Ethan Allen Reports Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Results
Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (“Ethan Allen” or the “Company”) reported its business and financial results for the fiscal 2021 second quarter ended December 31, 2020.
Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen’s Chairman, President and CEO commented, “we performed very well during the second quarter despite the unsettled business environment from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The increased consumer focus on the home has continued to generate a heightened level of demand for our product offerings and design services. Our fundamentals continue to be strong, with written orders and backlogs from both operating segments reporting double-digit growth. We ended the quarter with a strong balance sheet, including cash on hand of $80 million and no outstanding debt, and a major increase in earnings per share through disciplined cost and expense controls. We are also pleased that our January retail written orders continue the upward trend.”
Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Highlights*
– Diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) of $0.67; adjusted EPS of $0.69 increased 155.6%
– Consolidated operating margin of 12.6% compared with 5.3%; adjusted operating margin of 13.1% compared with 5.4%
– Retail segment written order growth of 44.9%
– Wholesale segment written orders increased 28.1%; excluding GSA and other government orders, wholesale segment orders grew 39.7%
– Consolidated net sales increased 2.4% to $178.8 million
– Consolidated gross margin of 56.7%; adjusted gross margin expanded 80 basis points to 56.9%
– Strong cash flow helped end the quarter with cash on hand of $80.0 million, up 182.7% from a year ago, and no debt
– Paid regular quarterly cash dividend of $5.3 million during the quarter
* See reconciliation of U.S. GAAP to adjusted key financial measures in the back of this press release. Comparisons are to the second quarter of fiscal 2020.
Mr. Kathwari continued, “with our well-known and desired Ethan Allen brand strongly resonating with consumers during these uncertain times, we were able to accelerate the pace of written orders, produce double-digit consolidated operating margin and generate cash. We continued to focus on prudent expense management as we navigate the challenging COVID-19 landscape and remain focused on providing a safe environment for employees and customers. In this stronger-than-expected demand environment, our supply chain team is demonstrating agility and flexibility to increase production capacity and receipt of inventory. Due to the impact of COVID-19 and its effects on production capacity and our supply chain, we believe it will take the March and June quarters to catch up to the increase in customer demand.”
“We believe we have an opportunity to continue our growth in sales and profitability due to our strong retail network, the personal service of our interior design professionals, our unique vertical integration whereby 75% of products are made in our North American manufacturing workshops, and our national distribution and home delivery centers delivering product with white glove service to our customer’s home. As we head into the 2021 calendar year, we will remain focused on employee safety, continue investing in digital design and interactive communication technologies, growing our business and generating strong cash flow, refining and repositioning our product offerings to reach a larger client base, and leveraging our vertical integration,” Mr. Kathwari concluded.
Fiscal 2021 Second Quarter Financial Results
Net sales were $178.8 million, an increase of 2.4% compared to the same prior year period. The Company experienced a strong pace of written orders during the quarter and its manufacturing facilities continued to make good progress ramping up production to meet this demand and work through existing backlog after the temporary plant closures in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. However, given the production cycle from written order to delivery, net sales grew only 2.4% compared with 44.9% growth in retail written orders and 28.1% growth in wholesale written orders.
Gross profit increased 3.9% to $101.3 million compared with the prior year period due to stronger net sales within both the wholesale and retail segments combined with an improved wholesale gross margin. Wholesale gross profit increased year over year primarily due a 10.5% increase in net sales and improved operating efficiencies, which led to gross margin expansion despite plant shutdowns and restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Retail gross profit increased due to a 4.1% increase in net shipments.
Gross margin was 56.7% compared with 55.9% a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the current year consolidated gross margin was 56.9% compared to a prior year gross margin of 56.1%. The increase in consolidated gross margin was due to higher productivity in wholesale manufacturing and a change in the sales mix. Retail sales, as a percentage of total consolidated sales, were 81.0% compared with 79.7% a year ago, which positively impacted consolidated gross margin. The wholesale gross margin expanded due to benefits being realized from the prior year optimization project and increased productivity.
Operating expenses decreased to $78.8 million, or 44.1% of net sales, compared with $88.3 million, or 50.6% of net sales last year. The 10.8% decrease in operating expenses was primarily due to lower selling costs and a reduction in general and administrative expenses from less headcount. Retail selling expenses were lower due to less designer selling expenses and lower compensation due to headcount reductions. Wholesale selling costs were down due to a reduction in advertising spending and lower compensation costs due to headcount reductions. General and administrative expenses decreased due to lower compensation costs, reduced travel expenses, occupancy cost savings and lower regional management expenses.
Operating income was $22.6 million compared with $9.2 million in the prior year period. Higher consolidated net sales of $4.3 million or 2.4% coupled with disciplined cost and expense controls, including strong cost containment measures and expense management, drove operating income growth. The Company’s ability to operate the business with headcount down 19.2% year over year helped improve consolidated operating income and margin.
Income tax expense was $5.3 million, an increase of $3.1 million from a year ago due to the $12.9 million increase in income before income taxes. The Company’s effective rate was 23.9% compared with 23.5% last year.
Diluted EPS was $0.67, up 148.1%, compared with $0.27 in the prior year comparable period. Adjusted diluted EPS was $0.69, up 155.6%, and driven by improved net sales, gross margin and cost containment measures.
Net sales increased 10.5% to $101.6 million primarily due to a 19.7% increase in sales to its Company-operated design centers combined with 33.3% growth in sales to its North American retail network. These increases were partially offset by a 33.4% decline in contract business sales, including the GSA contract and a 15.4% decrease in sales to its international retail network primarily as a result of COVID-19 related economic disruptions.
Operating income was $12.7 million or 12.5% of net sales, an increase compared with $5.7 million or 6.2% of net sales last year largely due to an increase in net sales of $9.7 million or 10.5% and 7.7% less operating expenses. The Company was able to reduce 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 increased 4.1% to $144.8 million. There was a 3.7% increase in net sales in the United States, while net sales from Canadian design centers increased 15.4%. Since all design centers have re-opened, whether in-person, by appointment only, or virtually, the Company has continued to experience strong order trends with written orders up 44.9%, driven by increased demand for products in the home furnishings category. In addition, the Company’s e-commerce business was a strong contributor to retail net sales, growing by 115% year over year, as online traffic continues to increase. There were 144 Company-operated design centers as of December 31, 2020, the same as at the end of the prior year period.
Operating income was $9.9 million, or 6.8% of sales, compared with a loss of $0.1 million, or 0.1% of sales, for the prior year period. The retail operating margin increased 690 basis points primarily due to the 4.1% increase in net sales and an 11.9% decrease in operating expenses from lower selling, administrative, occupancy and regional management costs. The decreases within retail operating expenses were due to strong cost control measures implemented, including a 42.2% reduction in retail headcount from a year ago.
Fiscal 2021 Year-to-Date Financial Results
Net sales were $329.9 million, a decrease of 5.3% compared to the same prior year period. While written orders accelerated with retail segment orders up 25.1% and wholesale segment orders up 10.7% during the first six months of fiscal 2021 compared to the prior year period, net sales were down 5.3% primarily due to the continued impact of COVID-19, which caused temporary design center closures in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, temporary closures of its manufacturing facilities, and a negative impact on the Company’s ability to deliver product to customers. Customer demand continues to outpace product availability even as manufacturing capacity increases. The Company resumed production in its North American manufacturing plants during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and have ramped up to near pre-COVID-19 production levels, which is expected to reduce the high undelivered order backlogs and delivery lead-times in the second half of fiscal 2021.
Gross profit decreased 2.2% to $187.1 million compared with the prior year period due to lower retail net sales of $13.5 million partially offset by an increase in wholesale net sales of $5.7 million.
Operating expenses decreased to $152.9 million, or 46.3% of net sales, compared with $163.5 million, or 46.9% of net sales last year. Included in prior year period operating expenses was a gain of $11.5 million from the sale of the Company’s Passaic, New Jersey property. Operating expenses decreased during fiscal 2021 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, reduced travel expenses and lower regional management expenses.
Operating income totaled $34.2 million compared with $27.8 million a year ago. Adjusted operating income was $35.7 million, or 10.8% of net sales compared with $21.7 million, or 6.2% of net sales last year. Strong cost containment measures, including improved expense management and reduced headcount, drove operating income growth. These benefits to operating income were partially offset by the 5.3% decline in consolidated net sales.
Income tax expense was $7.2 million compared with $6.7 million a year ago. Income tax expense was higher due to the $5.5 million increase in income before income taxes partially offset by a $0.9 million reduction to the Company’s valuation allowance on retail segment deferred tax assets. The Company’s effective rate was 21.5% in the current year first half compared with 24.1% last year due to the discrete tax benefit related to a reduction in its valuation allowance on retail deferred tax assets.
Diluted EPS was $1.04 compared with $0.79 in the prior year comparable period. Adjusted diluted EPS was $1.05, up 69.4% compared with $0.62 in the prior year period. Restructuring and impairment charges, net of the valuation allowance tax benefit, negatively impacted diluted EPS by $0.01 during fiscal 2021. The gain on the sale of the Company’s Passaic, New Jersey property partially offset with other restructuring activities and corporate actions increased diluted EPS by $0.17 in the prior year period.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
Total cash and cash equivalents was $80.0 million at December 31, 2020 compared with $72.3 million at June 30, 2020 and $28.3 million a year ago. Cash and cash equivalents aggregated to 12.6% of total assets at December 31, 2020, compared with 4.6% a year ago and 11.6% at June 30, 2020. Cash and cash equivalents increased $7.7 million during fiscal 2021 due to net cash provided by operating activities of $65.9 million, partially offset by the Company’s September 2020 repayment of 100% or $50.0 million of outstanding borrowings under the Company’s existing credit facility and capital expenditures of $5.9 million.
Inventories, net of $126.7 million increased $0.6 million compared with $126.1 million at June 30, 2020 as the Company continues to minimize inventory carrying costs.
Debt outstanding was zero at December 31, 2020 as the Company paid down the remaining $50.0 million of its borrowing in September 2020 using available cash on hand.
Capital expenditures in the first six months of fiscal 2021 were $5.9 million compared with $8.0 million in the prior year period. As part of the Company’s initial response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Company took immediate action and made adjustments to its business operations, including delaying investments and capital expenditures, which led to a reduction in capital spending. The decrease related primarily to lower spending of $2.9 million on retail design center openings, relocations and improvements, as well as the prior year conversion of the Company’s Old Fort, North Carolina facility into a distribution center, partially offset by expansion of its existing Maiden, North Carolina manufacturing campus.
Cash dividends paid were $5.3 million during the first half of fiscal 2021, a decrease of $5.4 million over a year ago, due to the Board’s decision to temporarily suspend the quarterly dividend as a result of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
On January 25, 2021, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share, payable on April 22, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 8, 2021.
For the full second 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. The Company provides complimentary interior design service to its clients and sells a full range of furniture products and decorative home accents through a retail network of approximately 300 design centers in the United States and abroad as well as online at ethanallen.com. 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.