Ethan Allen Reports Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Results
Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (“Ethan Allen” or the “Company”) reported its business and financial results for the fiscal 2021 first quarter ended September 30, 2020.
Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Highlights*
– Consolidated net sales of $151.1 million compared with $173.9 million; current year sales negatively impacted by lower production and supply chain disruptions related to COVID-19
– Consolidated gross margin, despite production challenges, increased to 56.8% compared with prior year adjusted gross margin of 56.3%
– Consolidated operating margin of 7.7%; adjusted operating margin of 8.1% was higher than the prior year margin of 7.0% due to strong gross margin and cost containment
– Diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) of $0.37; adjusted EPS of $0.36 compared with $0.35 last year
– Retail written orders increased 10.8%; Wholesale written orders were down 0.4%, mainly due to the timing of GSA and other government orders
– Ended the quarter with cash on hand of $62.0 million after having paid off all of the remaining $50 million in debt
– Cash provided by operating activities increased 80.3% to $42.2 million
* See reconciliation of U.S. GAAP to adjusted key financial measures in the back of this press release. Comparisons are to the first quarter fiscal 2020 year.
Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen’s Chairman, President and CEO commented, “We are gratified that despite many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we performed very well. The COVID-19 crisis has challenged our operations, but our teams remained focused on serving our clients and keeping our workplaces safe during the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Our fundamentals continue to be strong, with retail written orders and backlogs reporting double-digit growth, both within our design centers and from e-commerce. Production levels throughout our manufacturing increased steadily during the first quarter and by the end of the second quarter we expect to return back to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, which should reduce our high undelivered order backlogs and provide us an opportunity to increase operating margin. Our unique vertical structure, whereby we produce about 75% of what we sell, mostly on a custom made-to-order basis in our own North American manufacturing plants, allows us to maintain stronger service levels with greater control over inventory. We continued our marketing efforts and growth with our relevant offerings as well as our complimentary personal interior design service combined with technology and in-home white-glove delivery.”
Mr. Kathwari continued, “Retail segment written orders were up 10.8% over the prior year, including 11.8% growth in September. Our retail written orders in October also continue to be very strong compared to the previous year, increasing over 50% month-to-date. We continue to see increased demand for our products in our design centers and online. The previous year October retail written orders were impacted by the introduction of the membership program. We will continue to focus on our advantages, including a strong retail network, our vertical structure and increasing the use of technology in all aspects of our enterprise, while also maintaining our focus on strong governance and social responsibility.”
“Given the positive trends in cash flows, we repaid the remaining $50.0 million in outstanding debt, previously borrowed under our credit facility, and ended the quarter with $62.0 million of cash. We are cautiously optimistic as we head into the fall and winter months, based on current demand trends, but recognize the pandemic is still upon us and much uncertainty exists on a variety of fronts. We remain agile in managing the business day to day, focusing on providing great personal service to our customers while operating in a safe manner. We are proud to have delivered strong cash results in this first quarter, with $42.2 million in cash from operations and a strong balance sheet which enables us to navigate this uncertain time,” Mr. Kathwari concluded.
Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Financial Results
Net sales were $151.1 million, a decrease of 13.1% primarily due to the impact of COVID-19, which caused temporary design center and manufacturing facility closures in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. This period of closure, given the production cycle from written order to delivery, has resulted in lower reported net sales. As retail design centers and manufacturing locations have reopened, the Company has experienced a strong pace of written order trends and manufacturing production is continuing to ramp up to meet the demand.
Gross profit decreased 8.6% to $85.8 million due to sales declines within both the wholesale and retail segments. Wholesale gross profit was up due to an increase in gross margin despite plant shutdowns and restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic partially offset by lower sales volumes. Retail gross profit was lower due to a 14.0% reduction in net shipments partially offset by a higher gross margin.
Gross margin was 56.8% compared with 53.9% a year ago. Restructuring charges in the year ago first quarter totaling $4.1 million negatively impacted the consolidated gross margin by 240 basis points on an adjusted basis. The 50 basis point increase in consolidated adjusted gross margin was due to higher wholesale and retail gross margins partially offset by a decrease in the sales mix. Retail sales, as a percentage of total consolidated sales, were 78.2% in the current year and 78.9% in the prior year. The wholesale gross margin was 34.8%, an increase from 33.1% a year ago due to benefits being realized from the prior year optimization project, higher contract business gross margins and increased productivity. Retail gross margin expanded 10 basis points due to improved retail price optimization, including more competitive financing rates.
Operating expenses decreased to $74.1 million, or 49.0% of net sales, compared with $75.2 million, or 43.2% of net sales last year. Included in prior year operating expenses was a gain of $11.5 million from the sale of the Passaic property. Excluding the gain from the sale of Passaic, operating expenses decreased due to lower selling costs and a reduction in general and administrative expenses. Retail selling expenses were lower due to less warehouse and delivery expenses from a reduced volume of shipments, less designer selling expenses and lower compensation due to headcount reductions. Wholesale selling costs were down due to a reduction in advertising spend and lower compensation costs. General and administrative expenses decreased due to lower compensation costs coupled with lower occupancy costs and regional management charges.
Operating income totaled $11.7 million compared with $18.6 million in the prior year first quarter. Adjusted operating income was $12.3 million, or 8.1% of net sales in the current year compared with $12.2 million, or 7.0% of net sales last year. Strong cost containment measures, including improved expense management, combined with adjusted gross margin improvement drove operating income growth. These benefits to operating income were partially offset by the 13.1% decline in consolidated net sales.
Income tax expense was $1.9 million compared with $4.6 million a year ago. Income tax expense was $2.7 million lower compared with a year ago primarily due to the $7.4 million decrease in income before income taxes and a $0.9 million reduction to the Company’s valuation allowance on retail segment deferred tax assets. The effective rate was 16.8% compared with 24.4% last year due to the discrete tax benefit related to a reduction in the valuation allowance on retail deferred tax assets.
Diluted EPS was $0.37 compared with $0.53 per diluted share in the prior year comparable period. Adjusted diluted EPS was $0.36, up 2.9% compared with $0.35 a year ago. The valuation allowance tax benefit, net of the retail design center impairment charge positively impacted diluted EPS by $0.01 during fiscal 2021. The gain on the sale of the Passaic property partially offset with other fiscal 2020 restructuring activities and corporate actions increased diluted EPS by $0.18.
Net sales decreased 3.9% to $97.3 million primarily due to a 24.9% decline in sales from the United States government General Services Administration (“GSA”) contract combined with lower sales to our international retail network. International dealer sales, including sales to China, decreased 9.1% due to COVID-19 related economic disruptions in many of the international markets.
Operating income was $13.1 million, down from $16.9 million last year due to the gain on the sale of the Passaic property a year ago. Adjusted wholesale operating margin was $13.1 million or 13.5% of net sales, an increase from $10.4 million or 10.2% of net sales last year largely due to expanded wholesale adjusted gross margin of 170 basis points, lower wholesale compensation within general and administrative expenses and reduced advertising costs partially offset by a 3.9% reduction in net sales. The Company was able to reduce adjusted operating expenses primarily due to lower headcount, less marketing costs and actions taken to control and minimize expenditures.
Net sales from Company-operated design centers decreased 14.0% to $118.1 million. The decline in net sales was due to lower production combined with supply chain disruptions within manufacturing as a result of COVID-19 in addition to reduced premier home delivery revenue and clearance sales. Retail segment written orders were up 10.8% over the prior year, including 11.8% growth in September as discretionary spending continues to shift from travel and entertainment to home furnishings combined with strong marketing programs and 112% growth in e-commerce business orders. The Company continues to see increased demand for its products in the home category and increased online traffic. There were 144 Company-operated design centers as of September 30, 2020, compared to 145 a year ago.
Operating income was $2.0 million, or 1.7% of sales, compared with $1.6 million, or 1.1% of sales, for the prior year period. The retail operating margin increased 60 basis points due to the 10 basis point improvement in gross margin and a 14.9% decrease in operating expenses from lower selling, administrative, occupancy and regional management costs partially offset by a 14.0% reduction in net sales.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
Total cash and cash equivalents were $62.0 million at September 30, 2020 compared with $72.3 million at June 30, 2020. Cash aggregated to 10.0% of total assets at September 30, 2020, compared with 7.0% a year ago and 11.6% at June 30, 2020. Total cash decreased $10.3 million during the first three months of fiscal 2021 as the Company repaid 100% or $50.0 million of its outstanding borrowings in September 2020, partially offset by net cash provided by operating activities of $42.2 million. Strong cash flow from operating activities during fiscal 2021 was primarily due to improved working capital, including higher customer deposits, improved inventory management and timing of accounts payable.
Inventories of $127.0 million increased $0.9 million compared with $126.1 million at June 30, 2020.
Debt outstanding was zero at September 30, 2020 as the Company paid down the remaining $50.0 million of its borrowing during September 2020 using available cash on hand.
Capital expenditures were $2.4 million, a decrease of $1.0 million from a year ago primarily due to lower spending on retail design center improvements and the prior year conversion of the Company’s Old Fort, North Carolina facility into a distribution center. Approximately 57% of capital expenditures during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 related to opening new and relocating design centers in desirable locations, updating existing design center presentations and floor plans and renovating home delivery centers. The remaining 43% was primarily to expand the existing Maiden, North Carolina manufacturing campus as well as investments in additional technology to improve existing workflows.
Cash dividends paid decreased $5.1 million over a year ago due to the suspension of the quarterly dividend. The Company had suspended its regular quarterly cash dividend as of April 28, 2020. On August 4, 2020, the Company announced that its Board of Directors reinstated and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.21 per share, payable to shareholders of record as of October 8, 2020 and was paid on October 22, 2020.
For the full first quarter results, click here.
About Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (NYSE: ETH) is a leading interior design company, manufacturer and retailer in the home furnishings marketplace. Today the Company is a global luxury international home fashion brand that is vertically integrated from design through delivery, which affords its clientele a value proposition of style, quality and price. The Company provides complimentary interior design service to its clients and sells a full range of furniture products and decorative accents through a retail network of approximately 300 design centers in the United States and abroad as well as online at ethanallen.com. The design centers represent a mix of independent licensees and Company-owned and operated locations. The Company operates retail design centers located in the United States and Canada. The independently operated design centers are located in the United States, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Ethan Allen owns and operates nine manufacturing facilities, including six manufacturing plants in the United States, two manufacturing plants in Mexico and one manufacturing plant in Honduras. Approximately 75% of its products are manufactured or assembled in these North American facilities.
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Source: Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc.