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Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ:FARM)
Q4 2019 Earnings Call
Sep 10, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Farmer Brothers fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2019 earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Rachel Goldman. Please go ahead.

Rachel Goldman -- Investor Relations

Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining Farmer Brothers fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2019 earnings conference call. Participating on today's call are Chris Mottern, interim CEO; and David Robson, treasurer and CFO.

Earlier today, the company issued its earnings press release, which is available on the Investor Relations section of Farmer Brothers' website at www.farmerbros.com. The press release is also included as an exhibit to the company's Form 8-K available on the company's website, and on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website at www.sec.gov. A replay of this audio-only webcast will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of this call. A link to the audio replay will also be available on the company's website.

Before we begin the call, please note that all of the financial information presented is unaudited and that various remarks made by management during this call about the company's future expectations, plans and prospects may constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the federal securities laws and regulations. These forward-looking statements represent the company's views only as of today, and should not be relied upon as representing the company's views as of any subsequent date. Results could differ materially from those forward-looking statements. Additional information on factors that could cause actual results and other events to differ materially from those forward-looking statements is available in the company's press release and public filings.

On today's call, management will also use certain non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin, in assessing the company's operating performance. Reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP measures is also included in the company's press release. I will now turn the call over to Chris. Chris, please go ahead.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Rachel. Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for joining us. On today's call, my intention is to update you on the company's progress in addressing the fundamental issues in the business and the steps we have taken in the last 120 days to drive improvement in execution and financial results. In addition to providing a progress report, I will also share with you what's ahead for the company.

To do this, I'll speak about events in the fourth quarter of 2019, as well as, the first quarter of fiscal 2020. David will review our financial results for the fourth-quarter and full year of fiscal 2019 in detail. Before I discuss the recent work that has been accomplished by the team, as you may have seen, we announced the appointment of a new CEO, Deverl Maserang, this afternoon, in addition to reporting our financial results. We are very pleased that Deverl has agreed to lead the Farmer Brothers team.

I'll speak more about his background and why we think he is an ideal fit later in the call. As I stepped into the Interim CEO role in May, it was clear to me that fundamental changes were required to get the company back on track. In the last 120 days, I completed a thorough review of our business and saw siloed thinking and fragmenting decision-making across the organization, which at times was leading to resources, both human and financial, not being allocated appropriately. The good news is that many great employees stepped forward and assisted in a significant fashion to develop five key priorities.

These were created with strategic intent. Success in execution of these priorities is forming a strong foundation on which the company will be able to stabilize, move forward with momentum, and be positioned for long-term success. These five priorities include: effective cash management and debt reduction; customer retention and acquisition; efficiently managing coffee brewing equipment, installation and service; enhancing our processes and systems; and reducing our SKU count and achieving 100% product availability. Most of these priorities are connected and require teams to break out of their silos and work together and make decisions quickly to achieving the common goal of success.

I am pleased and proud of those employees who have embraced change, and are instrumental to the successes achieved to date. I will comment on major improvements, but many, many great things are happening at Farmer Brothers. First, in terms of cash management and debt reduction. Our debt had reached a peak of $140 million on January 10th, 2019.

By August 31st, 2019, we have reduced debt to $100 million, an improvement of $40 million. We also improved accounts receivable from a month-end peak of $79.5 million on December 31st, 2018, to $56.7 million on July 31st, 2019, a reduction of $22.8 million. We reduced inventory from a month-end peak of $123 million on November 30th, 2018, to $90.4 million on July 31st, 2019, a reduction of $32.6 million. Over the past 120 days, we completed the sale of certain assets that brought proceeds of $17.8 million, which were used to improve liquidity and pay down debt.

This included: the sale of a parcel of company-owned land in June for $1.3 million; the sale of our office coffee business in July to a large office coffee supplier, generating proceeds of $9.2 million. We expect to record an estimated gain of $7.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 with an additional potential earn-out of up to $2.2 million. Our office coffee business is not a core part of our overall business. And as part of the sale, we also entered into a significant three-year coffee supply contract with the purchaser.

We sold our Seattle branch for $7.3 million. We expect to record an estimated gain of $6.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. We have recently signed an agreement to sell our Houston plant for $10 million with a leaseback term of up to 36 months. We expect this transaction to close in the second quarter of fiscal 2020 and are currently transferring volume to our other roasting facilities.

Regarding customer retention and acquisition. The company has been working for some time to improve DSD sales productivity and taken steps earlier in fiscal 2019 to further refine the balance between our channel and street account-based business. We have now taken an additional step by organizing the DSD business into nine regions and integrating our channel, and street businesses under the structure. As we evaluated our DSD accounts, it became clear that many of our channel accounts are regional in nature.

Additionally, we connected the coffee brewing equipment control, installation and service with regional sales management. The team's ability to be effective and control expenses has been aided enormously by our business intelligence tool. This tool allows sales team members the flexibility to use this key asset along with service to build our business at the local level. As we have begun the new fiscal year, this team is executing with the budget reduced by $14 million compared to fiscal '19.

For June, July and August, we are running favorable to the plan. In addition, this group is charged with developing revenue streams associated with equipment sales and service. We are already seeing results from this initiative. Long term, we see this as a strategic opportunity.

We've also reduced the span of each of our regions to focus on major metropolitan markets and their surrounds. In addition, we've added a developing market region for less dense markets that will require different forms of sales attention mostly direct services being one. These sales efforts are being supported by trade marketing reporting to the Senior VP and GM of direct-store delivery. Further, we have updated our DSD sales incentive program for regional sales representatives, providing significant upside for improved performance with added incentive when the branch team exceeds their goal as a unit.

We believe we have established the right structure, the right team, and have given our people the necessary tools to see greater success in retaining customers and winning new business. Our direct ship business performed in line with expectations in Q4 in terms of pounds sold to large national accounts. With that said, this business continues to be impacted by a highly competitive pricing environment. As we look to the future, we see growth opportunities with mid-tier and smaller customers that are more of a hybrid between direct ship and DSD.

These are customers who don't require significant investment of capital and people. They are coming to us for product development, equipment expertise, and additional services, allowing us to achieve fair margins. While we are working to improve and grow our DSD business, we are making changes within direct ship to increase our focus on these mid-tier and smaller hybrid accounts. We're also looking beyond this to additional growth opportunities.

As I mentioned earlier, we are seeing good traction with our roastery direct services, and see opportunity to continue building our e-commerce business, where the services we provide are a differentiator with customers. Our systems and processes objective is to develop critical reports needed to better manage and control our business. First, for DSD, the new business intelligence tool that I briefly mentioned earlier is proving to be transformational. It provides key details about our customers, including profitability, service events, sales, drop size, and equipment installs.

The tool allows the user to drill down from total to branch to route to customer, by product sold or information on any element of our business proposition. We've already put this tool to use, and it's providing the basis for setting our sales objectives and how we are working toward achievement of those objectives. Second, we're continuing to move ahead with the upgrade of our legacy JDE enterprise system. This is a fundamental tool which hasn't been updated for a number of years.

The significant improvement of this system will allow us to manage our business more effectively and efficiently. Third, we have piloted a 24/7 customer call center, which provides customers with immediate assistance. The initial results of the pilot have been excellent, and a plan for the national roll-out is currently under way. And finally, we have made progress as it relates to the technology our employees are using in the field.

While we have made necessary improvements to our handheld technology, we are also adding an all-hours field employee call center for employees with product supply issues to directly reach an employee with the authority to fix the issue immediately. For SKU rationalization and our 100% product availability commitment, we are seeing progress in reducing our SKU count. But we still need to work through existing raw materials inventory for eliminated SKUs. This process for coffee entails rationalization from coffee blending to grind consolidations to standardization of films to case packs along with reduction of SKUs for allied products.

We anticipate the result will be longer runs and fewer changes while providing for more focused selling, and ultimately reducing scrap. Product availability at 100% involves better forecasting at the SKU level and visibility of inventories of coffee and allied products all the way to our branches. The IT team is nearing completion of a branch tool that will improve ordering capabilities and provide better visibility into inventory. Within this priority is a reduction of scrap.

In 2019, our scrap was unacceptable. It was caused by overproduction, Houston's inability to produce without creating production scrap, and other field issues associated with obsolete product. More efficient manufacturing operations and improved product availability, coupled with a vibrant supply chain, is important for our success now, as well as, in the long term. As our team has focused on these five priorities since May, and as we have entered fiscal 2020, we've also made a number of other leadership changes and adjustments to the organizational structure that we believe will foster improved execution and enable more nimble decision-making.

In concert with the leadership changes, we rightsized the organization and eliminated approximately 60 positions, mostly at our corporate headquarters, in July to help us operate more efficiently. This will generate estimated savings of $7.6 million in fiscal 2020. We recorded a severance charge of $1.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Having provided this update on progress made to improve execution and put the company on the right path to improve financial performance, I'd like to turn next to our outlook for fiscal 2020.

With the new permanent CEO coming on board and the business in the midst of a turnaround, we are not providing an expected range for adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2020. With that said, I'd like to give some qualitative guidance for the fiscal year. We currently anticipate that adjusted EBITDA will be down somewhat compared to fiscal '19, factoring in the following assumptions. First, we expect direct ship to remain steady.

Second, our outlook also factors a turnaround we expect to see in DSD in the third quarter, with its new regional structure in place and more refined balance between our channel and street account-based business. Additionally, this assumes we pay our incentive plan this year, whereas we did not in fiscal 2019. David will provide some additional metrics in a moment that may also be helpful for your financial models. Before I turn the call over to him, I'd like to speak a few moments about the company's incoming CEO.

We are thrilled to have Deverl Maserang joining Farmer Brothers, and are confident he is the ideal executive to lead Farmer Brothers into its next stage of growth. Deverl brings over three decades of innovative leadership in turnarounds, supply chain management expertise, as well as, deep experience in the food and beverage industry. He most recently served as President and CEO of Earthbound Farm Organic, where he led the company to deliver record operational execution metrics. Prior to that, Deverl held multiple senior positions at food and beverage companies, including Starbucks, Chiquita Brands, and Pepsi Bottling Group.

He will officially begin in the role on September 13th, and we look forward to benefiting from his experience, insights and strong leadership capabilities. My time as Interim CEO has been short but productive. I'm confident Deverl will hit the ground running and continue the great execution already demonstrated by this talented team. Deverl and I have already had in-depth discussions about Farmer Brothers business.

The actions we have taken in the past quarter and our five priorities are designed to better position the company for the future. With this foundation and Deverl stepping in as CEO, we believe the company is well-positioned to execute our strategy on a stand-alone basis and also pursue M&A opportunities in parallel to drive maximum value for our shareholders. As it relates to our broader strategy going forward, we recognize that we operate in a consolidating industry, and we want to be part of that consolidation. We believe that there will be potential opportunities on a regular basis, and we plan to evaluate them as they come.

It's been an honor serving as Farmer Brothers' Interim CEO, and I look forward to working with Deverl as the company continues to improve and evolve. With that, I'll now turn the call over to David for a more detailed review of our financial results.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Chris. I'll now review our fourth-quarter and fiscal year results beginning with coffee volumes. Green coffee processed and sold in the quarter was flat at 27.4 million pounds compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. The mix of coffee volumes processed and sold during the quarter was approximately 8.9 million pounds or 32.4% of the total volume through our DSD network, while direct ship customers represented approximately 18.2 million pounds of green coffee processed and sold or 66.5% of total volume, 0.3 million pounds or 1.1% of total volume was through distributors.

The flat coffee volumes reflects incremental new volume from the ramping of our new large global convenience store retailer who began shipping earlier at fiscal 2019, offset by the impact of two brands that we serviced in the prior year that were brought in-house by the owners of those brands, and reduced coffee volumes from one of our largest customers, as well as, declining volume within our DSD network. Turning to the income statement. Net sales for the quarter were $142.1 million, a decrease of $7.5 million or 5% from $149.5 million recorded in the same period of the prior year. The decline in net sales was driven primarily by lower sales of coffee and allied products sold through our DSD network, offset by slightly positive growth within our direct sales channel net of the impact of lower coffee prices for our cost plus customers.

Net sales for our direct ship channel continue to improve as we ramp volume of the new large global convenience store retailer and trends improved from one of our largest customers. Sales through our DSD network was negatively impacted by higher customer attrition related to the Boyd's business integration, route optimization, and lower inventory fill rates associated with downtime at our Houston plant. Gross profit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 was $37.7 million, a decrease of $15 million from the prior-year period, and gross margin decreased to 26.6% from 35.3%. The decrease in gross profit was primarily driven by lower year-over-year net sales of $7.5 million and higher cost of goods sold.

The higher cost of goods sold is attributed to higher inventory markdowns and slow-moving inventory, higher manufacturing costs driven by downtimes associated with the aging production infrastructure at our Houston facility, higher coffee brewing equipment and labor costs, and unfavorable shift in customer mix. However, the margin impact was partially offset by lower green coffee prices. I'd like to discuss a few of these items now in more detail. First, excess slow-moving inventories remained a challenge in the fourth quarter, resulting in higher inventory markdowns and scrap expense as we worked through the excess product associated with the Boyd's acquisition.

We also saw elevated scrap generated from production challenges at our Houston plant. As of year end, our inventory levels have declined and are now back in line with historical levels. The higher manufacturing costs we reported in the third quarter at our Houston plant continued into the fourth quarter, negatively impacting gross profit. This month, we entered into a sale and leaseback of our Houston facility, which Chris discussed earlier, that will unlock additional capital, enabling us to transfer volume away from our Houston production facilities to our other roasting facilities, which in turn should reduce future manufacturing downtime and scrap expense.

We have worked through the higher coffee brewing equipment cost throughout the quarter, declining over the third quarter but remain higher than the fourth quarter of last year. The reduction in costs is a result of increased cost controls we have put in place late in the fourth quarter. We expect to see further improvements in fiscal '20 as the cost reductions and process changes fully take hold. Turning to operating expenses.

Our operating expenses for the quarter decreased $6 million to $44.7 million from $50.7 million and as a percentage of net sales declined to 31.5% compared to 33.9% of net sales in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The decrease in operating expenses was primarily due to synergies achieved through the Boyd's business acquisition, head count reductions and other efficiencies from DSD route optimization, lower acquisition and integration costs and a reduction in bonus expense. Interest expense in the quarter increased $0.3 million over the prior year period to $2.8 million principally due to higher outstanding borrowings on our revolving credit facility primarily related to the Boyd's acquisition. Other expense increased by $0.2 million to $2.1 million in the quarter compared to the prior-year period primarily due to increased mark-to-market losses on coffee-related derivative instruments not designated as accounting hedges.

Turning to income taxes. We reported an income tax expense of $1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 as compared to $1.3 million in the prior year period. The lower tax expense in the current year is primarily due to losses from operations in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 as compared to income from operations in the same period in 2018. As a result of these factors, net loss was $8.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 as compared to net income of $0.1 million in the prior year period.

Net loss available to common stockholders was $8.9 million or $0.52 per diluted share available to common stockholders in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 compared to breakeven net income available to common stockholders in the prior-year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $3.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 as compared to $14 million in the prior-year period. And adjusted EBITDA margin declined 2.8% for the quarter compared to 9.3% for the same period last year. Our full-year adjusted EBITDA was $31.9 million, which fell $2 million below the lower end of the revised guidance range we provided last quarter.

Now turning to the balance sheet. Overall, we've been strengthening our financial flexibility by reducing debt levels and managing our working capital more efficiently. These efforts have led to improved free cash flow. At the end of the quarter, we had $7 million in cash, and we had $92 million borrowed on our revolving credit facility or $85 million in debt net of cash.

This compares to debt net of cash at March 31, 2019, of $110.8 million, a decline of $25.8 million. As of June 30th, availability under our credit facility was $56 million compared to $25 million in bank availability as of March 31st, 2019. During the quarter, our collections of accounts receivables improved and our accounts receivable balance declined by $10.7 million to $55.1 million compared to $65.8 million at the end of the third quarter and down $3.4 million from the prior year of $58.5 million. Our inventory levels also declined during the quarter by $12.5 million to $87.9 million compared to $100.4 million at the end of the third quarter, and down $16.5 million from the prior year of $104.4 million.

Accounts payable increased during the quarter by $10 million to $72.8 million compared to $62.8 million at the end of the third quarter, and up $16.2 million from the prior year of $56.6 million. During fiscal '19, we were able to negotiate extended vendor terms, which supported the higher payable balance at the end of the quarter. Turning to capital expenditures. Capital expenditures and cash for the fourth quarter were $4.4 million, with $4.1 million related to maintenance capital.

Total capital expenditures for the year were $34.8 million, in line with our expectations. Depreciation and amortization expense was $7.8 million in the fourth quarter versus $7.7 million in the same period of the prior year. Looking out to fiscal '20. We expect maintenance capital to range between $17 million to $20 million, a decrease over fiscal '19 maintenance capital of $21 million.

The reduction in fiscal '20 maintenance capital over fiscal '19 is due to lower planned spending on new coffee brewing equipment and an increase in our use of refurbished coffee brewing equipment, which has a lower cost per unit. We expect depreciation expense in fiscal '20 to range between $7.7 million to $7.9 million for the next several quarters. We expect minimal cash and accrued tax expense in fiscal '20. We expect our debt net of cash to decline during the first quarter from $85 million at the end of the year to $78 million to $82 million by September 30th, 2019.

We remain focused on the five operating priorities Chris outlined earlier on the call, and the entire organization is committed to returning Farmer Brothers to growth and profitability. And with that, I'd like to open the call up for questions. Operator?

Questions & Answers:


[Operator instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Gerry Sweeney with ROTH Capital. Your line is now open.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

Good afternoon Chris and David. Thanks for taking my call.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Gerry.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

A lot presented in the -- in your opening remarks here. So a couple of things that jumped out at me that I wanted to highlight and get a little bit more detail. And one of them was on the direct ship business. It sounds like you're going to shift a little bit of focus to mid-tier and hybrid potential customers because of maybe some pricing in the markets.

I mean is this a little bit of concern that you're not well-positioned to go after some of these larger direct ship customers? Or is the market changing substantially? This is the first we've really heard about this and just want to get a little bit more detail because it's an important component.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

I think possibly the answer is both. But what is happening is the large national accounts, there's a lot of competition for the business. They usually have three or four suppliers, and we're in a time where our yields are spiraling down in an unfavorable direction. So that's occurring.

And you begin to lose your ability to supply it and make a reasonable amount of money. That being said, the other piece that we're realizing is we have lots of opportunity to add value to sort of the mid-tier and hybrid accounts that actually uses our expertise. And it gives us a chance to impact their business favorably and make a fair margin. So that's sort of our take on the industry right now.

We continue to look at national accounts, and we evaluate it when they come up for bid. And we'll make our determinations when that happens.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

You know, and does Houston play a part into this? I'm assuming Houston is going away, and this three-year leaseback is your time to fully transfer production, get SKUs qualified at the other facilities. So is it correct to think that this facility is no longer going to be part of the portfolio at some point in the future?

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

We haven't made that decision yet, but I do think it is our most expensive plant due to its age and its production cost.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

I would say, Gerry, what we are finding, the plant is not necessarily connected to our strategy. If you look at the profitability we're making on these mid-tier customers as they're coming out for bid, it just is a lot more opportunistic for us to seek those out. And we're seeing the opposite happening on the larger accounts that we're taking out for bid. So we're shifting toward more of the hybrid and the middle-sized account where the opportunities are very good, and that's where we have a good competitive advantage on the things that we offer that they want.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

No, I mean the second part of that would be, right, so Houston, I mean, actually, it's a decent-sized plant. And you have Northlake, which is we'll say state-of-the-art or at least new and much more efficient. What's the calculus of not shutting Houston down and just moving that all to Northlake and better positioning your current assets?

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

You know, we're not commenting on -- much more on Houston than we've said. But we'll be doing a lot of analysis over the next three-or-so months to determine exactly what to do with our capacities.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

Understood. I know you're limited, but I appreciate that. And then one more question, and I don't want to -- then I'll jump back in queue. And if there's none, get some more in.

But attrition at DSD clients, you know this has been ongoing. Any of the new initiatives showing any signs of rectifying some of this attrition?

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

We're -- You know this is a long haul. I've been doing this about 130 days, and I think we are much better organized and we have a much improved team along with better systems and processes to begin to move the needle. And that's what we're seeing. We're seeing a slight turn but not enough to sit down and say we've turned the corner.

This is going to take some time.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

You know, high-level question, very qualitative. But I mean at some point, with some of these new DSD clients, especially the small ones, was the transfer maybe some of them to drop ship, less visits by -- or drop-offs of coffee, I mean was there just a disconnect in potential customer service? Or getting to know that driver who was delivering some of it, did that play into it potentially?

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

I think one of the things you're saying is the driver, the person who delivers the product, really important to the customer relationship, and that is true. So as turnover occurs, it takes a while to train drivers and for them to understand the customer dynamics and what their needs are. So that's part of it. Also, there's a part of it of smaller accounts.

Actually, we're achieving some success with our roastery direct services, which put that into a different form of distribution, which some customers, especially small operators, like because they receive the coffee in a different fashion than delivery. So some of that is occurring, and we're happy with that. In addition, we have customer profitability from the BI tool by customer, and it allows us to investigate what makes that customer unprofitable and fix it. And sometimes, we find they're buying coffee at -- outside our system and using our service and equipment.

In some cases, we recover that account and make it more profitable. In others, we take our equipment back. So there's lots of moving pieces, but we're achieving the discipline, I think, that's necessary to make this -- make DSD very successful.

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

Got it. I appreciate it, Chris and David. I'll jump back in line. Thank you.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer



[Operator instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Kara Anderson with B. Riley FBR. Your line is now open.

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Kara.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Good afternoon.

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

I just wanted to kind of follow-up on the customer attrition issue. Can you speak at all to where you think those customers might be going? Are they going to your competitors? Are they going to club stores? Just curious as to where that business is being lost.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think the first thing is -- and I think the -- we have a lot of people who've come from other DSD networks and -- that service similar customers. And they expect a churn of about 30% a year between going out of business, new business bankruptcies, just sort of -- just a normal situation that you would find in businesses. Beyond that, I think what we have experienced is that we kind of lost our way in terms of customer service as we made some changes in DSD, and that prompted customers to move elsewhere. And that, we're in the process of changing.

But also people are moving to, we suspect, Internet businesses and getting their product in a different form. But we think we can interrupt that with our roastery direct, and we are. And we think the BI tool is giving us much more ability to go back and have conversations with customers about the benefit of having quality service, having coffee brewing equipment that is serviced on a regular basis that is provided to them as long as they purchase acceptable minimums of product. So I think we're working at having the churn be exceeded by achieving new customers, and basically building our business within the customers we have.

Because a lot of our customers don't buy the full line of product, and customer profitability brings that right to the front and enables us to act on that. So we have lots of things going on that, I think, are going to make the attrition be additions.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

And, Kara, to add to that, I mean, we did note at our call that our fill rates were not where we wanted them to be. And so although it's an existing customer and they buy from us, when we're unable to fully deliver their order, of course, they're going to buy from someone else, and they should. So that's on us, and that's why we called out we're addressing that and some of the things we're doing with respect to Houston so we can raise our fill rates up higher, as well as, some SKU optimization we're going through to make it easier to make our fill rates. So it's just not customer churn, it's also existing customers that bought less in the quarter.

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

And kind of on that point, I was going to ask about sort of the fill rates. So you know what I'm hearing is that it was primarily a DSD thing. Or were you unable to fill inventory for some of your larger customers?

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

No. I think it's principally DSD that was impacted by that.

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

OK. And then you've also called out an unfavorable mix of customers, I think, last quarter, this quarter again. Can you kind of, I guess, expand on that and give a little bit more color?

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Well, the first call-out is our DS -- our direct ship business grew at a faster rate than our DSD business so that will drive an unfavorable mix by itself. And I think that's the principal driver impacting our margins.

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Got it. And then I wanted to clarify, I guess, on the directional outlook for fiscal 2020. I think you said you're expecting adjusted EBITDA to be down somewhat from 2019. But it sounds like you are also expecting a flat direct ship and maybe some improvement in DSD in Q3, if I heard correctly, and as well as, I think $7 million in sort of cost savings from head count reductions.

I guess can you reconcile all that for me? It just doesn't quite, I guess, add up to sort of what you would expect or what you're expecting to be a down adjusted EBITDA outlook.

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Sure. A couple of things. One, the run rate of our DSD business has been declining.

So in the near term, we expect that trend to hold. As Chris mentioned, some of our direct ship business, not all of it, is facing more competitive pricing. So that will impact us. And then last year, we did not fund our incentive plan, and so that will cost us somewhat more.

And then the offset going the other way is we did announce some cost savings, principally at headquarters that will drive savings that you alluded to. So if you net all those out in total, you get to about very close to where we were last year, slightly down.


I'm showing no further questions in queue. At this time, I would like to turn the call back to Mr. Mottern for closing remarks.

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

Thank you very much, and again, we really appreciate all of you on the call. We have a dedicated employee team working to turn this business around. And so we appreciate, appreciate you listening, and we believe we have an opportunity to be a market leader. Thank you for joining us today and for your continued support and interest in Farmer Brothers.


[Operator signoff]

Duration: 45 minutes

Call participants:

Rachel Goldman -- Investor Relations

Chris Mottern -- Interim Chief Executive Officer

David Robson -- Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Gerry Sweeney -- ROTH Capital Partners -- Analyst

Kara Anderson -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

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