After struggling with falling margins in 2019, The Buckle Inc. rebounded into profitability with rising same-store sales and solid earnings in its Q4 and fiscal 2019 earnings report. The denim-centric retailer reported lower markdown inventory in the 2019 fiscal year, helping to improve the margins that weighed it down in the previous year.
Thomas Heacock, The Buckle’s Senior Vice-President of Finance, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer commented that the inventory was down approximately 1.5 percent on a same-store basis. The CEO Dennis Nelson, addressing The Buckle’s reaction to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said the company was expecting shipping delays from China. “Presently, we are seeing, maybe, one to four weeks’ delay depending on the product from China both the men’s and the ladies, probably predominantly in the denim categories,” Nelson said in quarterly conference call. “And in the gals’ tops, we are seeing similar delays as well.”
Factory partners, he added, have helped the company steer through the “tariff situation,” and now he is confident vendors are doing everything they can to “temper the impact of the coronavirus.”
The net revenue in the fourth quarter reached $271 million, a 2.5 percent increase over the comparable period and in line with Wall Street estimates of $271.08 million. Comparable store sales ticked up 3.3 percent in the quarter and online sales rose 7.5 percent to $36.4 million.
The Buckle successfully focused on exclusivity through private-label and outside brand partners in its women’s wear, according to Kelli Molczyk, Buckle’s Vice President of Women’s Merchandising. “Sweaters once again drove the largest gains in our tops assortment, while our knit selection remains strong with continued guest preferences around moderate price points, simply stated fashion, super-soft fabrics, and easy to wear, easy-to-pair silhouettes,” Molczyk said.