Boot Barn Says Winter Storms Impacted Sales in January

Boot Barn said rough winter weather has recently impacted its store sales in the fourth quarter.

In reporting its results for Q3, the Western footwear retailer offered preliminary reads for its fourth quarter, which it said has seen an 8.1 percent decline in consolidated same-store sales in the first four weeks.

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Throughout January, the company said it has faced a “significant disruption” due to winter weather that “forced store closures, reduced operating hours and presented significant travel challenges for customers,” said Jim Conroy, president and chief executive officer of Boot Barn, in a call with analysts.

In the same period, same store sales in the less affected South and West regions have seen improvements from the prior quarter.

The disruption comes after several shoe retailers in November reported a hit to their Q3 sales due to warmer weather patterns in the fall.

In Q3, Boot Barn’s same store sales were down 9.7 percent, which was weaker than the 8 percent decline expected from Boot Barn management. Net sales in the third quarter were $520.4 million, up 1.1 percent from the prior year but short of the company’s previously outlined guidance of $535 million. Net income was $55.6 million, with $1.81 per diluted share, ahead of the $1.79 expected from Boot Barn and analysts.

“We almost never call out weather,” Conroy said. “In this case, we had stores closing early or not opening at all, and we had a lot of customers that just couldn’t get out and drive to stores. So those two regions, our North region and our East region, their business decelerated by four points of comp from the third quarter.”

The company’s women’s business — its most discretionary category — was down in the first four weeks of Q4 compared to Q3 as less people were prone to make “a special trip during difficult weather,” Conroy said.

But overall, the executive said business in Q4 appears to have improved since the holidays.

For the fourth quarter, Boot Barn is expecting total sales between $376 million to $386 million, for a decline of between 11.7 percent and 9.3 percent compared to the same quarter the prior year. Net income per diluted share is expected to be in the range of 82 cents to 92 cents.

In light of its third quarter results, Boot Barn downgraded its outlook for fiscal year 2024 and now expects total sales between $1.65 billion and $1.66 billion, which would represent up to a 0.4 percent growth over the prior year. That’s down from the company’s prior guidance of $1.7 billion in sales for the year. Same store sales are expected to be down between 7 percent and 6.3 percent. Net income is expected to be between $142.8 million and $145.8 million, with net income per diluted share between $4.65 and $4.75, down from a prior expectation of $5. The company also expects to open 52 new stores in 2024.

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