Tilly's (TLYS -9.71%) is a little-known retailer with 243 stores across the U.S. The majority of its locations are in California, Texas, and Florida. Like many other brick-and-mortar retailers, the company was devastated at the pandemic onset when its stores had to close for in-person shopping.

This year has been a significant turnaround for Tilly's. The company is reporting record revenue and profits heading into the holiday season, and early indications show that it is poised to sustain that momentum. 

Two people shopping in a store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Tilly's is thriving upon reopening 

In Tilly's fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31, total comparable net sales, which excludes the impact of store openings and closings, increased by 27.4% compared to the same time in 2019. It's undoubtedly impressive that same-store sales are rising at Tilly's despite the pandemic still raging on. It remains to be seen how long Tilly's can maintain this level of growth, considering the company has increased revenue at a compounded annual rate of just 4.8% over the last decade.

Robust revenue growth is likely to continue throughout the holiday shopping season. Management updated investors with an early look into fourth-quarter results, stating comparable store sales as of Nov. 30 were up 19.6% compared to last year. It's important to note that the previous year's fourth quarter was the first where the company was fully reopened after pandemic-caused closures of brick-and-mortar locations.

Overall, management is guiding investors to look for revenue at $212.5 million at the midpoint in the fourth quarter. If Tilly's meets those expectations, it would be a 19.4% increase from last year's total of $178 million in revenue. A conservative estimate from management, considering early results from the quarter, already shows increases of 19.6%.

To make its holiday selling prospects look even better, Tilly's inventory per square foot is 29.4% higher compared to the same time last year. The coronavirus pandemic is causing supply chain disruptions worldwide, with many retailers reporting supply shortages. Tilly's management can be commended for securing robust inventories ahead of the crucial holiday selling season.

Tilly's stock price is on fire this year 

Moreover, Tilly's is taking advantage of inventory shortages at competitors by reducing promotions and selling merchandise at higher prices. Indeed, in Q3, Tilly's gross profit margin was 37.2%, a record for the company and more than 800 basis points higher than the same time last year. Looking back longer term, Tilly's has averaged a gross profit margin of 30.3% in the previous 10 years.  

That's all flowing to the bottom line and increasing overall profits for the retailer. Net income was $20.8 million for Tilly's in Q3, compared to $2.1 million last year. The company is certainly managing economic reopening exceptionally well and is in an excellent position to thrive during the holiday shopping season. The stock is up 91% year to date in 2021, so investors have recognized this outperformance.

Still, the stock is trading at a very reasonable price-to-free cash flow ratio of 9.245. Investors looking for a growing brick-and-mortar retailer with management handling economic reopening well can add Tilly's to their portfolios.