This article originally appeared as part of ongoing coverage in our premium Motley Fool Hidden Gems service... we hope you enjoy this complimentary peek!
The Buckle (NYSE:BKE), a retailer of casual men's and women's clothing, reported second-quarter earnings ahead of the market open on Aug. 21. Even with a small bump in revenue, mostly from growth in online sales, the company still had declining earnings year over year. In light of the strength from other casual retailers like Abercrombie and Fitch (NYSE:ANF), this quarter looks like a miss for The Buckle.
Q2 earnings highlights:
- Net revenue was up 1.4% this quarter compared to the year-ago period.
- Comparable-store sales for the quarter were down 0.5% from the year-ago period.
- Net income for the quarter dropped to $24.5 million, or $0.51 per share, down from $0.53 per share during Q2 2013.
While total sales rose during the quarter and for the first half of the company's fiscal year 2014, those sales didn't translate into profits as the company's income still declined year over year both for the quarter and the year. While the company's Q1 earnings were in line with analyst estimates, this quarter analysts were expecting at least flat-line earnings, so the decrease in EPS is a miss.
Coming into this earnings release, the company already had reported numbers showing slow growth in the summer months, and particularly lagging sales in women's clothing.
Still, Buckle did see some growth this summer. Particularly, the company's men's category saw a sales increase of 7.5% year over year in July. Growth in men's pants, denim items, and footwear particularly helped to lead these sales over the summer.
However, the women's category still contributes more than half of Buckle's total revenue, at around 57.5% of sales. Therefore, a drop in women's clothing revenue helps to show why the company struggled this quarter.
Shopping around: Is growth slow industrywide?
Is Buckle's mediocre quarter just a product of a troubled retail industry, or are there other companies that look good this summer? Other retail companies that reported in the last few weeks have also shown a slow summer. However, one of Buckle's main competitors in casual retail might still prove to be gaining ground.
Abercrombie & Fitch had $4.1 billion in annual revenue in the most recent fiscal year and has proven itself to be a solid brand. However, the company has been bleeding income in the last few years and because of that, the trailing-12-month price-to-earnings ratio for the company is over 60, implying that this year might as well be a break-even year. However analysts are expecting a turnaround as early as next year, as the company currently has a forward P/E of just over 20 according to most analysts estimates. Abercrombie & Fitch still appears to be a force to be reckoned with.
Final thoughts on Buckle
Buckle has grown to 456 retail stores in 44 states across the U.S., which is four more stores than the same time last year. While this quarter was an earnings miss, and reported EPS is lower than the same period last year, the company's earnings are not all bad. The company still reported growth in its men's line and in online sales. If the company can pick up its women's clothing sales again, it may be back on track.