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USANA Health Sciences Inc (USNA) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers – Apr 28, 2021 at 2:30PM

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USNA earnings call for the period ending April 3, 2021.

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USANA Health Sciences Inc (USNA 0.12%)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
Apr 28, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day and welcome to the USANA Health Sciences First Quarter Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded.

At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Mr. Patrique Richards, Executive Director of Investor Relations and Business Development. Mr. Richards, please go ahead.

Patrique Richards -- Executive Director, Investor Relations and Business Development

Thank you. Good morning. We appreciate you joining us this morning to review our first quarter results. Today's conference call is being broadcast live via webcast and can be accessed directly from our website at ir.usana.com. Shortly following the call, a replay will be available on our website.

As a reminder, during the course of this conference call, management will make forward-looking statements regarding future events or the future financial performance of our company. Those statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ, perhaps materially from the results projected in such forward-looking statements. Examples of these statements include those regarding our strategies and outlook for fiscal year 2021, as well as uncertainty related to the magnitude, scope and duration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to our business operations and financial results. We caution you that these statements should be considered in conjunction with disclosures, including specific risk factors and financial data contained in our most recent filings with the SEC.

I'm joined this morning by our CEO and Chairman of the Board, Kevin Guest; our President, Jim Brown; our Chief Financial Officer, Doug Hekking, as well as other executives.

Yesterday after the market closed, we announced our first quarter results and posted our management commentary results and outlook document on the company's website. We'll now hear brief remarks from Kevin before opening the call for questions.

Kevin G. Guest -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

Thank you, Pat, and good morning everyone. We appreciate you joining us to review our first quarter results. This was another excellent quarter and a great start to an exciting year for USANA. We generated double-digit sales growth in each of our regions and total customers increased both year-over-year and sequentially. This is better than expected performance and was driven by the successful execution of our first quarter initiatives and continued strong demand for our high-quality nutritional products. Accordingly, we've raised our full year net sales and diluted EPS outlook.

In addition to our financial performance, we accomplished several other key initiatives. In late March, we launched our new much appreciated and anticipated Active Nutrition product line and the initial reactions from our customers has been very encouraging. This product line promotes a holistic approach to healthy weight management, as well as digestive health, energy and hydration. While the initial launch of the line was limited to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, we plan to roll the line out to additional markets as the year progresses.

Additionally, we continue to execute our digital experience strategy, which entails further enhancing the overall shopping experience for our customers with a particular emphasis on the China market. These enhancements allow consumers to easily interact with USANA, while sharing their experiences with others.

Finally, I'll comment on briefly -- comment briefly on our updated guidance. As we noted yesterday -- in yesterday's release, we raised both net sales and diluted EPS guidance. While we don't provide quarterly guidance, we noted that we have planned for and are offering a worldwide short-term sales program during the second quarter. This program is designed to further reward associates for sales to new customers for a limited period of time and is being offered in each of our markets. We offered a similar short-term sales program during the third quarter of 2020 which was very successful. We anticipate a reasonably similar response in the second quarter this year.

Accordingly, we expect our net sales in the second quarter to be the highest net sales quarter of the year as we oil up our strategy. In closing, we believe that we are positioned for continued growth and are confident in our overall strategies, both long-term and for 2021.

With that, I will now ask the operator to please open the lines for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We'll take our first question from Doug Lane of Lane Research.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Yeah, hi. Good morning everybody. Kevin, you mentioned the Active Nutrition launch in the markets that you introduced to recently, but what more specifically do you see for the timing into the Asian markets, particularly China? I mean, third quarter, fourth quarter or later in the second quarter? Just a little bit more granularity on that.

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Doug, this is Doug. So China, just because of the regulatory timeframe for products is probably going to not be this year. I mean, they're obviously doing some products in line with the kind of the overall product category here, but having kind of the full rollout of some of the other stuff, I don't think we'll expect in the current fiscal year.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Korea, Philippines those kinds of markets?

Kevin G. Guest -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

Yeah, maybe, Jim, if you maybe just touch on the rollout schedule.

Jim Brown -- President

Yeah, we have pretty much six more markets in Asia Pacific-focused happening in the third and fourth quarters of this year. And like we've talked about before with Active Nutrition, it actually started the last day of the -- in March, so we really didn't have an impact in the first quarter. We'll see more of an impact in the second quarter as you know the sales start growing for the first markets that were launched. But again, we'll see more of the impact in '22, because again the rollout will happen in the third and fourth quarter for the remaining markets.

Kevin G. Guest -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

And, Doug, this is Kevin. Part of the Active Nutrition line is our meal replacement drink which is Nutrimeal and we're expecting -- back to China, it won't be Active Nutrition line, but a piece of that line is Nutrimeal and we're thinking Q3 or Q4 in China.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Got it.

Jim Brown -- President

And maybe a follow-up -- maybe a follow-up real quick on Active Nutrition. I think just from an alignment of kind of the strategy we've been rolling out, the investment in the plant, the investment in Built Brands, I think we're quite excited internally about what this could do and I think initial response, it's obviously during the launch period, but I think we're pretty excited about what we're seeing.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Well, I mean, you're four weeks into it, so you should have some initial read, I would imagine. So that's good to hear. Can you talk about -- I get the near-term promotion driving a bump in sales in the second quarter, but then the way the numbers work at least from my math is that we see a pretty sharp deceleration in growth in the third and fourth quarter. And is that just because of the comparisons or what is going on under the surface, particularly when you've got this new product being rolled out that should help cover some of that tough comparisons of last year?

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I think your observation is accurate, but the comps, if you look at the third quarter of last year, we ran the same promotion that we're talking about in the second quarter of this year and the third quarter of last year. And in the fourth quarter of last year, we had that extra fiscal week. So, yeah, you're right, there are a few events therein doing the other stuff. But I think we're pleased with how we're executing and the results in the first quarter for us were beyond our expectations, modestly.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Yes, yes. And then just lastly, the organic growth in mainland China of 8.1%. Probably the best quarter in at least a couple of years here. So is that -- again just trying to get a feel for sustainability of the accelerated growth in mainland China, was there a one-off event promotion, something going on there or can we expect to see some sustainability of this kind of growth rate?

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, and I think you have to be mindful like what we talked about, we're running in the second quarter. I mean that's in all the markets. So we would obviously expect to go back and see China benefit from that as well. We often offer promotional packs right around Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year and China had similar type packs last year, but they just sold a little bit better this year and that was definitely additive. We talk to our management team in China and the executives with responsibility for that and I think what we're hearing is positivity. And we just got to go back and keep driving on that customer count growth number, and then that really takes care of itself going forward.

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Okay, fair enough. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Thank you. And we will take our next question from Sebastian Barbero of Jefferies.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi, team. Thanks for taking the question. Refreshment issue in China, it is encouraging to see the growth accelerating in Q1, but wondering if you could give a little bit more color on the recent trends in the Chinese consumer health market, any changes in consumer behavior, as well as your ability to hold meetings and also what percent of total sales are now going through the WeChat platform.

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So we're going to -- so Brent Neidig, who has responsibility for the China market is sitting with us. We're going to let him chime in and comment on that.

Brent Neidig -- Chief Officer and Managing Director, China

Yeah, the -- I would say that the market is returning to somewhat normal condition. The impacts from the Coronavirus last year really helped slow down growth and I think things are somewhat returning to normal this year. So it's returning to a somewhat normal state.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

And you have an ability to be holding meetings today? And if so, what's the size of them?

Brent Neidig -- Chief Officer and Managing Director, China

Yeah. Meetings have returned, they're not at the same degree as we were holding in years past. So it is going on an upward trend there. And you also referenced the WeChat enrollments. That -- we experienced about 10% of our weekly enrollments come through that WeChat platform.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it, OK. And in terms -- and the Q4 '20 results, I think you guided for China growth of 6% to 12% for the year. Now Q1 was 13%. So, a bit of an over delivery there, do you have any changes to your full-year guide in terms of flexibility with China growth?

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

No, we don't. I think we're still right in that range, Sebastian, relative to our numbers and I think there's ebbs and flows in different periods and like we said a few of these short-term promotional things surrounding the Chinese New Year outperformed what we expected and maybe that same level isn't present every quarter. We do expect kind of, as indicated, kind of good growth in China this year and expect to see some good progress.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you. And then, though it's still early, there's starting to be evidence that your digital investments are shifting the premise of the model more toward higher base of preferred customer, which has been a goal of yours over the past couple of years. Curious to learn more about the feedback you've been getting from associates on the new digital tools and training you're providing, and also how you're expecting personalization to improve customer experience.

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I mean, obviously we've -- over the last several years, we have really increased our focus on the preferred customers. Again, you can go back and definitively see that with accounts in the preferred customers. Our general belief is the more and more we market directly to consumer, the easier the job is by the associate and the easier it is to build a business. But you're right, training programs and information and just better and more refined communication is something that's well under way. We have a host of teams that are working on on-boarding and customer-listening and we're able to go back and be pretty responsive to kind of short-term feedback that we're seeing.

We're also actively looking at retargeting associates and customers with certain behaviors that have purchased from us in the past and seeing some success there and we're fairly early in the game, but there's something that we see some opportunity for, going forward.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

And last one from me is, you bought back $70 million of shares in Q1 out of $81 million remaining on existing plan. Can you help us think through your capital allocation priorities for the remainder of the year?

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I mean, Sebastian you're right. I mean, you could go back and see with the cash level we were down a little bit from where we've been running. We still see some opportunity, obviously, with what we're seeing in the price today, which relative to how we viewed our performance is a little bit of a disconnect, but I think you'd see similar stuff. We've obviously -- you can go back, and I think even in looking at different models out there, our spend level is expected to be up this year from a lot of strategic initiatives. And we laid out those things in MCRO that we kind of provided in our first release for the year with the annual guidance. But I think you're going to see a pretty similar pattern.

And I think we'll be opportunistic relative to the environment that we see out there. And as we've mentioned to you in the past, we've been evaluating a variety of business development and maybe one of those things come to fruition, too. So we'll keep kind of pushing down that path. The primary focus is growing our existing business and then everything else kind of falls into a priority rank after that.

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you, this concludes today's question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn it back over to Patrique Richards.

Patrique Richards -- Executive Director, Investor Relations and Business Development

Thank you for your questions and for your participation on today's conference call. If you have any remaining questions, please feel free to contact Investor Investor Relations at 801-954-7961.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 15 minutes

Call participants:

Patrique Richards -- Executive Director, Investor Relations and Business Development

Kevin G. Guest -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

Doug Hekking -- Chief Financial Officer

Jim Brown -- President

Brent Neidig -- Chief Officer and Managing Director, China

Douglas Lane -- Lane Research -- Analyst

Sebastian Barbero -- Jefferies -- Analyst

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