American Eagle Outfitters Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Annual Revenue

Fourth Quarter Comparable Sales Rose 2%, Marking 20 Consecutive Quarters of Growth

PITTSBURGH — (BUSINESS WIRE) – American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) today reported EPS of $0.03 for the 13 weeks ended February 1, 2020.  This compared to $0.43 for the 13 weeks ended February 2, 2019.  Adjusted EPS of $0.37 excludes $0.34 of impairment, restructuring and related charges discussed below.

For the 52 weeks ended February 1, 2020, the company reported EPS of $1.12.  This compared to $1.47 for the 52 weeks ended February 2, 2019.  Adjusted EPS of $1.48 excludes $0.36 of impairment, restructuring and related charges and compared to adjusted EPS of $1.48 last year, which excluded $0.01 of restructuring and related charges.  The EPS figures refer to diluted earnings per share.

Jay Schottenstein, AEO’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented, “Although we faced some challenges in 2019, we made good progress on our strategic growth pillars, posting record revenues.  We saw strong customer engagement and positive traffic across brands and channels.  Aerie delivered exceptional growth, led by its unique brand positioning and strong customer connection, and has significant runway ahead.  American Eagle saw growth in its signature jeans and bottoms categories, where we continue to gain meaningful market share. I’m also pleased that we successfully cleared through excess holiday inventory, ending the year well-positioned.

“Looking ahead, we are laser focused on areas of underperformance and strengthening profit margins.  Product improvements, inventory management and gaining efficiencies are top priorities.  Our healthy brands and strong balance sheet position us well to compete in today’s market and we are excited to build upon our strengths and seize the many opportunities ahead for AEO.”

Adjusted amounts represent Non-GAAP results, as described in the accompanying GAAP to Non-GAAP reconciliations.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Results

  • Total net revenue for the 13 weeks ended February 1, 2020 increased $70 million, or 6% to $1.31 billion compared to $1.24 billion for the 13 weeks ended February 2, 2019. Consolidated comparable sales increased 2% over the period ended February 2, 2019, following a 6% increase last year.  This marked the 20th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales.
  • By brand, American Eagle comparable sales decreased 3%, compared to a 3% increase last year. Aerie’s comparable sales increased 26%, following a 23% increase last year, marking the 21st consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth.
  • Gross profit decreased $23 million or 5% to $408 million, compared to $431 million last year. The gross margin rate of 31.0% declined from 34.6% last year.  Higher markdowns were the primary cause of the reduction to last year.  Increased distribution center and delivery costs were offset by lower incentives and slight rent leverage.
  • Selling, general and administrative expense of $287 million decreased slightly from $288 million last year. As a rate to revenue, SG&A leveraged 130 basis points to 21.8%, primarily reflecting lower incentives, partly offset by higher professional services fees.
  • Depreciation and amortization expense increased 8% to $44 million, increasing 10 basis points to 3.4% as a rate to revenue.
  • Operating income of $0.5 million compared to $101 million last year. Adjusted operating income of $77 million excluded $76 million of impairment and restructuring charges.  As a rate to revenue, adjusted operating income decreased to 5.8% from 8.2% last year.
  • EPS of $0.03 compared to EPS of $0.43 last year. Adjusted EPS of $0.37 excludes $0.34 of impairment, restructuring and related costs.

Fiscal Year 2019 Results

  • Total net revenue for the 52 weeks ended February 1, 2020, increased $272 million, or 7% to a record $4.3 billion compared to $4.0 billion for the 52 weeks ended February 2, 2019.
  • Consolidated comparable sales increased 3% over the period ended February 2, 2019, following an 8% increase last year.
  • By brand, American Eagle comparable sales were up slightly, compared to a 5% increase last year. Aerie’s comparable sales increased 20%, following a 29% increase in 2018.
  • Gross profit increased $35 million, or 2% to $1.52 billion. The gross margin rate decreased 160 basis points to 35.3% of revenue compared to 36.9% last year.  Higher markdowns were the primary cause of the reduction to last year.  Rent leverage and lower incentives were offset by increased distribution center and delivery costs.
  • Selling, general and administrative expense of $1.03 billion increased 5% from $981 million last year. As a rate to revenue, SG&A leveraged 40 basis points to 23.9%, reflecting lower incentives, partially offset by higher store payroll and professional services.
  • Depreciation and amortization expense increased 6% to $179 million from $168 million last year, improving 10 basis points to 4.1% as a rate to revenue.
  • Operating income of $233 million decreased from $337 million last year. Adjusted operating income of $314 million decreased 7% from $339 million last year.  As a rate to revenue, adjusted operating income decreased to 7.3% from 8.4% last year.  Adjusted figures exclude impairment and restructuring charges of approximately $80 million in fiscal 2019 and restructuring and related charges of $2 million in 2018.
  • EPS of $1.12 compared to EPS of $1.47 last year. Adjusted EPS of $1.48 excludes $0.36 of impairment, restructuring and related charges and was flat compared to adjusted EPS of $1.48 last year, which excluded $0.01 of restructuring and related charges.

Impairment, Restructuring and Related Charges

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the company incurred impairment, restructuring and related charges of approximately $76 million pre-tax, or $0.34 per share after-tax.  Approximately $65 million of the pre-tax charges related to the non-cash impairment of 20 stores and the remainder primarily reflected severance and other costs.

For the full year 2019, the company incurred impairment, restructuring and related charges of approximately $80 million pre-tax, or $0.36 per share after-tax, including approximately $4 million of pre-tax restructuring charges incurred in the first half of the year.  This compared to $2 million of pre-tax restructuring and related charges for the full year 2018, or approximately $0.01 per share after-tax.

Inventory

Total ending inventory at cost increased 5% to $446 million. The increase largely reflected inventory to support strong demand for AE Jeans, including new styles and expanded sizes, and Aerie store openings. Clearance inventory units were down to last year.

Capital Expenditures

In 2019, capital expenditures totaled $210 million.  For fiscal 2020, the company expects capital expenditures to be in the range of $225 to $275 million, with the increase primarily driven by investments in the distribution network, as well as Aerie store openings.

Shareholder Returns, Cash and Investments

During 2019, the company returned $205 million to shareholders through cash dividends and share repurchases.  We paid dividends of $93 million and repurchased 6.3 million shares for $112 million.  The company ended the year with total cash and short-term investments of $417 million, a decrease from $425 million at the end of 2018.

Store Information

We ended the year with a total of 1,095 stores.  During the year, the company opened 27 AE stores and closed 21, ending the year with 940 AE stores.  Included in the AE store count are 174 Aerie side-by-side locations, of which 28 opened and 1 closed in 2019.  Additionally, the company opened 37 Aerie stand alone stores and closed 4, ending the year with 148 Aerie stand-alone locations and 322 total Aerie stores.  Internationally, the company ended the year with 217 licensed stores.  For additional information, see accompanying table.

First Quarter 2020 Outlook

Based on an anticipated comparable sales increase in the low single digits, management expects first quarter 2020 EPS to be approximately $0.20 to $0.22.  This guidance excludes potential asset impairment and restructuring charges.  Last year’s first quarter reported EPS of $0.23 included $0.01 of restructuring charges.  Excluding these items, last year’s adjusted EPS was $0.24.  See the accompanying table for the GAAP to Non-GAAP reconciliation.

Conference Call and Supplemental Financial Information

Today, management will host a conference call and real time webcast at 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time. To listen to the call, dial 1-877-407-0789 or internationally dial 1-201-689-8562 or go to www.aeo-inc.com to access the webcast and audio replay. Additionally, a financial results presentation is posted on the company’s website.

Non-GAAP Measures

This press release includes information on non-GAAP financial measures (“non-GAAP” or “adjusted”), including earnings per share information and the consolidated results of operations excluding non-GAAP items.  These financial measures are not based on any standardized methodology prescribed by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and are not necessarily comparable to similar measures presented by other companies.  Management believes that this non-GAAP information is useful for an alternate presentation of the company’s performance, when reviewed in conjunction with the company’s GAAP financial statements.  These amounts are not determined in accordance with GAAP and therefore, should not be used exclusively in evaluating the company’s business and operations.