fantastic. So, it sounds like you’ve had some very good success or continued success with obviously Kendall & Kylie and Brandy I think you called them both out. I was just curious on the rest of the junior side or girl’s side, things like denim shorts and more that kind of that fill out the assortment even denim since it was so cold in the first quarter. Are you seeing trends there at least hit plan and are stable or you seeing that fall off the way swim fell off?

Gary Schoenfeld

No, as I said, swim and non-apparel are driving down what otherwise is a growing women’s business. Shorts business has been very good, our tops business is good. And we’ve got some newer brands that we’re bringing into the mix in women’s I don’t know that they are going to have the impact that Brandy or Kendall & Kylie have had. There is a good initial reaction to the small but initial launch of House of Harlow. So, just in the last 24 hours kind of completed our back-to-school walkthrough. So I continue to have a lot of confidence in our women’s team and where we’re going to take the women’s business as we get into the back half of the year. There is we’ve made some organizational changes to non-apparel. So I remain optimistic about like I said where it will take us in the back half of the year. But Q1 and Q2 it’s below where we’d like it to be but it’s pretty isolated.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Fantastic. And then if you could also just touch on the guy’s side the board short which I know last year was a tough start to the season and I am curious if you have seen the same thing this year?

Gary Schoenfeld

Yes, short answer would be not great.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Either it’s the weather.

Gary Schoenfeld

And so that’s the short answer is.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

That’s fine.

Gary Schoenfeld

Neither side of swim has been to plan but as I take on to believe that women’s has been more pronounced than it has been on the men’s side.

Marni Shapiro - The Retail Tracker

Fantastic, best of luck guys. The start looks great.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Jeff Van Sinderen with B. Riley.

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley & Company

Good afternoon. Let me add my congratulations especially on the men’s comp. Gary, may be you can talk a little bit more about what you have seen, I don’t want to get too specific but in terms of May, what have you seen in terms of traffic sort of after the peak of spring break Easter weeks anything to call out regionally there? And then maybe you can also give us the inventory per square foot, how much that was up or down at the end of the quarter and then whether you are planning that to be up or down at the end of Q2 based on the guidance you have given? And maybe you could also touch on relevant inventory what your planning is or how your overall plan works for inventory up or down for second half versus last year?

Gary Schoenfeld

Well, happy to. My dad taught me at a young age to be darn sensitive about inventory and we continue to do so. So, inventory was down roughly mid single-digits and our expectation is we will go into back-to-school with inventory flat to down again. So, we continue to be I think quite mindful and quite disciplined in the way that we manage inventory and so that would I think answer your questions there.

As to May, the shift of Easter being three weeks later into late April obviously take some steam out of the early part of May. I think to me what was personally a bit concerning was frankly just promotional the mall was this past weekend when I was out in stores. There were a lot of retailers running promotions that a few years ago, you wouldn’t have seen on Black Friday. And so that’s not a fun way to see the marketplace go into summer but I think there is a maybe a little bit of a shift also in terms of just timing of some schools when they are getting out. So, big picture is May has been below plan and that certainly has taken into the guidance that we have given for Q2.

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley & Company

Would you say that you got more promotional sequentially for Memorial Day weekend that’s kind of my perception but just curious if that’s kind of what you are trying to about?

Gary Schoenfeld

Like I said that’s what felt like to me, I mean there are some big, deep promotions going on in a lot of relevant retailers and we were not one of those.

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley & Company

Got it. And then one final, just maybe if there’s anything you could touch on to highlight omni-channel, any investments that you are making this year anything new there within the broader plan for omni-channel?

Gary Schoenfeld

Yes when we finish this call and going into a meeting and our teams has kind of all day have been pretty knee deep in some omni-channel initiatives. I would say that things that we started the year hoping to achieve, are taking longer than I hoped, so incrementally there are things we continue to do to improve our online execution as well as I think importantly as I spoke to you a little bit through our Golden State of Mind initiative really engage digitally and socially with consumers. The idea that on Friday, we could launch a few minute video that I think is pretty unique to PacSun by the way all of this is done without an ad agency. I like to say it’s by us about us and I think we are going to wake up tomorrow and see we have had over a half million views one week in. I think it’s pretty exciting, so to me omni-channel is about recognizing that the way to reach consumers, the way to engage consumers is all changing at a very rapid pace and I think we are making some very good steps this year to address that. But I think then some of the bigger initiatives are probably going to be in 2015 in terms of further integrating online and into stores and what CRM really can mean for us in distributed order management and some of those operational parts that are fundamental part of omni-channel. And I think just retail and connected to consumers going forward, so progress this year and more to come in 2015.

Jeff Van Sinderen - B. Riley & Company

That’s helpful. Thanks very much and good luck for the rest of the quarter.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Adrienne Tennant with Janney Capital Markets.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Good afternoon. Nice progress on the men’s side of the business let me add that as well. I wanted to get a little bit more color and information on the Golden State of Mind tour, what are you hoping to accomplish are you getting name captured emails those types of things? And then how much of it does it cost you from a marketing standpoint? And then really quickly on just an update on some key relationships that you have the Kylie & Kendall, Brandy Melville and then Nike, Hurley on the guy’s side if you can just talk about whether those relationships are deepening and what we can expect from those go forward? Thank you.

Gary Schoenfeld

Well, sadly I didn’t get invited to the weeding in Florence and my kids tell me that I was number 161 that they read somewhere 160 people got invited, so that I just missed out.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Obviously cut off.

Gary Schoenfeld

And although I was emailing with Kanye on the morning of this wedding and that was still kind of fun. But what I am saying is overall, and I am delighted with the relationships that we have with brands in both genders and that was a big part of what I think we all signed up for in terms of what PacSun needed to once again reestablish itself and brands are what makes PacSun distinctive from the majority of what’s going on in the mall and we couldn’t be making the progress we’re marking without just relationships with a number of awesome brands that are creative, imaginative and continuing to drive innovation and that certainly includes the team at Nike and Hurley as well as Kendall & Kylie and Brandy Melville being the ones that you specifically asked about, but that extends well beyond those as well so quite pleased with that.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Are you still the exclusive distribution channel for Brandy Melville?

Gary Schoenfeld

As far as I know, yes.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Okay, alright. And then lastly, really quickly, what percentage of women’s now of total?

Gary Schoenfeld

Again it always bounces around with men’s being north of 50 and women’s being under and we’re still in that same range. I mean obviously men’s pick up a few points in the quarter versus women’s. But it’s not dramatically different and I don’t over sweat that bouncing a little bit from one quarter to another.

Adrienne Tennant - Janney Capital Markets

Okay, great all the stores look great so best of luck for summer.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question is from Betty Chen with Mizuho Securities.

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

Well, thank you. Good afternoon. Congrats on a great first quarter.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

Gary, I was wondering if you can talk a little bit about certainly you’ve addressed swim and non-apparel in women’s as being a drag, and I apologize if I missed it early in the call, did you quantify what the women’s comps could have been without that I guess we’re also thinking as we progressed through the year swim becomes less important and how that could become an opportunity for the women’s business going back-to-school and the balance of the year? And I’m going to have a follow-up if I could.

Gary Schoenfeld

Sure. Yes, just to reiterate, without non-apparel and swim women’s would have been positive. And you’re correct swim becomes very small in the back half of the year. Non-apparel is still important in the back half of the year. I wouldn’t say that I look at non-apparel as being a growth driver in the back half of the year, but I think it’s a drag on our business I think we’re taking a number of steps that I think hopefully will mitigate that and therefore the total women’s business can hopefully look pretty different in the back half compared to the front half.

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

And then also just regarding to back-to-school, last year obviously the business already started to trend quite strongly, but as you think back and if you think back to a year ago, are there opportunities that you’ve identified for back-to-school this year that either from a fashion or operational perspective that are by compelling and got you guys excited?

Gary Schoenfeld

Yes, but I am not going to say that they are.

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

I guess my last question then is so you’ve already talked about the team planning to buy very conservatively for the balance of the year is there in terms of average unit cost any variance or moving parts on that front that we should be aware of?

Gary Schoenfeld

No, not anything that significantly influences our outlook.

Betty Chen - Mizuho Securities

Okay, great. Well, thanks so much and best of luck.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question is from Steph Wissink with Piper Jaffray.

Steph Wissink - Piper Jaffray

Hi, good afternoon everyone. And just a couple of questions, Michael, maybe for you if you could just talk a little bit about the margin on the e-Commerce business I think it’s now about 7% of total maybe give us some insight into what your goal is here with the next couple of years? And then I want to just talk a little bit about the deleverage in the model I think you mentioned 40 basis points of buying an occupancy deleverage even though you did comp kind of in that low single-digit range, so could you give us an update on what the model needs what that critical inflexion point is in the model now to really leverage the expense structure? Thank you.

Michael Kaplan

So e-Commerce as a percentage of sales was 7% for the quarter, which is fairly consistent with where we’ve been running over the last year or so. We clearly view e-Com as an area of opportunities and overtime we’d like to see that moving more towards the 10% of sales range, so still some room to go there, in terms of the deleverage on the buy and occupancy, I think we’re probably looking at another point or two a comp to get to a leverage model on buying and occupancy comps, above the 3%.

Steph Wissink - Piper Jaffray

Okay, that’s really helpful, thank you. And then just as a follow-up. So it sounds like mix is part of the comp pressure that you’re seeing in the second quarter that portion of the women’s business that’s underperforming, is there also some deleverage on expected merchandize margin pressure from the commercial environment or is it really just that one sleeve of the business that’s underperforming.

Gary Schoenfeld

No, I think there’s questions in our mind in terms of what’s the promotional environment is going to look like over the next several weeks and that is reflective in our guidance that we anticipate feeling some pressure.

Steph Wissink - Piper Jaffray

And Gary do you feel like you have inventory to participate in that, I mean your inventory on a comp store basis is down pretty sharply. How are you thinking about your clearance exposure and ability to participate in that promotional language out there?

Gary Schoenfeld

So I think, I think we sit in a good position in that we’re not going to need to be super aggressive across the board just to move inventory, so it’s hard to answer that. I wish we weren’t having to have a conversation about needing to be more promotional, but I think it’s going to be with the exception of women’s and swim that in and off its own self it’s going to need to be promotional to move through that seasonal merchandise because sales are behind plan. Other than that I think the rest of it is going to be a bit of us anticipating what we think the marketplace is likely to be and reading certain things, I mentioned men’s tanks being one of those where again a seasonal category, ultimately we’re going to have to move that merchandize and transition into back-to-school. So all that’s kind of taken into account in the way we’re looking at Q2.

Steph Wissink - Piper Jaffray

Okay, thank you, best of luck guys.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

(Operator Instructions) The next question is from Justin Ruiss with Sidoti.

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company

Hi, Gary, hi Michael, just wanted to ask a question, when it came to the store count I know you said you’re opening four stores next quarter, are those stand, are they going to be just retail stores, or they outlet or is it a mix?

Gary Schoenfeld

Those are stores for the year and it’s two of each.

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company

Two of each. And then when it comes just to the overall store count are you, is there any plans or is there any talks about maybe relocations or any kind of changing of size and structure of the stores.

Gary Schoenfeld

Not in a fundamental way, where we are today is very consistent with what we said two and half years ago and remains to be on-track, that we see ourselves somewhere in that 550 or 600 store range overtime and I think we’ll end of the year close to 600 stores and that’s to get very consistent with what we would have thought back in 2011.

Justin Ruiss - Sidoti & Company

Okay, perfect, thank you.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I would turn the call over to Gary Schoenfeld for closing remarks.

Gary Schoenfeld

Thank you all very much and if you happen to take a quick peak on pacsun.com or YouTube and we’ll look forward to continue to give our updates as we progress through the year. Thanks very much.

Operator

This concludes today’s conference call. You may now disconnect.

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