Spartan said it expects its fiscal 2014 financial performance to “outpace” fiscal 2013

Spartan said it expects its fiscal 2014 financial performance to “outpace” fiscal 2013

Regional US supermarket group and food distributor Spartan Stores has offered an optimistic outlook despite recorded a drop in full-year earnings and sales.

In the 12 months ended 30 March, net profit dropped 13.6% to US$27.4m. Adjusted for one-time charges such as costs related to financing debt, earnings amounted to $31.2m.

Operating profit in the period was down 8.3% to $61m, while net sales slid 0.7% to $2.61bn.

The grocer said it expects its fiscal 2014 financial performance to "outpace" fiscal 2013 despite the negative effect of having two Easter holiday selling weeks in 2013.

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Spartan Stores Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Results

Consolidated Net Sales Increased 4.9 Percent on a Comparable 12-Week Basis

Fourth Quarter Adjusted EBITDA Improved 16.0 Percent to $29.6 Million on a Comparable 12-Week Basis

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Spartan Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPTN), a leading regional grocery distributor and retailer, today reported financial results for its 12-week fourth quarter and 52-week fiscal year 2013. In fiscal 2012, the fourth quarter included 13 weeks and the year included 53 weeks.

“We are pleased to report that our business generated comparable store sales growth and achieved better than expected earnings for the fourth quarter”

Fourth Quarter Results

Consolidated net sales for the 12-week fourth quarter increased 4.9 percent to $592.8 million compared to $565.0 million last year, excluding net sales in the 53rd week of fiscal 2012, due to increases in both the distribution and retail segments. As anticipated, the Company benefitted from the calendar shift, which moved the Easter holiday selling week into the fourth quarter and accounted for approximately 60 basis points of the consolidated sales improvement. Consolidated net sales as reported were $614.8 million in last year’s 13-week quarter, which included $49.8 million in sales related to the extra week.

Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (Adjusted EBITDA) for the quarter increased 16.0 percent to $29.6 million, or 5.0 percent of net sales, compared to $25.6 million, or 4.5 percent of net sales, excluding the estimated impact of the 53rd week last year. Adjusted EBITDA in last year’s fourth quarter was $28.0 million, or 4.6 percent of net sales, based on reported results including the impact of the extra week.

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations increased $1.3 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, to $10.4 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared to $9.1 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, last year. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, adjusted earnings from continuing operations excludes an after-tax debt extinguishment charge of $1.7 million associated with the early retirement of a portion of the Company's Convertible Senior Notes due 2027 and an after-tax net asset impairment charge of $0.8 million. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, adjusted earnings from continuing operations excludes an after-tax benefit from the 53rd week of $1.4 million. Reported earnings from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 were $7.9 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, compared to $10.5 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

“We are pleased to report that our business generated comparable store sales growth and achieved better than expected earnings for the fourth quarter,” stated Dennis Eidson, Spartan’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “These encouraging results reflect improvement across both our distribution and retail segments as we gained new customers, continued to refine our promotional and loyalty programs and benefitted from the early Easter holiday. We believe that our value proposition in both segments continued to resonate with customers. We will continue to build on this customer-centric platform in fiscal 2014 as we deepen our customer relationships and improve our long-term performance.”

Gross profit margin for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 was 22.4 percent compared to 22.2 percent in the fourth quarter of the prior year when adjusted to exclude the 53rd week. The gross profit margin rate increase reflects an improved performance in the Company’s retail segment, partially offset by a decrease in the LIFO credit compared to the prior year quarter.

Fourth quarter operating expenses, were $112.7 million, or 19.0 percent of net sales, compared to $108.5 million, or 19.2 percent of net sales in the same quarter last year, if net asset impairment and other charges in fiscal 2013 and the impact of the 53rd week in fiscal 2012 are excluded. The decrease in the rate to sales was due to lower employee benefit related costs compared to the prior year period and a reduction in promotional expenses due to the cycling of an expanded offering under the Yes loyalty program, partially offset by higher incentive compensation and occupancy costs. Fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 operating expenses as reported were $113.9 million, or 19.2 percent of sales, compared to $115.6 million, or 18.8 percent of sales, in the same quarter last year.

Distribution Segment

Net sales for the distribution segment increased 3.4 percent to $256.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 from $248.5 million in the same period last year if $23.1 million in net sales attributable to the extra week of sales in last year’s fourth quarter are excluded. The increase in sales was primarily due to new business gains and the Easter holiday calendar shift. Distribution segment sales as reported were $256.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to $271.6 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter fiscal 2013 operating earnings for the distribution segment increased $1.1 million, or 7.0 percent, to $17.5 million compared to operating earnings of $16.4 million in the same period last year, if $0.9 million related to the extra week in fiscal 2012 is excluded. The increase in operating earnings was due to higher sales volumes and improved efficiency in our supply chain, partially offset by a decrease in the LIFO credit compared to the same period last year. The fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 included a pre-tax LIFO inventory credit of $0.5 million compared to a pre-tax LIFO inventory credit of $1.4 million in the same period last year. Reported fourth quarter operating earnings for the distribution segment were $17.5 million in fiscal 2013 compared to $17.3 million last year.

Retail Segment

Net sales for the retail segment increased 6.1 percent to $335.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to $316.4 million in the same period last year, if $26.7 million of net sales attributable to the extra week are excluded. The increase in sales was due to incremental sales from the previously disclosed acquisition of a grocery store in the third quarter, increased fuel sales and positive comparable store sales. Comparable store sales, excluding fuel, increased 0.4 percent, which reflect a benefit over the prior year from the calendar shift of the Easter holiday selling week into the fourth quarter, which offset the negative impact on pharmacy sales from the continued shift in sales mix to generic medications. For the purpose of reporting comparable store sales, the Company used 12-week quarters. Retail segment sales as reported were $335.9 million in fiscal 2013’s fourth quarter compared to $343.1 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter fiscal 2013 operating earnings for the retail segment increased $1.8 million to $2.5 million, if adjusted to exclude a non-cash pre-tax asset impairment charge of $1.2 million, compared to $0.8 million last year, if adjusted to exclude $1.5 million associated with the extra week of sales. The improvement in adjusted operating earnings was primarily due to higher sales, improved margins and operating expense leverage due to a decrease in expenses related to employee benefits and promotional activities associated with the Yes loyalty program, offset by higher incentive compensation and occupancy expenses. Fourth quarter operating earnings as reported were $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

During the fourth quarter, the Company opened one Valu Land store, ending fiscal 2013 with 101 corporate owned stores and 30 fuel centers.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

Cash flow provided by operating activities for fiscal 2013 was $59.3 million compared to $93.7 million for fiscal 2012, primarily due to the timing of working capital requirements and timing of required tax payments associated with the change in state tax law as previously reported.

Net long-term debt (including current maturities and capital lease obligations and subtracting cash) for the Company was $143.8 million at the end of fiscal 2013 compared to $111.5 million at the end of fiscal 2012, due primarily to share repurchases, tax payments and the acquisition of one retail store and fuel center, including the associated capital leases. The Company’s total net long-term debt-to-capital ratio is 0.30-to-1.0 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 and the net long-term debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA ratio is 1.35-to-1.0 on an annual Adjusted EBITDA basis.

During the fourth quarter, as previously announced, the Company completed the redemption of the remaining outstanding $57.4 million aggregate principal amount of its existing Convertible Notes and recorded after-tax charges of $1.7 million related to the redemption. The Company expects to save approximately $3.0 million in annual interest expense as a result of the private exchange of a portion of the Convertible Notes completed in the third quarter and the above noted redemption of the remainder of the Convertible Notes.

The Company believes that cash flow from operating activities and the $129.5 million of availability under its revolving credit facility will support its operational initiatives and capital requirements for fiscal 2014.

Fiscal Year 2013 Results

For the 52-week fiscal 2013 full year, consolidated net sales increased 0.9 percent to $2.61 billion compared to $2.58 billion for the fiscal 2012 full year, excluding $49.8 million in net sales from the 53rd week of fiscal 2012. Comparable store sales, excluding fuel, decreased 0.5 percent in fiscal 2013 due to the lower levels of inflation and the significant impact of the conversion from branded to generic drugs in the Company’s pharmacy operations. For the purpose of reporting comparable store sales, the Company used 52-week years. Consolidated net sales as reported were $2.61 billion in fiscal 2013 compared to $2.63 billion in fiscal 2012.

Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2013 was $106.3 million, or 4.1 percent of net sales, compared to $107.2 million, or 4.1 percent of net sales last year excluding the estimated impact of the 53rd week last year. Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2012 was $109.6 million including a $2.4 million benefit from the 53rd week.

Fiscal 2013 adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $31.2 million, or $1.43 per diluted share, excluding net after-tax charges of $3.3 million primarily related to debt extinguishment and asset impairment charges. Fiscal 2012 adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $31.9 million, or $1.39 per diluted share.

For fiscal 2013 depreciation and amortization totaled $39.1 million, interest expense totaled $13.4 million and capital expenditures totaled $42.0 million.

Outlook

Mr. Eidson continued, “The Michigan economy is likely to continue its gradual recovery in fiscal year 2014 and we believe that Spartan Stores is well-positioned to benefit from the continued modest economic improvements due to our investments in the retail and distribution segments and our continued effort to increase the value provided to our customers. We will remain focused on balancing the key fundamentals of driving sales and managing expenses as we invest in the consumer experience, as well as increasingly use the data from our loyalty programs to engage the consumer and reward them for shopping our stores. From a capital perspective, we plan to re-banner up to 13 Glen’s locations to the Family Fare brand and complete up to 12 minor remodels and an additional three major remodels. We also plan to open one to three new Valu Land stores in fiscal 2014.”

For the first quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company anticipates that consolidated net sales will slightly exceed last year as it continues to benefit from the acquisition of a retail store, maturation of the Yes Rewards loyalty program and new customer gains. These positive sales drivers will be partially offset by an estimated 70 basis point impact due to the shift of the Easter holiday selling week out of the first quarter of fiscal 2014 and into the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, the continued 70 to 100 basis point negative mix impact related to pharmacy prescription conversions from branded to generic drugs and a 40 basis point reduction in rate resulting from the cycling of the grand opening of a new relocated store in the Company’s Grand Rapids market. As a result, the Company expects comparable store sales in their retail segment to be down 2.0 percent or more for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The Company believes earnings per diluted share from continuing operations will slightly exceed the prior year first quarter when excluding the prior year’s after-tax benefit of $0.6 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, due to changes in Michigan state tax laws.

The Company anticipates that its fiscal year 2014 financial performance will exceed the prior year's net consolidated sales and earnings from continuing operations, despite the negative effect of having two Easter holiday selling weeks in fiscal 2013 versus zero in fiscal 2014. The Company expects that retail comparable store sales will improve sequentially from the first quarter, turning positive in the second half of the year as it cycles the grand opening of a relocated store, benefits from its capital program and experiences a higher level of inflation as fiscal 2014 unfolds. Capital expenditures for fiscal year 2014 should be in the range of $42.0 million to $44.0 million, with depreciation and amortization in the range of $41.0 million to $43.0 million and total interest expense in the range of $10.0 million to $11.0 million.

Conference Call

A telephone conference call to discuss the Company’s fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 financial results is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, May 23, 2013. A live webcast of this conference call will be available on the Company’s website, www.spartanstores.com. Simply click on “For Investors” and follow the links to the live webcast. The webcast will remain available for replay on the Company’s website for approximately ten days.

About Spartan Stores

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Spartan Stores, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPTN) is the nation's ninth largest grocery distributor with 1.4 million square feet of warehouse, distribution, and office space located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Company distributes more than 40,000 private and national brand products to approximately 390 independent grocery locations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and to the Company’s 101 corporate owned stores located in Michigan, including Family Fare Supermarkets, Glen's Markets, D&W Fresh Markets, VG's Food and Pharmacy, and Valu Land.

 

Original source: Spartan Stores