Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. Announces Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Year End 2009 Results

NORTH BERGEN, N.J., Feb 17, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Vitamin Shoppe, Inc., a leading specialty retailer and direct marketer of nutritional products, today announced its preliminary (unaudited) results for its fiscal fourth quarter and year ended December 26, 2009.

"We are pleased to post record results in our business for the fourth quarter and the 2009 fiscal year," said Rick Markee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. "Vitamin Shoppe's comparable store sales increased 7.0%, making this our 17th consecutive quarter of comparable same-store sales growth. Vitamin Shoppe continues to demonstrate its ability to grow both sales and net income amidst broader economic conditions that remain challenging."

Fiscal Fourth Quarter 2009 Results

Net sales increased $19.3 million, or 13.5%, to $162.4 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with $143.1 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. The increase was primarily the result of an increase in comparable store sales, new sales from non-comparable stores and a slight increase in direct sales.

The Company operated 438 stores as of December 26, 2009 compared with 401 stores as of December 27, 2008. Overall store sales for the three months ended December 26, 2009 rose due to an increase in non-comparable store sales of $10.5 million and an increase in comparable store sales of $8.6 million, or 7.0%.

Cost of goods sold, which includes product, warehouse and distribution and occupancy costs, increased $13.4 million, or 13.8%, to $110.6 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009 compared with $97.2 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. The increase was primarily due to an increase in product costs and occupancy costs for the quarter ended December 26, 2009, as compared with the quarter ended December 27, 2008.

Gross profit increased $5.9 million, or 12.8%, to $51.8 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with $45.9 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 31.9% for the quarter ended December 26, 2009, compared with 32.1% for the comparable prior year period. The change in gross margin reflects reduced vendor incentives associated with the reduced number of new stores opened in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with 2008.

Selling, general and administrative expenses, including operating payroll and related benefits, advertising and promotion expense, depreciation and amortization, and other selling, general and administrative expenses, increased $3.9 million, or 10.0%, to $42.6 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with $38.7 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales decreased to 26.2% for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with 27.1% for the comparable prior year period reflecting leverage resulting from the comparable store sales increase and good expense control.

Related party expenses this quarter increased $0.8 million to $1.2 million as compared with $0.4 million for last year's quarter. This was due primarily to the $750,000 one time management fee paid to Irving Place Capital associated with our initial public offering.

Income from operations increased $1.2 million, or 17.8%, to $8.0 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with $6.8 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. Income from operations as a percentage of net sales increased to 4.9% for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with 4.7% for the comparable prior year period.

Net income increased to $1.9 million for the three months ended December 26, 2009, compared with $0.6 million for the three months ended December 27, 2008. Net income for the current quarter includes a pretax loss on extinguishment of debt of $1.8 million. Net income for the current period also includes a $0.5 million tax benefit resulting from favorable developments on certain outstanding income tax matters and a true up of the tax provision for the full year.

Vitamin Shoppe continues to take steps to reduce its debt. The Company completed a tender offer for approximately $44.9 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding floating rate notes in the fourth quarter. Subsequent to the end of the year, the Company also completed the previously announced redemption of an additional $20 million of the notes. Accordingly, the Company expects to report an additional pretax loss on extinguishment of debt of approximately $0.6 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Fiscal Year Ended December 26, 2009

Net sales increased $73.0 million, or 12.1%, to $674.5 million for the year ended December 26, 2009, compared with $601.5 million for the year ended December 27, 2008. Comparable store sales for the year increased by 5.2%, marking the 16th consecutive year of positive growth. Gross profit increased $21.0 million, or 10.7%, to $216.9 million versus $195.9 million for the prior year. Income from operations increased $5.7 million, or 16.0%, to $41.3 million versus $35.6 million for the prior year. Income from operations as a percentage of net sales increased to 6.1% versus 5.9%. Net income was $12.7 million for the year ended December 26, 2009, compared with $8.2 million for the year ended December 27, 2008.

2010 Outlook

The Company's outlook for 2010 continues to be positive. Vitamin Shoppe expects:

to open approximately 42 new stores and spend approximately $22 million in total capital expenditures;

to achieve comparable store sales growth in line with continued industry growth in the mid-single digits;

to improve its operating margin largely reflecting leverage on selling, general and administrative expenses (including corporate and depreciation and amortization expense);

an effective tax rate of approximately 40%

diluted weighted average shares outstanding of 27.8 million

inventory growth at a rate less than total sales growth, and

to generate excess cash flow which, by the end of the year, would be used to continue to reduce debt and for store growth.

Interested investors and other parties may also listen to a simultaneous webcast of the conference call by logging onto the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at www.vitaminshoppe.com. The on-line replay will be available beginning immediately following the call.

About Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.

Vitamin Shoppe is a leading specialty retailer and direct marketer of nutritional products based in North Bergen, New Jersey. The company sells vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, herbs, sports nutrition formulas, homeopathic remedies, green living products, and health and beauty aids to customers located primarily in the United States. The company carries national brand products as well as exclusive products under the Vitamin Shoppe, BodyTech, MD Select, and VS Basics proprietary brands. The Vitamin Shoppe conducts business through more than 400 company-owned retail stores, national mail order catalogs, and websites, www.VitaminShoppe.com, www.Bodytech.com, and www.EcoShoppe.com and has a social community site at www.VSconnect.com.

Source: Vitamin Shoppe, Inc.

Certain statements herein are "forward-looking statements". Such forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectations or beliefs concerning future events and actual results of operations may differ materially from historical results or current expectations. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including the strength of the economy, changes in the overall level of consumer spending, the performance of the Company's products within the prevailing retail environment, trade restrictions, availability of suitable store locations at appropriate terms and other factors which are set forth in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 26, 2009 and in all filings with the Securities Exchange Commission made by the Company subsequent to the filing of the Form 10-K. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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