Urban Outfitters Inc. reported earnings in the first quarter declined 21,0 percent to $32.6 million, or 31 cents a share as gross margins were hurt by underperforming women’s apparel at the Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters brands. Earnings surpassed Wall Street’s target of 26 cents.
Total company net sales for the three months ended April 30, 2019, increased 1.0 percent over the same period last year to a record $864 million. Comparable Retail segment net sales increased 1 percent, driven by double-digit growth in the digital channel, partially offset by negative retail store sales. By brand, comparable Retail segment net sales increased 2 percent at Free People, 1 percent at the Anthropologie Group and were flat at Urban Outfitters. Wholesale segment net sales increased 2 percent.
“We are pleased to announce record first quarter sales,” said Richard A. Hayne, Chief Executive Officer. “Our sales growth was driven by our seventh straight quarter of positive Retail segment ‘comps’ as well as continued growth in our Wholesale segment.”
For the three months ended April 30, 2019, the gross profit rate decreased by 167 basis points versus the prior year’s comparable period. The decrease in total company gross profit rate was driven by lower gross profit in the Retail segment while gross profit in the Wholesale segment increased. The decrease in Retail segment gross profit rate was driven by higher markdowns and deleverage in delivery and logistics expenses. The higher markdowns were largely driven by underperforming women’s apparel at the Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters brands. The deleverage in delivery and logistics expenses is primarily due to the increase in penetration of the digital channel. The benefit or leverage in store occupancy due to the increased penetration of the digital channel was more than offset by negative store comparable net sales resulting in store occupancy deleverage on a Retail segment basis. The improvement in Wholesale segment gross profit rate was due to a higher penetration of sales to full price customers versus closeout customers.
As of April 30, 2019, total inventory increased by $3.7 million, or 0.9 percent, on a year-over-year basis. Comparable Retail segment inventory increased 1 percent at cost.
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by $2.3 million, or 1.0 percent, during the three months ended April 30, 2019, compared to the prior year’s comparable period. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were flat when compared to the prior year’s comparable period. The dollar growth in selling, general and administrative expenses was partially due to increased marketing expenses used to support the digital channel sales growth.
The company’s effective tax rate for the three months ended April 30, 2019, was 23.7 percent compared to 23.6 percent in the prior year period. The effective tax rate for the three months ended April 30, 2019 was favorably impacted by approximately 140 basis points due to equity activity.
Net income for the three months ended April 30, 2019, was $33 million and earnings per diluted share was $0.31.
On February 1, 2019, the company adopted an accounting standards update that amended the previous accounting standards for lease accounting. The adoption resulted in the recognition of approximately $1.3 billion of lease liabilities and corresponding right-of-use assets of approximately $1.1 billion, with the offsetting balance representing a reduction in the previously recognized deferred rent balance. The adoption did not result in a material impact on the company’s Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income.
On August 22, 2017, the company’s Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of 20 million common shares under a share repurchase program, of which 12.0 million common shares were remaining as of April 30, 2019. During the three months ended April 30, 2019, the company repurchased and subsequently retired 2.4 million common shares for approximately $71 million under this program. During the year ended January 31, 2019, the company repurchased and subsequently retired 3.5 million common shares for approximately $121 million under this program.
During the three months ended April 30, 2019, the company opened a total of four new retail locations including: two Anthropologie Group stores and two Free People stores; and closed three retail locations including: one Anthropologie Group store, one Free People store and one Food and Beverage restaurant. During the three months ended April 30, 2019, one Anthropologie Group franchisee-owned store was opened.
Urban Outfitters, Inc., offers lifestyle-oriented general merchandise and consumer products and services through a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of 245 Urban Outfitters stores in the United States, Canada and Europe and websites; 228 Anthropologie Group stores in the United States, Canada and Europe, catalogs and websites; 136 Free People stores in the United States, Canada and Europe, catalogs and websites, 12 Food and Beverage restaurants, 4 Urban Outfitters franchisee-owned stores, 1 Anthropologie Group franchisee-owned store and 1 Free People franchisee-owned store, as of April 30, 2019. Free People, Anthropologie Group and Urban Outfitters wholesale sell their products through approximately 2,200 department and specialty stores worldwide, digital businesses and the company’s Retail segment.