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Express, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

June 03, 2021

Company also provides update on strength of Q2 2021 sales performance; store sales plus demand has exceeded 2019 levels quarter to date on a comparable basis

  • First quarter net sales of $346 million increased 64% compared to 2020 and exceeded the Company's expectations
  • Company experienced an inflection point after Easter with Q2 2021 store sales plus demand to date now exceeding 2019 on a comparable basis
  • First quarter eCommerce demand increased over 40% compared to 2020, and has accelerated to over 70% in the second quarter of 2021 to date
  • First quarter operating cash flow improved $130 million versus 2020
  • Company now expects positive operating cash flow for the year beginning in Q2 and positive EBITDA in Q3 and Q4

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Fashion apparel retailer Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2021. These results, which cover the thirteen weeks ended May 1, 2021, are compared to the thirteen weeks ended May 2, 2020.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210603005316/en/

Express storefront at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Business Wire)

Express storefront at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo: Business Wire)

"First quarter results exceeded our expectations across all channels and drove a $130 million improvement in our operating cash flow," said Tim Baxter, Chief Executive Officer. "We are well positioned for the post pandemic world, we are on track to achieve our goal of $1.0 billion in eCommerce demand by 2024, and I expect that we will return to positive operating cash flow in the second quarter and positive EBITDA in the third quarter.”

"We experienced an inflection point in our business after Easter as more people were vaccinated and states began lifting restrictions," Baxter continued. "As some people resumed pre-pandemic routines and began attending occasions, we have also seen improved trends in our historically dominant occasion based and wear to work product categories, while continuing our momentum and growth in our ‘new core’ such as denim and Express Essentials. As a result, our store sales plus demand in the second quarter of 2021 to date are exceeding 2019 levels on a comparable basis."

“We have made significant progress against the EXPRESSway Forward strategy we launched early last year, our transformation is well underway, customer response to our product assortment and brand positioning has been very positive, and our performance has begun to reflect the strength of our strategy."

First Quarter 2021 Operating Results

  • Consolidated net sales increased 64% to $345.8 million from $210.3 million in the first quarter of 2020, with consolidated comparable sales up 5%.
    • Comparable retail sales, which includes both Express stores and eCommerce, increased 11% compared to the first quarter of 2020.
    • Comparable outlet store sales decreased 19% versus the first quarter of 2020.

Please note, comparable sales calculations are not consistent across all retailers. Our comparable sales exclude sales from stores that were closed for at least one full day, including during the pandemic, consistent with our historical policy.

  • Gross margin was 22.8% of net sales compared to (22.0)% in last year's first quarter. The increase was driven by the sales impact of COVID-19 and a $14.7 million non-cash impairment charge taken against certain long-lived store assets in 2020.
  • Selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $119.4 million, 34.5% of net sales, versus $99.2 million, 47.2% of net sales, in last year's first quarter. The improvement in SG&A rate is driven by leveraging the increased sales and cost reductions from the previously announced corporate restructuring.
  • Operating loss was $40.6 million compared to a loss of $145.3 million in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Income tax benefit was $0.1 million at an effective tax rate of 0.2%, compared to income tax expense of $6.0 million at an effective tax rate of (4.0)% in last year's first quarter. The Company's effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2021 was impacted primarily by the recording of a valuation allowance against the Company's deferred tax assets. Excluding this valuation allowance the effective tax rate would have been approximately 22%.
  • Net loss was $45.7 million, or a loss of $0.70 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, net loss was $35.7 million, or a loss of $0.55 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2021. The adjusted loss excludes the negative non-cash impact of the deferred tax asset valuation allowance of $10.0 million. This compares to a net loss of $154.1 million, or a loss of $2.41 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020. On an adjusted basis, net loss was $99.4 million, or a loss of $1.55 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was a loss of $23.8 million compared to a loss of $128.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Balance Sheet And Cash Flow Highlights

  • Cash and cash equivalents totaled $84.1 million versus $236.2 million at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
  • Capital expenditures totaled $3.6 million for the thirteen weeks ended May 1, 2021, compared to $4.2 million for the thirteen weeks ended May 2, 2020.
  • Inventory was $264.5 million at the end of the first quarter, down 2% compared to $268.8 million at the end of the prior year’s first quarter.
  • Short-term debt was $37.8 million and long-term debt was $190.0 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021 compared to long-term debt of $165.0 million at the end of the prior year’s first quarter. Subsequent to the end of the first quarter of 2021 we repaid approximately $61 million of our debt; $31 million on our term loan and $30 million on our revolving credit facility.
  • At the end of the first quarter of 2021, $70.8 million remained available for borrowing under the revolving credit facility and subsequent to quarter-end this amount has increased to approximately $100 million due to the repayment noted above

Full Year 2021 Outlook

At this time, the Company will only provide a high level outlook for 2021. The Company expects the following:

  • Sequential comparable sales improvement throughout the year
  • Significant gross margin improvement for the year
  • Buying & Occupancy expense dollars to decrease double digits as a percent to 2019
  • SG&A expense dollars to decrease mid-single digits as a percent to 2019
  • Net interest expense of $4 million in the second quarter and $16 million for the full year
  • Effective tax rate of approximately 16% for the second quarter and approximately 20% for the third quarter, fourth quarter and for the year, excluding the impact of any valuation allowances recorded against deferred tax assets
  • Positive EBITDA for the third quarter and the second half of the year
  • Positive operating cash flow for the year beginning in Q2 2021
  • Capital expenditures of approximately $35 million

Assumptions in the Company outlook are dependent upon the duration and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See Schedule 5 for a discussion of projected real estate activity.

Conference Call Information

A conference call to discuss first quarter 2021 results is scheduled for June 3, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. ET. Investors and analysts interested in participating in the call are invited to dial (877) 683-0508 approximately ten minutes prior to the start of the call. The conference call will also be webcast live at www.express.com/investor and remain available for 90 days. A telephone replay of this call will be available at 12:00 p.m. ET on June 3, 2021 until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 10, 2021 and can be accessed by dialing (800) 585-8367 and entering the replay pin number 3565025*. In addition, an investor presentation of first quarter 2021 results will be available at www.express.com/investor at approximately 7:00 a.m. ET on June 3, 2021.

About Express, Inc.

Express is a modern, versatile, dual gender apparel and accessories brand that helps people get dressed for every day and any occasion. Launched in 1980 with the idea that style, quality and value should all be found in one place, Express has always been a brand of the now, offering some of the most important and enduring fashion trends. Express aims to Create Confidence & Inspire Self-Expression through a design & merchandising view that brings forward The Best of Now for Real Life Versatility.

The company operates over 500 retail and factory outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as an online store. Express, Inc. is traded on the NYSE under the symbol EXPR. For more information, please visit www.express.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements are “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact and include, but are not limited to (1) guidance and expectations, including statements regarding expected operating margins, comparable sales, effective tax rates, interest income, net income, diluted earnings per share, cash tax refunds, liquidity, EBITDA, and capital expenditures, (2) statements regarding expected store openings, store closures, store conversions, and gross square footage, and (3) statements regarding the Company's strategy, plans, and initiatives, including, but not limited to, results expected from such strategy, plans, and initiatives. Forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions, which may not prove to be accurate. These statements are not guarantees and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict, and significant contingencies, many of which are beyond the Company's control. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from these forward-looking statements. Among these factors are (1) changes in consumer spending and general economic conditions; (2) the COVID-19 pandemic and its continued impact on our business operations, store traffic, employee availability, financial condition, liquidity and cash flow; (3) our ability to operate our business efficiently, manage capital expenditures and costs, and obtain financing when required; (4) our ability to identify and respond to new and changing fashion trends, customer preferences, and other related factors; (5) fluctuations in our sales, results of operations, and cash levels on a seasonal basis and due to a variety of other factors, including our product offerings relative to customer demand, the mix of merchandise we sell, promotions, and inventory levels; (6) customer traffic at malls, shopping centers, and at our stores; (7) competition from other retailers; (8) our dependence on a strong brand image; (9) our ability to adapt to changing consumer behavior and develop and maintain a relevant and reliable omni-channel experience for our customers; (10) the failure or breach of information systems upon which we rely; (11) our ability to protect customer data from fraud and theft; (12) our dependence upon third parties to manufacture all of our merchandise; (13) changes in the cost of raw materials, labor, and freight; (14) supply chain or other business disruption, including as a result of the coronavirus; (15) our dependence upon key executive management; (16) our ability to execute our growth strategy, EXPRESSway Forward, including engaging our customers and acquiring new ones, executing with precision to accelerate sales and profitability, creating great product and reinvigorating our brand; (17) our substantial lease obligations; (18) our reliance on third parties to provide us with certain key services for our business; (19) impairment charges on long-lived assets; (20) claims made against us resulting in litigation or changes in laws and regulations applicable to our business; (21) our inability to protect our trademarks or other intellectual property rights which may preclude the use of our trademarks or other intellectual property around the world; (22) restrictions imposed on us under the terms of our asset-based loan facility, including restrictions on the ability to effect share repurchases; (23) changes in tax requirements, results of tax audits, and other factors that may cause fluctuations in our effective tax rate; (24) changes in tariff rates; and (25) natural disasters, extreme weather, public health issues, including pandemics, fire, acts of terrorism or war and other events that cause business interruption. Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in Express, Inc.'s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.

Schedule 1

Express, Inc.

Consolidated Balance Sheets

(In thousands)

(Unaudited)

 

 

 

May 1, 2021

 

January 30, 2021

 

May 2, 2020

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

84,072

 

 

$

55,874

 

 

$

236,185

 

Receivables, net

 

11,213

 

 

14,556

 

 

12,897

 

Income tax receivable

 

98,554

 

 

111,342

 

 

13,228

 

Inventories

 

264,488

 

 

264,360

 

 

268,787

 

Prepaid rent

 

4,683

 

 

7,883

 

 

330

 

Other

 

19,340

 

 

20,495

 

 

22,653

 

Total current assets

 

482,350

 

 

474,510

 

 

554,080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right of Use Asset, Net

 

754,324

 

 

797,785

 

 

963,142

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property and Equipment

 

965,854

 

 

969,402

 

 

985,091

 

Less: accumulated depreciation

 

(799,389

)

 

(789,204

)

 

(754,414

)

Property and equipment, net

 

166,465

 

 

180,198

 

 

230,677

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Assets

 

3,600

 

 

5,964

 

 

51,285

 

TOTAL ASSETS

 

$

1,406,739

 

 

$

1,458,457

 

 

$

1,799,184

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short-term lease liability

 

$

206,890

 

 

$

203,441

 

 

$

225,383

 

Accounts payable

 

159,013

 

 

150,230

 

 

123,429

 

Deferred revenue

 

29,861

 

 

32,430

 

 

31,331

 

Short-term debt

 

37,772

 

 

 

 

 

Accrued expenses

 

118,906

 

 

128,952

 

 

91,797

 

Total current liabilities

 

552,442

 

 

515,053

 

 

471,940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-Term Lease Liability

 

681,010

 

 

722,949

 

 

879,983

 

Long-Term Debt

 

190,025

 

 

192,032

 

 

165,000

 

Other Long-Term Liabilities

 

18,941

 

 

18,734

 

 

28,047

 

Total Liabilities

 

1,442,418

 

 

1,448,768

 

 

1,544,970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commitments and Contingencies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Stockholders’ (Deficit)/Equity

 

(35,679

)

 

9,689

 

 

254,214

 

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

$

1,406,739

 

 

$

1,458,457

 

 

$

1,799,184

 

Schedule 2

Express, Inc.

Consolidated Statements of Income

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

(Unaudited)

 

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

May 1, 2021

 

May 2, 2020

Net Sales

 

$

345,759

 

 

$

210,275

 

Cost of Goods Sold, Buying and Occupancy Costs

 

266,955

 

 

256,482

 

GROSS PROFIT/(LOSS)

 

78,804

 

 

(46,207

)

Operating Expenses:

 

 

 

 

Selling, general, and administrative expenses

 

119,393

 

 

99,165

 

Other operating income, net

 

(33

)

 

(93

)

TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES

 

119,360

 

 

99,072

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPERATING LOSS

 

(40,556

)

 

(145,279

)

Interest Expense, Net

 

5,252

 

 

56

 

Other Expense, Net

 

 

 

2,733

 

LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAXES

 

(45,808

)

 

(148,068

)

Income Tax (Benefit)/Expense

 

(84

)

 

5,982

 

NET LOSS

 

$

(45,724

)

 

$

(154,050

)

 

 

 

 

 

EARNINGS PER SHARE:

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

(0.70

)

 

$

(2.41

)

Diluted

 

$

(0.70

)

 

$

(2.41

)

 

 

 

 

 

WEIGHTED AVERAGE SHARES OUTSTANDING:

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

65,200

 

 

64,030

 

Diluted

 

65,200

 

 

64,030

 

Schedule 3

Express, Inc.

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(In thousands)

(Unaudited)

 

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

May 1, 2021

 

May 2, 2020

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:

 

 

 

 

Net loss

 

$

(45,724

)

 

$

(154,050

)

Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash used in operating activities:

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

18,497

 

 

19,332

 

Impairment of property, equipment and lease assets

 

 

 

14,678

 

Equity method investment impairment

 

 

 

2,733

 

Share-based compensation

 

2,523

 

 

2,502

 

Deferred taxes

 

 

 

64,424

 

Landlord allowance amortization

 

(77

)

 

(104

)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

 

 

 

 

Receivables, net

 

3,343

 

 

(2,073

)

Income tax receivable

 

12,788

 

 

(10,228

)

Inventories

 

(128

)

 

(48,485

)

Accounts payable, deferred revenue, and accrued expenses

 

(3,426

)

 

2,117

 

Other assets and liabilities

 

10,624

 

 

(22,084

)

NET CASH USED IN OPERATING ACTIVITIES

 

(1,580

)

 

(131,238

)

 

 

 

 

 

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:

 

 

 

 

Capital expenditures

 

(3,562

)

 

(4,176

)

NET CASH USED IN INVESTING ACTIVITIES

 

(3,562

)

 

(4,176

)

 

 

 

 

 

CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from borrowings under the revolving credit facility

 

38,000

 

 

165,000

 

Repayment of borrowings under the revolving credit facility

 

(39,050

)

 

 

Proceeds from borrowings under the term loan facility

 

50,000

 

 

 

Repayment of borrowings under the term loan facility

 

(12,404

)

 

 

Repayments of financing arrangements

 

(576

)

 

 

Costs incurred in connection with debt arrangements

 

(463

)

 

 

Repurchase of common stock for tax withholding obligations

 

(2,167

)

 

(540

)

NET CASH PROVIDED BY FINANCING ACTIVITIES

 

33,340

 

 

164,460

 

 

 

 

 

 

NET INCREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS

 

28,198

 

 

29,046

 

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, BEGINNING OF PERIOD

 

55,874

 

 

207,139

 

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, END OF PERIOD

 

$

84,072

 

 

$

236,185

 

Schedule 4

Express, Inc.
Supplemental Information - Consolidated Statements of Income
Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Measures
(Unaudited)

The Company supplements the reporting of its financial information determined under United States generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) with certain non-GAAP financial measures: adjusted net loss, adjusted operating loss, adjusted diluted earnings per share, and EBITDA.

How These Measures Are Useful

The Company believes that these non-GAAP measures provide additional useful information to assist stockholders in understanding its financial results and assessing its prospects for future performance. Management believes adjusted net loss, adjusted operating loss, adjusted diluted earnings per share, and EBITDA are important indicators of the Company's business performance because they exclude items that may not be indicative of, or are unrelated to, the Company's underlying operating results, and may provide a better baseline for analyzing trends in the business. In addition, adjusted diluted earnings per share and EBITDA are used as a performance measures in the Company's long-term executive compensation program for purposes of determining the number of equity awards that are ultimately earned and EBITDA is also a metric used in our short-term cash incentive compensation plan.

Limitations of the Usefulness of These Measures

Because non-GAAP financial measures are not standardized, it may not be possible to compare these financial measures with other companies' non-GAAP financial measures having the same or similar names. These adjusted financial measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for reported net loss, operating loss, or diluted earnings per share. These non-GAAP financial measures reflect an additional way of viewing the Company's operations that, when viewed with the GAAP results and the below reconciliations to the corresponding GAAP financial measures, provide a more complete understanding of the Company's business. Management strongly encourages investors and stockholders to review the Company's financial statements and publicly-filed reports in their entirety and not to rely on any single financial measure.

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended May 1, 2021

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

Operating
Loss

 

Income Tax
Impact

 

Net Loss

 

Diluted
Earnings
per Share

 

Weighted
Average Diluted
Shares
Outstanding

Reported GAAP Measure

 

$

(40,556

)

 

 

 

$

(45,724

)

 

$

(0.70

)

 

65,200

 

Valuation allowance on deferred taxes (a)

 

 

 

9,977

 

 

9,977

 

 

0.15

 

 

 

Adjusted Non-GAAP Measure

 

$

(40,556

)

 

 

 

$

(35,747

)

 

$

(0.55

)

 

 

  1. Valuation allowance provided against 2021 losses.

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended May 2, 2020

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

Operating
Loss

 

Income Tax
Impact

 

Net Loss

 

Diluted
Earnings
per Share

 

Weighted
Average Diluted
Shares
Outstanding

Reported GAAP Measure

 

$

(145,279

)

 

 

 

$

(154,050

)

 

$

(2.41

)

 

64,030

 

Impairment of property, equipment and lease assets

 

14,678

 

 

(3,856

)

(a)

10,822

 

 

0.17

 

 

 

Equity method investment impairment (b)

 

 

 

(642

)

 

2,091

 

 

0.03

 

 

 

Valuation allowance on deferred taxes (c)

 

 

 

61,075

 

 

61,075

 

 

0.95

 

 

 

Tax impact of the CARES Act (d)

 

 

 

(19,473

)

 

(19,473

)

 

(0.30

)

 

 

Tax impact of executive departures (e)

 

 

 

111

 

 

111

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted Non-GAAP Measure

 

$

(130,601

)

 

 

 

$

(99,424

)

 

$

(1.55

)

 

 

  1. Items tax affected at the applicable deferred or statutory rate.
  2. Impairment before tax was $2.7 million and was recorded in other expense, net.
  3. Valuation allowance provided against previously recognized deferred tax assets and 2020 losses, less net operating losses utilized under the CARES Act.
  4. Income tax benefit primarily due to a net operating loss carryback under the CARES Act to years with a higher federal statutory tax rate than is currently enacted.
  5. Represents the tax impact related to the expiration of former executive non-qualified stock options.

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

May 1, 2021

 

May 2, 2020

Net loss

 

$

(45,724

)

 

$

(154,050

)

Interest expense, net

 

5,252

 

 

56

 

Income tax (benefit)/expense

 

(84

)

 

5,982

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

16,754

 

 

19,272

 

EBITDA (Non-GAAP Measure)

 

$

(23,802

)

 

$

(128,740

)

Schedule 5

Express, Inc.

Real Estate Activity

(Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter 2021 - Actual

 

 

May 1, 2021 - Actual

Company-Operated Stores

 

Opened

 

Closed

 

 

Store Count

 

Gross Square Footage

Retail Stores

 

 

(5)

 

 

354

 

 

Outlet Stores

 

 

(4)

 

 

206

 

 

Express Edit Concept Stores1

 

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

UpWest Stores

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

TOTAL

 

2

 

(9)

 

 

563

 

4.8 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Quarter 2021 - Projected

 

 

July 31, 2021 - Projected

Company-Operated Stores

 

Opened

 

Closed

 

 

Store Count

 

Gross Square Footage

Retail Stores

 

 

(2)

 

 

352

 

 

Outlet Stores

 

 

 

 

206

 

 

Express Edit Concept Stores1

 

4

 

(1)

 

 

5

 

 

UpWest Stores

 

4

 

 

 

5

 

 

TOTAL

 

8

 

(3)

 

 

568

 

4.8 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Year 2021 - Projected

 

 

January 29, 2022 - Projected

Company-Operated Stores

 

Opened

 

Closed

 

 

Store Count

 

Gross Square Footage

Retail Stores

 

 

(20)

 

 

339

 

 

Outlet Stores

 

1

 

(5)

 

 

206

 

 

Express Edit Concept Stores1

 

9

 

(1)

 

 

9

 

 

UpWest Stores

 

5

 

 

 

5

 

 

TOTAL

 

15

 

(26)

 

 

559

 

4.7 million

  1. The initial lease terms for Express Edit Concept stores are typically less than 12 months.

INVESTOR CONTACT
Dan Aldridge
VP, Investor Relations
daldridge@express.com
(614) 474-4890

Source: Express, Inc.

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