Boot Barn posted weaker-than-expected profits for its fourth fiscal quarter ended April 1, 2017, mainly due to soft retail sales and unexpectedly high operating expenses. Net income jumped by 160.0 percent over the year-ago quarter to $2.6 million. However, excluding extraordinary items, the adjusted net income improved by 32.0 percent over the year-ago quarter to $3.3 million, following below the guidance previously given by the management of the American shoe retail company, which specializes in Western and work boots.
Sales rose by 9.1 percent to $163 million, but same-store sales inched down by 0.9 percent. The management of the American shoe retailer blamed the continued impact of low commodities prices. Jim Conroy, the company's chief executive, noted in a conference call with analysts some improvement over the third quarter, largely in stores outside of markets impacted by oil and other commodities. Those located in commodity-impacted states continued to face headwinds during the quarter, with same-store sales in Texas, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado declining by mid-single digits.
E-commerce sales were hit by an unexpected decline in sales at Sheplers.com due to the site's migration to a new platform. In addition, overall operating expenses came in higher than anticipated, in part due to costs related to transitioning and operating the newly-acquired Country Outfitters e-commerce site.
The gross margin advanced by 1.9 percentage points to 30.3 percent, reflecting merchandise margin expansion and occupancy leverage.
For the full fiscal year ended April 1, the group's sales rose by 10.7 percent to $629.8 million and consolidated same-store sales inched up by 0.3 percent. The gross margin dipped by 0.3 percentage points to 30.1 percent. Net income jumped by 43.4 percent to $14.2 million. Twelve new stores were opened and one store was closed, bringing the total count at year-end to 219 stores.
For its first quarter ended July 1, Boot Barn is projecting flat consolidated same-store sales and break-even earnings. For its current fiscal year, it expects flat to slightly positive consolidated same-store sales growth.