What happened

Shares of Ollie's Bargain Outlet (OLLI 2.28%) were trading 5.8% lower as of 1:05 p.m. EDT Friday as investors responded to the second-quarter miss it reported after the market close Thursday.

Analysts had forecast that the discount retailer would earn $0.55 per share for the quarter on sales of $435.8 million, but Ollie's missed on both the top and bottom lines, earning just $0.52 per share on revenue of $415.9 million.  

Red stock arrow climbing down five sequentially smaller stacks of money

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

CEO John Swygert insisted he was "very pleased" with the company's performance because its "two-year stack basis" for comparable-store sales growth was 15.3% -- in other words, same-store sales were 15.3% higher in Q2 2021 than they were in Q2 2019, before the pandemic hit. (A lot of retail companies have been making this kind of clarification in their quarterly reports lately, given what an "asterisk" kind of year 2020 was, in an attempt to show whether their businesses are performing better or worse than they were before COVID-19 upset everyone's apple carts.)

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Ollie's total net sales declined by 21% in comparison to last year's Q2 as same-store sales fell by 28%. Earnings per share declined year over year as well, from $1.50 to $0.52.

Now what

Will things get better or worse in the second half? Excellent question. Next question please -- because instead of offering investors guidance about what to expect for the remainder of 2021, Ollie's management begged off.

"The Company continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the broader economy and, more specifically, its associates, customers, business partners and supply chain," said Ollie's. And "given the uncertainties regarding the pace of economic recovery, consumer behavior and consumer demand amid the ongoing pandemic, the Company is continuing its practice of not providing guidance for fiscal 2021."

That being said, in light of what just happened in Q2, and in light of management's warning that it continues to face "temporary supply chain challenges," chances are that when the financial numbers arrive for Q3 and Q4, they won't be good.