Tractor Supply stock continued to benefit from the organization's Oct. 25 release of third-quarter 2017 earnings. The company reported revenue of $1.72 billion, an improvement of 11.6% over the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales jumped 6.6%, and net income rose roughly 3% to $91.9 million. The company attributed the results primarily to sharp inventory management, as it capitalized on a prolonged spring/summer selling season created by higher moisture levels and moderate temperatures.
Investments in technology and digital selling also bolstered results. Tractor Supply enjoyed a 20% increase in unique online visits and noted that it continues to derive two-thirds of company site traffic from mobile devices. The company is enhancing its customer service-centered business model with new digital initiatives to lift sales further. For example, CEO Greg Sandfort discussed the company's "Mobile POS" and "Stockyard" pilot applications during management's October earnings conference call. Mobile POS helps store associates locate inventory items more quickly and enables them to complete sales on mobile devices while assisting customers. Stockyard opens up the organization's vendor inventory to associates, again on mobile devices, facilitating customer sales within a larger universe of products.
In light of its vigorous third-quarter showing, Tractor Supply raised full-year estimates for revenue, comparable sales, and earnings per share (EPS), which my colleague Demitrios Kalogeropoulos provides more specific detail on in his recent earnings recap.
Tractor Supply shares are slowly but surely ascending from an extended downturn that began in July 2016:
While the company has some cyclical exposure to the farming industry through farm implement sales, it's well diversified and appears poised to benefit from a rising consumer do-it-yourself trend. Tractor Supply also enjoys growing apparel, tool, pet, and household goods sales to its niche rural customer base.
At present, shares look attractive, trading at an Enterprise Value to EBITDA multiple of just over 10.4, a discount to its larger but more generalized competitor Home Depot, which currently trades at an EV to EBITDA multiple of 14.2. "TSCO" stock has indeed experienced volatility over the past couple of years, but it may yield a fairly decent return to investors willing to be patient with this worthy portfolio choice.