Ryan Fuhrmann, CFA
May 23, 2007
Mall-based retailer The Buckle (NYSE: BKE) prefers a lower profile and primarily sticks to business by releasing monthly sales trends and quarterly earnings. However, it certainly has plenty to boast about, as strong operating results have led the way to even more impressive share price gains over the past couple of years. Tomorrow, investors will learn how The Buckle began fiscal 2007, as it’s set to release first-quarter results.
What analysts say:
What management says:
The Buckle doesn’t offer much for sales and earnings guidance, but does release monthly sales trends. Total April sales advanced 7.5%, while same-store sales improved 1.8%. March was even better, as total sales grew 12.7% and comps advanced 10.7%, while February saw a total sales increase of 14.1% and comp growth of 4.8%.
What management does:
The Buckle has managed to grow sales 6.6% annually on average over the past five years and has leveraged this into 10.6% cash flow improvements each year over this time frame. Better yet, growth has accelerated over the past couple of years and Buckle posts some of the highest and most consistent net margins in apparel retailing.
Over the past year, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) have posted higher bottom-line profit margins of 12.7% and 13.9%, respectively, but Buckle has bested Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN) (9.9%), Chicos (NYSE: CHS) (10.1%), and J. Crew (NYSE: JCG) (6.8%).
All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor’s. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.One Fool says:
There are clearly other metrics to consider, but from a profit-margin perspective, Buckle easily stacks up to its larger retailing peers. And with only about 350 stores, it has plenty of room to expand and believes it can grow to 400 stores with its current infrastructure.
At just over 18 times earnings projections for the coming fiscal year, Buckle is much pricier than it was last September, when the stock was also 40% below current levels. Yet growth prospects continue to be bright and the dividend yield is currently 2.2%. The Buckle also paid a special $3 dividend late last year, raised the dividend two times last year, and declared a 3-for-2 stock split in January. The company won’t post the most explosive growth in a portfolio, but Buckle has quietly strapped itself into consistency lately, which has duly rewarded investors.
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. American Eagle Outfitters is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.