As for the earnings, the company doesn't give investors a lot to go on in its press releases. You basically have to wait for the company's 10-Q or 10-K filing, but the amount of data provided in its filings is worth it. As for what's in the press release, sales were up 7.5%, earnings per diluted share were up 58%, and the company still maintains a very strong cash position, which it puts to work. A little math on net income versus earnings per share over the past two years reveals that the company has been buying back its shares as well.
Buckle is different from Abercrombie & Fitch
What really separates Buckle from its peers at the moment is its valuation. Based on last year's free cash flow and leaving operating leases aside, the company trades at an enterprise value-to-free cash flow of about 11. Adding operating leases back in will bring this closer to the company's P/E of 18, but you can say this for just about all of the retailers, and their P/Es are higher.
A potential problem for Buckle in the near term is its large proportion of denim sales, which were most recently reported at 42% of sales. This is a material change from 2002, when denim made up only 32% of sales. Denim, of course, will not go away, but the companies that are most reliant on the trend are most likely to feel the most pain.
Still, a fall-off in denim sales should be a short-term setback for Buckle. This is still a company with a high level of inside ownership, management that has successfully grown the business for years, a very strong balance sheet, and something I always like to see: a commitment to paying a dividend. With all of the above going for it, Buckle is an interesting company that will remain firmly planted on my watch list for now.
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Nathan Parmelee owns shares in American Eagle Outfitters and has a beneficial interest in shares of Gap but has no interest in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.