LL Flooring Reports First Quarter 2023 Financial Results
LL Flooring Holdings, Inc. (“LL Flooring” or “Company”), a leading specialty retailer of hard-surface flooring in the U.S., today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2023.
“As expected, the first quarter was very challenging and our performance reflected the impact the difficult macro backdrop had on discretionary home improvement spending. In addition, we continue to experience pressure from brand awareness and operational challenges that impacted first quarter results. Despite the near-term volatility, we remain focused on areas of improvement that will help stabilize our results and drive long-term growth opportunities. These include further broadening and growing our brand awareness among consumers to drive traffic; ensuring a consistent customer experience across our omnichannel network to improve conversion; and improving operating efficiencies by actively working to reduce costs while focusing investments on our top growth priorities,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Tyson.
Tyson continued, “Despite the headwinds that we are facing, we remain confident in our ability to deliver the high-touch service of an independent flooring retailer combined with the value, assortment and convenience of a national brand. To that end, we continue to execute on our strategic initiatives of growing sales to Pro customers, building brand awareness, improving the customer experience and innovating new products. Additionally, in response to customer feedback, we have launched a new category pilot in carpet in four stores with plans to be in 20 additional stores by the end of the second quarter as we serve as the comprehensive flooring solution provider for our customers. We are also pleased to announce we are opening a third distribution center in Dallas in the third quarter which will further optimize our supply chain network.”
Tyson concluded, “As we look to the remainder of 2023, we expect the macro backdrop to remain challenging as elevated inflation and higher interest rates drive a more cautious consumer and pressure higher ticket discretionary purchases. We have also been impacted by the enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”) as it relates to the importation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is resulting in delays in receipt of certain vinyl flooring products. We are diligently working to provide the additional documentation that has been requested by U.S. Customs. During Q1, we experienced continued delays, incremental expenses and lost sales as a result of detention notices within the vinyl product category. Together these factors have limited our sales visibility for the balance of the year. Despite these challenges, we remain focused on driving sales through our initiatives, and we are working diligently to align our cost structure with the help of outside consultants. Importantly, looking beyond 2023, the medium to long-term outlook for repair and remodel spending remains strong and we remain confident in the long-term fundamentals of our business.”
First Quarter Financial Highlights
- Net sales of $240.7 million decreased 13.7% compared to the same period last year, driven by lower spending by consumers versus last year combined with a decline in Pro sales.
- Total comparable store sales decreased 15.4% versus the same period last year.
- Gross margin of 36.6% decreased 70 basis points as a percentage of sales, driven by $2.1 million in incremental costs related to customs delays on flooring products that contain PVC as a consequence of the UFLPA.
- Excluding the vinyl charges, adjusted gross margin1 of 37.4% increased 20 basis points as a percentage of net sales compared to the same period last year, primarily reflecting the Company’s ability to offset higher material and transportation costs (collectively up more than 500 basis points) through pricing, promotion and alternative country/vendor sourcing strategies.
- SG&A as a percentage of net sales of 42.0% increased 650 basis points compared to the first quarter of last year and included a $0.3 million charge for legal fees charged to earnings related to CBP requests for additional documentation on imports of flooring products that contain PVC as a consequence of the UFLPA. Excluding the impact of the legal fees, Adjusted SG&A1 as a percentage of net sales of 41.9% increased 640 basis points compared to the first quarter of last year.
- The increases in both SG&A and Adjusted SG&A as a percentage of net sales were due primarily to expense deleverage from lower sales volumes.
- In addition, operating expenses were higher due to the planned investments in our growth strategies including: costs associated with new stores, investments in technology and digital enhancements to improve the customer experience, and consulting fees related to realigning our cost structure, as well as inflationary cost increases. The increase was partially offset by restructuring cost savings and lower variable costs due to lower sales volume.
- Operating margin of (5.5)% decreased 730 basis points compared to the first quarter of last year. Adjusted operating margin1 of (4.5)% decreased 620 basis points compared to the first quarter of last year.
- Loss per Diluted Share of $0.37 decreased $0.51 compared to the first quarter of last year. Adjusted Loss Per Diluted Share1 of $0.31 decreased $0.44 compared to the first quarter of last year.
- During the first quarter, the Company opened one new store, bringing total stores to 443 as of March 31, 2023.
1Please refer to the “Non-GAAP and Other Information” section and the GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation tables below for more information.
Cash Flow & Liquidity
As of March 31, 2023, the Company had liquidity of $157 million, consisting of excess availability under its Credit Agreement of $150 million, and cash and cash equivalents of $7 million.
During the first quarter of 2023, the Company generated $26 million of cash flows from operating activities primarily driven by sell throughs of merchandise inventories rebuilt from the prior year end and reduced inventory purchases.
2023 Business Outlook
The Company continues to navigate uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment due to consumer confidence, inflation, a volatile interest and mortgage rate environment and lower existing home sales. As a result, the Company is not providing financial guidance at this time.
The Company is, however, providing the following commentary. The Company expects:
- Full year revenues to continue to be challenged due to macro uncertainty further exacerbated by the customs delays related to the UFLPA. The timing and resolution of the customs hold is unknown and difficult to forecast. In addition, the company continues to focus on areas of improvement including increasing brand awareness and ensuring a seamless customer experience.
- Adjusted gross margins are expected to improve year-over-year, with a stronger second half, driven primarily by a reduction in international shipping rates and sourcing costs. The Company will continue to monitor the competitive pricing environment to inform its pricing and promotion strategies. In addition, the Company expects its gross margin rate in 2023 to benefit from a greater mix of our premium Duravana brand which carries higher margins and delivers on customer needs for scratch-resistant and waterproof flooring.
- SG&A dollar spend and SG&A spend as a percentage of sales are expected to increase year-over-year, primarily due to continued deleverage from lower sales volumes, inflationary pressures on wages and benefits and investments in its new distribution center and customer relationship management platform, which it expects will support higher sales levels and make its operating structure more efficient over time. The Company has engaged consultants to undergo a comprehensive strategic review of the cost structure.
- Capital expenditures in the range of approximately $15 million to $20 million in 2023, primarily to support the new distribution center, productivity investments, maintenance CapEx and three store openings.
Learn More about LL Flooring
- Our commitment to quality, compliance, the communities we serve and corporate giving: https://llflooring.com/corp/quality.html
- Follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For the full first quarter results, click here.
About LL Flooring
LL Flooring is one of the country’s leading specialty retailers of hard-surface flooring with more than 440 stores nationwide. The Company seeks to offer the best customer experience online and in stores, with more than 500 varieties of hard-surface floors featuring a range of quality styles and on-trend designs. LL Flooring’s online tools also help empower customers to find the right solution for the space they’ve envisioned. LL Flooring’s extensive selection includes waterproof hybrid resilient, waterproof vinyl plank, solid and engineered hardwood, laminate, bamboo, porcelain tile, and cork, with a wide range of flooring enhancements and accessories to complement. LL Flooring stores are staffed with flooring experts who provide advice, Pro partnership services and installation options for all of LL Flooring’s products, the majority of which is in stock and ready for delivery.
Bruce Williams – Investor Relations – email@example.com – (804) 420-9801
Source: LL Flooring Holdings, Inc.