What happened

Shares of Sally Beauty Holdings (SBH -0.29%) surged 20% on Thursday, following the release of the specialty retailer's fiscal fourth-quarter results.

So what

The struggling retailer's net sales stabilized at $966 million, as a 1.1% rise in consolidated same-store sales offset store closures and a negative impact from foreign exchange. The gains were fueled in part by a 27.4% jump in e-commerce sales.

Moreover, Sally Beauty Holdings' profitability improved significantly. The company's non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share -- which excludes restructuring and other non-recurring charges -- climbed 13.7% to $0.58. That was above analysts' expectations for adjusted EPS of $0.53.

"Our financial results in the fourth quarter demonstrate that our transformation plan is on track with our expectations," CEO Chris Brickman said in a press release. "We delivered solid results on both the top and bottom lines as we gained momentum on our assortment, guest experience, technology, and supply chain efforts."

People using blocks to form a line that falls, then rises

Sally Beauty Holdings is once again on the upswing. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Sally Beauty Holdings is using its substantial free cash flow production to pay down debt, strengthen its e-commerce and supply-chain infrastructure, and repurchase stock.

Better still, the company expects to generate positive sales growth in fiscal 2020. Management's full-year guidance includes:

  • Revenue growth of 1% to 2%
  • Net store openings of 30 to 50
  • Consolidated same-store sales growth of 0.5% to 1.5%
  • Adjusted operating earnings growth in the low single digits
  • Adjusted EPS growth in the low to mid-single digits
  • Free cash flow of $220 million to $240 million

"Significant transformation work remains and fiscal year 2020 will mark a change in focus as we expect to build on our fourth-quarter results, complete many of our investments, and pivot to projects designed to deliver sustainable topline growth," Brickman said.