Ll Flooring Holdings Inc (LL) This fall 2022 Earnings Name Transcript


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Ll Flooring Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) This fall 2022 Earnings Name dated Mar. 01, 2023.

Company Individuals:

Julie MacMedan — Vice President of Investor Relations

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer


Laura Champine — Loop Capital — Analyst



Girls and gents, welcome to the LL Flooring Fourth Quarter 2022 Outcomes Name. My identify is Glen, I would be the moderator for right now’s name. [Operator Instructions] I’ll now hand you over to your host, Julie MacMedan, VP, Investor Relations, to start. Julie, please go forward.

Julie MacMedan — Vice President of Investor Relations

Thanks, operator. Good morning, everybody, and thanks for becoming a member of us. Right this moment, I’m joined by Charles Tyson, our President and Chief Govt Officer. As we start, let me reference the protected harbor provisions of the U.S. securities legal guidelines for forward-looking statements. This convention name could comprise forward-looking statements which might be topic to important dangers and uncertainties, together with the long run working and monetary efficiency of LL Flooring.

Though LL Flooring believes that the expectations mirrored in its forward-looking statements are cheap, it may give no assurance that such expectations or any of its forward-looking statements will show to be right. Essential danger elements that might trigger precise outcomes to vary materially from these mirrored within the forward-looking statements are included in LL Flooring filings with the SEC. Throughout right now’s convention name, administration will likely be discussing outcomes on an adjusted foundation.

A reconciliation of non-GAAP monetary measures to probably the most straight comparable GAAP monetary measures and our rationalization of why the non-GAAP measures could also be helpful are mentioned in right now’s earnings launch. The data contained on this name is correct solely as of the date mentioned. Traders mustn’t assume that the statements will stay operative after right now, and LL Flooring undertakes no obligation to replace any data mentioned on this name. Now I’m happy to introduce President and CEO, Charles Tyson. Charles?

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer

Thanks, Julie. Good morning, everybody. 2022 was a difficult 12 months for LL Flooring. On the outset of 2022, we anticipate that the elevated investments we made and our strategic development pillars to start to drive increased gross sales beginning within the second half of the 12 months. We didn’t ship on that objective as continued weak spot in gross sales to customers greater than offset the double-digit development in gross sales to Professional clients that we achieved. We’re not happy with our outcomes. We consider that the unsure macro surroundings has partially contributed to weak spot in our gross sales to customers and continues to be a near-term headwind.

As well as, we’ve got recognized two major alternatives to enhance our gross sales efficiency: one, additional broadening and rising our model consciousness amongst customers to drive site visitors, and two, making certain a constant buyer expertise throughout our omnichannel community to enhance conversion. We are going to talk about how we’re planning to handle each of those in a second. Furthermore, we all know that our value construction is just not aligned to our present run price of gross sales.

Whereas we’ve got made progress on our strategic initiatives, we’ve got extra work to do to get LL Flooring to the extent of profitability that we’re assured we’re able to attaining. On right now’s name, I’ll assessment our fourth quarter and 2022 monetary outcomes and tackle how we plan to enhance gross sales productiveness and profitability. As well as, I’ll reaffirm the inexperienced shoots in our key operational methods that give us confidence in attaining long-term sustainable development. Now turning to a assessment of our fourth quarter outcomes. Whole comparable retailer gross sales had been down 9.5%, and internet gross sales had been down 7.5% as decrease spending by customers versus final 12 months greater than offset development in gross sales to Execs.

Common ticket elevated 8.2% and common retail worth per merchandise models bought elevated 9.6% in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2021. The upper common retail worth was pushed by pricing and promotion methods to offset increased prices. Nevertheless, we noticed a 17.7% lower in transactions in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2021 due primarily to weak spot in gross sales to DIY clients. Adjusted gross margin was 35.7% which declined 170 foundation factors from final 12 months.

I wish to acknowledge the continued good work of our service provider and provide chain groups as we’re capable of largely offset greater than 800 foundation factors of headwinds from increased materials and transportation prices for our pricing, promotion and sourcing methods. Adjusted SG&A as a % of internet gross sales was 38.8% up 510 foundation factors from final 12 months due primarily to expense deleverage from decrease gross sales volumes. As well as, working bills had been increased because of the deliberate investments in our development methods, together with prices related to opening 18 new shops, increased advertising spend to construct model consciousness, increased staffing to assist our energy in Professional gross sales, and aggressive wage will increase for customer-facing associates.

Throughout January of 2023, we applied a number of value financial savings measures, together with lowering headcount and slowing new hires throughout the group. With the associated severance bills mirrored in our fourth quarter SG&A. We proceed to look to enhance working efficiencies and are actively working to rightsize our value construction and decrease our fastened prices. Through the fourth quarter, we reported a noncash goodwill impairment cost of $9.7 million which resulted from a decline within the firm’s market capitalization, will increase within the weighted common value of capital as utilized to our future money stream fashions and comparable firm market multiples.

Excluding that cost, on an adjusted foundation, we reported an working lack of $8.2 million in comparison with adjusted working earnings of $10.8 million final 12 months. We reported an earnings tax advantage of $3.2 million or an efficient price of 17.7%, which in comparison with an earnings tax expense of $0.5 million final 12 months, or an efficient price of 4.4%. The efficient earnings tax price is inclusive of each federal and state taxes and was impacted by nondeductible and return to provision changes in 2022, and a profit from state internet working loss changes in 2021. Fourth quarter adjusted internet loss was $0.29 per share versus adjusted earnings per share of $0.35 final 12 months.

Now I’ll briefly recap the total 12 months 2022 outcomes. Internet gross sales of $1.1 billion decreased 3.6% and comparable retailer gross sales decreased 5.8% in comparison with final 12 months, with decrease gross sales to customers greater than offsetting double-digit development in gross sales to Execs. We reported adjusted gross margins of 36.2%, which was down 140 foundation factors from final 12 months. We had been capable of largely offset greater than 1,000 foundation factors of headwind from increased materials and transportation prices by our pricing, promotion, and sourcing methods.

Adjusted SG&A as a % of internet gross sales was 36.3%, up 330 foundation factors from final 12 months due primarily to investments in development methods, together with increased advertising spend and deleverage of decrease internet gross sales. Full 12 months adjusted working loss was $1.8 million in comparison with adjusted working earnings of $53.7 million. For 2022, we reported a $1.5 million earnings tax profit or an efficient price of 10.8% in comparison with earnings tax bills of $11.1 million or an efficient price of 21% in 2021.

The efficient earnings tax price is inclusive of each federal and state taxes and was impacted by nondeductible and return to provision changes in 2022 and a change in valuation loss carryforwards in 2021. Adjusted loss per diluted share of $0.17 in 2022 in comparison with adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.39 in 2021. General, we had been disenchanted in our 2022 monetary outcomes, and our total group is concentrated on enhancing internet gross sales development and profitability in 2023. Now I’ll assessment our strategic priorities to drive site visitors and elevated conversion to enhance our gross sales efficiency in 2023.

First, we are going to broaden consciousness of the LL Flooring model to extend site visitors. We’re intensifying our efforts to construct higher consciousness of the LL Flooring model in an effort to drive extra site visitors, significantly with customers. Our model surveys of each Execs and customers constantly present that the brand new LL Flooring model scores considerably increased versus lumber liquidators on the core attributes we measure, together with product high quality, assortment and retailer affiliate experience. The LL Flooring model additionally broadens our enchantment as a nationwide flooring vacation spot, providing a one-stop store for customers who’re searching for service and experience from inspiration to set up.

As such, we consider that we’re heading in the right direction with our rebranding technique. Nevertheless, our unaided model consciousness stays low, and we’re targeted on broadening model consciousness by investing in prime of funnel advertising methods that may deal with evolving our inventive method to extend relevancy, refining our media campaigns to extend effectivity and increase our attain to extend publicity. By way of inventive, we’ll be launching a brand new inventive marketing campaign this spring that may clearly articulate what the LL Flooring worth proposition affords to customers, leaning into choice experience, assortment and worth.

Relating to effectivity, we proceed to enhance the effectiveness of our digital advertising spend and technique, which goals to extend conversion whereas reducing clients acquisition prices. To that finish, we’re excited to announce the implementation of a brand new buyer relationship administration platform, or CRM. In 2023, that may each improve advertising effectiveness in addition to improved retailer and omnichannel conversion. We anticipate to start to understand the advantages from the CRM implementation starting within the second half of 2023. And eventually, attain. We’re increasing our community presence inside the discovery portfolio similar to HCV and Magnolia Community and growing spend on broader reaching information and climate channels.

Along with broadening model consciousness to extend site visitors, we’re working to drive elevated conversion by improved execution throughout our retailer community. We provide a seamless omnichannel expertise, pushed by our basis and flooring experience. Most clients begin with our digital platform, llflooring.com, after which full their journey at considered one of our 442 shops positioned throughout the nation. An essential a part of our model transformation technique contains elevating our model positioning within the market. Our associates are a key differentiator for LL Flooring.

We win when a buyer walks into an LL Flooring retailer and is straight away greeted by educated associates who can assist make shopping for flooring straightforward. In a small surroundings, our retailer groups are vital making certain the success of delivering an ideal buyer expertise. To additional enhance our gross sales efficiency, we’re targeted on enhancing conversion charges when clients request a free pattern both on-line or in our shops and enhancing shut charges on set up quotes by growing the pace at which we flip the venture quote to the client as soon as we’ve measured their area.

We proceed to put money into area management and in 2023, we’re additional strengthening product experience by growing the variety of hours per thirty days dedicated to product and gross sales coaching, and growing funding in each our regional and retailer administration coaching applications. In flip, our area management is held accountable to constant execution of our working plans and enhancing the client expertise that we’re driving by Medallia Voice of the Buyer measurement program.

We proceed to deploy expertise in our shops to enhance the client expertise and retailer affiliate productiveness. Constructing on present expertise investments, similar to our set up providers portal, and iPads in each retailer. We’re excited to leverage our new CRM platform to assist our associates extra successfully seize buyer interactions and have interaction with them. Our total retailer groups are targeted on understanding every buyer’s distinctive story and venture goals no matter which retailer or on-line associates managed the primary interplay, and the brand new CRM software program will streamline this course of.

Given our excessive prime service mannequin, it’s critically essential to rent the suitable individuals and retain them. As a way to efficiently entice and retain expertise, in a aggressive wage and hiring surroundings, we’ve strengthened the profession alternative of our associates by that includes a deal with promotion for inside in addition to certification applications that assist our associates progress extra rapidly into roles that may earn incentive bonuses and increasing our funding in additional aggressive wages to draw and retain expertise to additional improve the worker worth proposition.

We consider our retailer associates are vital to delivering on our model promise. We’re assured in our capacity to enhance efficiency and execution throughout the fleet because the investments in our associates and our area management accountability drive higher productiveness. To that finish, we’re considerably lowering our new unit openings in 2023 and shifting our focus to enhancing the productiveness of our present shops. Whereas we plan to open solely three new shops in 2023, we proceed to consider that the market alternative to develop LL Flooring places stay sturdy.

It’s essential to notice that we’ve got a robust pipeline of potential new retailer places recognized and can report our new retailer opening plans in future quarters. With respect to profitability, our value construction has outpaced our development as we’ve made important investments in our strategic pillars that we anticipate will generate a robust ROI over the long term. Within the close to time period, we’ve got a low variable value construction, which has made it difficult to additional scale back working bills in a troublesome macro surroundings. That stated, we proceed to look to enhance working efficiencies and are actively working to rightsize our value construction.

We look ahead to reporting on our progress on future calls. In abstract, as we glance forward, 2023 is about taking possession of what we will management and delivering sturdy execution on our working priorities. Now I want to take a couple of minutes to offer our ideas concerning the exterior surroundings and talk about our outlook for 2023. Within the close to time period, we proceed to navigate an unsure macroeconomic surroundings. We see buyer spending on house enchancment doubtlessly challenged by client confidence, inflation, unstable mortgage charges impacting housing affordability and continued declines in present house gross sales.

Along with macroeconomic uncertainty through the first quarter, we started experiencing customs delays regarding sure shipments of vinyl flooring originating from Vietnam. In February 2023, U.S. customs added aluminum and polyvinyl chloride to a listing of classes, together with cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon, for which customs has the power to request extra documentation from importers. We started to obtain notices requesting such extra documentation for some shipments.

We require our distributors to comply with our strict tips on accountable sourcing, we acquire periodic certifications from them regarding compliance with these requirements, and we carry out audit procedures of their provide chain documentation. Whereas we’re working with clients to offer requested extra documentation, we have no idea how lengthy their assessment of the documentation will take. Based mostly on what we all know right now, the customs delay may have a fabric impression on 2023 full 12 months working earnings because of misplaced gross sales and better stock carrying prices. We’re working to partially mitigate the disruptions from the customs delays by that includes various merchandise in our present assortment and leveraging our sourcing capabilities to have a look at various flooring classes and sourcing geographies.

By way of our gross sales outlook for 2023, whereas we strongly consider that our technique to extend model consciousness and ship a extra constant buyer expertise will acquire traction and drive retailer productiveness all year long. Our visibility is proscribed as to when the macroeconomic surroundings will normalize or when the customs delays will likely be resolved. We anticipate adjusted gross margin to enhance year-over-year with the strongest second half pushed by diminished worldwide container prices as we flip the next value stock.

We are going to proceed to observe the aggressive pricing surroundings to tell our pricing and promotion technique. As well as, we anticipate our gross margin price in 2023 to learn from a higher mixture of higher-margin merchandise that ship on buyer wants for scratch proof or waterproof flooring. With respect to SG&A, our value construction has elevated primarily pushed by investments in our strategic pillars within the face of lower-than-expected gross sales. Whereas we anticipate these investments to drive gross sales development over the long term, we understand we’ve got important work to do to rightsize our SG&A ranges.

We presently anticipate additional strain on our value construction with adjusted SG&A expense growing year-over-year because of inflationary pressures on wages and advantages, significantly as we proceed to make essential investments in our associates. As talked about earlier, we will likely be investing in our CRM platform, which we are going to anticipate will assist increased gross sales ranges and make our working construction extra environment friendly over time. We’ll replace you in future quarters on the work we’re doing to realign our SG&A.

With respect to capital allocation, we’ll proceed to assessment our capital allocation priorities. We’re happy to have rebuilt stock in 2022 and anticipate stock to be a supply of money in 2023, as we promote by increased value stock and return to extra historic buy ranges. We anticipate to take a position capex within the vary of $15 million to $20 million to assist our strategic development initiatives together with opening three new shops and investments in productiveness similar to our CRM platform implementation and for upkeep capex.

We consider we’ve got adequate liquidity to assist our operations and investments in development. Turning to our longer-term outlook, we consider the long-term outlook for restore and rework spending stays sturdy, supported by tailwinds such because the growing older housing inventory within the U.S., new family formation by millennials. We stay dedicated to ship long-term development pushed by executing on our six strategic pillars, rising gross sales to Professional, constructing model consciousness, enhancing the client expertise, innovation in new merchandise, growing our individuals and tradition, and opening new shops.

Long run, we consider the brand new LL Flooring model will supply distinctive worth proposition available in the market for patrons who need choice experience, assortment, and worth. We consider we’re efficiently gaining traction on a number of of our working methods, which supplies us confidence in attaining long-term sustainable development. Particularly, we’re very enthusiastic about our Professional technique and continued product innovation. First, we’ll proceed to lean into our technique of rising gross sales to Professional clients.

To that finish, we’ve generated constant development in gross sales to Professional clients. The fourth quarter marked the eighth consecutive quarter of development in Professional gross sales. I’d like to acknowledge our professional gross sales workforce for delivering double-digit gross sales to Execs in 2022 despite a troublesome macro surroundings. We view our professional gross sales technique as a core long-term development pillar for LL. In 2023, we anticipate continued development in our gross sales to Professional clients.

We consider we’ve got a robust aggressive benefit with Execs by our devoted relationships, our development proper in-stock merchandise and extremely aggressive on a regular basis professional pricing. Our Professional relationship program begins with every of our retailer managers, growing their Professional enterprise round each considered one of our 442 shops. And because the enterprise scales, we assign a devoted regional account rep to drive development. In 2023, we plan to proceed to construct on the success of our Professional relationship applications driving elevated retention and scale with present Execs. We additionally plan to accumulate new Execs, we’ve been excited by quite a lot of wins with nationwide clients, and we’re persevering with to put money into that space to drive the enterprise.

Lastly, our new Professional buyer acquisition technique will likely be supported by a brand new CRM platform and expanded advertising applications to additional personalize our communications with Execs. Second, product innovation. We consider we provide one of the best wooden and wood-look flooring at an ideal worth, and we proceed to drive progressive new merchandise that meet customers’ flooring wants. Our direct sourcing mannequin is a key aggressive benefit that enables us to innovate stunning flooring similar to Duravana, which is PVC-free and is sourced in Europe that helps customers on a regular basis dwelling wants at an ideal worth.

We proceed to construct on the success of Duravana by increasing the assortment below the Duravana model. Throughout 2022, we rebuilt inventories in an effort to assist our conservative technique to position stock nearer to our clients. And we additional diminished our dependency on imports from China, which continues to be tariffed at 25%. Briefly, we made good progress towards our strategic pillars of rising gross sales to Execs and innovating product in 2022.

This, mixed with our deal with execution towards all six of our key strategic pillars offers us continued confidence in our capacity to attain long-term sustainable development. As I conclude my formal remarks, I’d like to offer a short replace on our CFO search to notice that it’s nicely underway. To shut, we all know we have to do extra and we’re working to alter the trajectory of our enterprise by leaning into key parts of our methods which might be performing nicely, diligently working to extend model consciousness, and supply a extra constant buyer expertise, and enhancing profitability to rightsizing our value construction.

Importantly, the long-term fundamentals of our enterprise is robust. Now we have a novel positioning within the market, we are going to ship the high-touch service of an impartial flooring retailer, mixed with the worth, assortment, and comfort of a nationwide model. With that, I’ll open up for questions. Operator?

Questions and Solutions:


Thanks. [Operator Instructions] Now we have our first query comes from Laura Champine from Loop Capital. Laura, your line is now open.

Laura Champine — Loop Capital — Analyst

Thanks for taking my query. The primary query is slightly clarification on the gross margin outlook. I observe that you just talked about that gross margin ought to enhance year-over-year, however will that enchancment doubtless start within the first half or is that one thing we should always anticipate the second half to see?

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer

Good morning Laura, thanks for the query. As I stated on truly the final earnings name, as we see an enchancment in our value stream by on our stock, primarily pushed by the discount in worldwide transportation that margin profit will begin to stream by within the again half of the 12 months in addition to advantages we’re seeing by our sourcing methods and discount in some product prices. So most of that profit will stream by within the Q3, This fall interval.

Laura Champine — Loop Capital — Analyst

Obtained it. After which secondly, on the kind of interim workplace of the CFO that you just’re working with, my understanding is that you just’re trying to outsource IR. Will that workplace change from a three-person workplace to a two-person workplace? And what are your plans for that on an interim foundation?

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer

Sure. Now we have partnered with a 3rd celebration whereas we undergo a transition, and we are going to proceed to search for the substitute, clearly, of our CFO. And we’ve bought an ideal workforce right here again in Richmond, who’s supporting entire finance initiative to guarantee that we don’t drop the ball. And I really feel actually good concerning the workforce which might be working it every single day, each on the IR facet and on our accounting facet, treasury and tax.

Laura Champine — Loop Capital — Analyst

Obtained it, thanks.

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer

Thanks Laura.


Thanks Laura. [Operator Instructions] Now we have no additional questions on the road. I’ll now hand again to Charles Tyson to start for closing remarks.

Charles Tyson — President and Chief Govt Officer

Thanks, operator. Thanks, everybody, for becoming a member of us right now. Whereas the near-term working surroundings stays difficult, we stay targeted on executing towards our strategic priorities in 2023, and we’re enthusiastic about our long-term development alternatives we see for our enterprise. Want everybody good well being, and we look ahead to updating you on our efficiency subsequent quarter. Thanks.


[Operator Closing Remarks]


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