LL Flooring Reports Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results
Lumber Liquidators (“LL Flooring” or “Company”), a leading specialty retailer of hard-surface flooring in North America, announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.
“We are very pleased with our strong third quarter results, underscored by our continued execution against our transformation plan and industry strength as we saw customers display a healthy appetite for home improvement projects,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Tyson. “Our team has executed well against our four strategic pillars: people and culture, improving customer experience, driving traffic and transactions, and improving profitability, which drove a robust comp of 10.9%, a $16 million increase in Net Income, and a $25 million increase in Adjusted Operating Income compared to the prior year. We would like to thank our associates for their agility and dedication throughout the quarter to deliver these impressive results.”
“Our sales trends strengthened as we saw sequential improvement in our Pro and Install customers from the second to the third quarter, driven by increased willingness from customers to allow contractors into their homes for home improvement and installation projects. Our focus on liquidity over the past several months has allowed us to build a strong liquidity position to navigate the current COVID-19 environment. We are purposefully executing our transformation plan and believe all of our actions are repositioning the Company for long-term success. There remains a good deal of uncertainty in this operating environment, but we are confident in our strategy.”
Third Quarter Results
Net sales in the third quarter of 2020 increased $32 million, or 12.1%, to $296 million from the third quarter of 2019. Comparable store sales for the third quarter of 2020 increased 10.9% primarily as a result of continued execution against the Company’s transformation and healthy consumer demand for home improvement projects. The third quarter of 2019 was unfavorably affected by a network security incident in late August, which the Company believes negatively impacted total revenue by approximately $6 million to $8 million with an accompanying reduction in gross profit. The Company opened one net new store in the third quarter of 2020 bringing total store count to 423 as of September 30, 2020.
Gross profit increased 22% in the third quarter of 2020 to $117 million from $96 million in the comparable period in 2019. Gross Margin increased 320 basis points to 39.4% in the third quarter of 2020 from 36.2% in the third quarter of 2019 due to lower year-over-year Section 301 tariffs (discussed in the “Section 301 Tariffs” section that follows), supply chain efficiency, along with pricing initiatives and a larger mix of higher-margin manufactured products. These items were partially offset by higher customer delivery costs associated with promotions.
SG&A expense decreased 0.1% to $93 million, or 31.6% of sales, down 380 basis points in the third quarter of 2020 from the comparable period in 2019. SG&A in both quarters included certain costs related to investigations and lawsuits. Additionally, the third quarter included costs related to Canadian and US store closures in 2020. Excluding these items as shown in the table that follows, Adjusted SG&A (a non-GAAP measure) decreased 4.9% to $89 million, or 29.9% of sales, down 530 basis points compared to the same period in the prior year. The reduction in Adjusted SG&A was primarily driven by the optimization of our marketing efforts, as we pivoted towards more efficient channels like digital, and $2.5 million from the final settlement of the business interruption insurance claim related to the August 2019 network security incident; partially offset by an increase in credit card fees due to the year-over-year increase in revenue.
Operating income was $23 million for the third quarter of 2020 compared to $2.2 million for the third quarter of 2019. Adjusted Operating Income (a non-GAAP measure) was $29 million for the third quarter of 2020, a year-over-year increase of more than $25 million compared to Adjusted Operating Income of $3.4 million for the third quarter of 2019. The year-over-year increase was primarily driven by strong sales growth, enhanced gross margin, and strong expense management.
For the three months ended September 30, 2020, the Company recognized income tax expense of $7 million, which represented an effective tax rate of 31.0%. For the three months ended September 30, 2019, the Company recognized income tax expense of $0.2 million, which represented an effective tax rate of 17.7%. The variability of the Company’s third-quarter tax rate reflects the timing of deductions as the Company calculated a discrete provision in 2020 because of COVID-19 uncertainty as compared to using an effective tax rate in 2019.
Net income for the third quarter of 2020 increased $14.5 million to $15.5 million compared to $1 million for the third quarter of 2019, while Adjusted Earnings (a non-GAAP measure) for the third quarter of 2020 was $20 million, a year-over-year increase of $18 million compared to Adjusted Earnings of $1.9 million for the third quarter of 2019.
Earnings per diluted share was $0.53 for the third quarter 2020 versus $0.04 in the year ago quarter. On an adjusted basis, third quarter earnings per diluted share increased $0.60 to $0.67 compared to an Adjusted Earnings per Diluted Share (a non-GAAP measure) of $0.07 for the third quarter of 2019.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $181 million for the year to date, inclusive of $75 million in the third quarter, an increase of $198 million over the equivalent period of the prior year. The increase in the year to date was primarily due to operating performance along with disciplined working capital management. The working capital benefit included a reduction in inventory due to strong sales, higher accounts payable, further growth in customer deposits, and collection of tariff receivables. The Company has a significant amount of inventory in transit as of September 30, 2020 and expects inventory to build in the fourth quarter to more historic levels. The accounts payable balance was higher at the end of the quarter due to the increased in-transit inventory and extended payment terms with vendors and other service providers.
As of September 30, 2020, the Company had liquidity of approximately $230 million, consisting of excess availability under its Credit Agreement of $31 million, and cash and cash equivalents of $199 million. This represents an increase in liquidity of $44 million from June 30, 2020. In addition, the Company’s debt balance as of September 30, 2020 was $101 million, unchanged since amending the Credit Agreement on April 17, 2020.
Canadian and US Store Closure Costs
During the third quarter of 2020, the Company conducted a comprehensive review of its real estate portfolio. Following the conclusion of this review, the Company made the decision to close its Canadian operations, including all eight stores in Canada, and six underperforming US locations by the end of 2020. The Company will continue to monitor store performance on an ongoing basis. The Company expects to incur expense of between $4 and $5 million to close these stores in the second half of 2020, $2.6 million of which was recorded in the third quarter of 2020. The Company expects all fourteen stores to be closed by year end although certain transfers of inventory and clean-up activities will not be fully completed until early in 2021.
Section 301 Tariffs
Beginning in September 2018, goods coming from China were subject to a 10% tariff under Section 301, which was increased to 25% in June 2019. On November 7, 2019, the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) granted a retroactive exclusion on certain Click Vinyl and engineered products imported from China. Subsequently, on August 6, 2020, the USTR announced its intention not to extend the exclusion pertaining to those certain flooring products imported from China, and the exclusion expired as of August 7, 2020, which again subjects those products to the 25% Section 301 tariffs.
At that time, approximately 43% of the Company’s merchandise receipts originated from China. Approximately 10% of the Company’s merchandise receipts remained subject to the Section 301 tariffs even during the exclusion period; the remaining 33% are once again subject to the Section 301 tariffs. As the Company continues to execute its alternative sourcing strategy, its goal is to reduce the percentage of goods that we purchase from China to the mid-thirties by the end of 2020 and to continue those efforts in the coming year.
The Company had a benefit of $11 million of operating income in the fourth quarter of 2019 as a result of the retroactive exclusion of these tariffs, which will not be repeated in 2020.
Following the tariffs being reinstated in August 2020, cash flow was reduced as the Company began to pay the tariffs on the product affected by the Section 301 tariff reinstatement. As this product is sold beginning in the fourth quarter, the increased cost of the tariffs will flow through the income statement.
In addition to alternative country sourcing, the Company has other approaches to mitigate the impact of the tariffs, including partnering with current vendors to lower costs and adjusting its pricing. The Company continues to monitor market pricing and promotional strategies to inform and guide its decisions.
As previously announced on April 20, 2020, the Company withdrew its annual financial guidance that was initially provided on February 25, 2020. The uncertainty surrounding the duration and extent of the impact of COVID-19 makes it uniquely challenging to accurately forecast future financial performance, and as such, the Company is not providing financial guidance.
For the full third quarter results, click here.
About Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators is one of North America’s leading specialty retailers of hard-surface flooring with 422 stores as of June 30, 2020. The Company features more than 400 varieties of floors in the latest styles, including waterproof vinyl plank, solid and engineered hardwood, laminate, bamboo, porcelain tile and cork flooring. Additionally, Lumber Liquidators provides a wide selection of flooring enhancements and accessories to complement, install and maintain new floors. Every location is staffed with flooring experts who can provide advice, pro services and installation options for all of Lumber Liquidators’ products, much of which is in stock and ready for delivery.
Source: Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc.