Kirkland's stays positive as it heads into first quarter

Despite continued adverse weather conditions throughout February and into March, Kirkland's president and CEO Robert Alderson said that early first-quarter sales and margin trends have been positive and encouraging.

Net sales for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1 decreased 4.2% to $156.1 million compared with $162.9 million for the 14-weeks ended Feb. 2 last year. On a 13-week basis, comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, including e-commerce sales, were flat compared with a decrease of 2.6% in the prior-year quarter. Kirkland’s opened eight stores and closed seven during the fourth quarter, bringing the total number of stores to 324 at quarter end.

Full-year net sales increased 2.7% to $460.6 million, compared with $448.4 million for the 53 weeks ended Feb. 2 last year. On a 52-week basis, comparable store sales for fiscal 2013, including e-commerce sales, increased 0.5% compared with a 3% decrease in fiscal 2012. The company opened 24 stores and closed 23 during fiscal 2013.

The company reported net income of $12.3 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, for the quarter, compared with net income of $14.3 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 2, 2013.

For the full year, the company reported net income of $14.5 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, compared with net income of $13.8 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, for the 53 weeks ended Feb. 2, 2013.

“Our results for the fourth quarter were slightly better than our adjusted guidance, and we finished fiscal 2013 in a solid position with over $89 million in cash,” said Alderson. “As we look to fiscal 2014, we remain excited about the investments in store growth, merchandise systems and process improvement, greater e-commerce capabilities and focused branding initiatives that we expect to drive improved traffic, sales and earnings results.”

Looking ahead to the first quarter, the company expects net income to be in the range of $0.09 to $0.12 per diluted share. It anticipates net sales to be in the range of $105 million to $106 million with a comparable-store sales increase in the range of 2% to 3%.

Kirkland plans to open approximately six stores and close approximately seven stores in the first quarter.

The company was founded in 1966 and is a specialty retailer of home décor in the United States. Although originally focused in the Southeast, the company has extended its reach beyond that region and currently operates 321 stores in 35 states.