Petco Health and Wellness Company, Inc.

Q1 2024 Earnings Conference Call


spk10: Good morning and welcome to the Petco first quarter 2024 earnings conference call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. Should you need assistance, please signal a conference specialist by pressing star then zero on your telephone keypad. After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. To ask a question, you may press star then one on your telephone keypad. To withdraw your question, please press star then two. If you do not hear the tone after pressing star then 1, please hang up and dial back into the call. Please note this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Benjamin Thiel-Long, Chief ESG and Chief Communications Officer. Please go ahead.
spk07: Good morning, and thank you for joining Petco's first quarter 2024 earnings conference call. In addition to the earnings release, there is a presentation available to download on our website at, summarizing our results. On the call with me today are Mike Mohan, PECO's Interim Chief Executive Officer, and Brian Burrows, PECO's Chief Financial Officer. Before they begin, I'd like to remind everyone that on this call, we will make certain forward-looking statements, which are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. These risks and uncertainties include those set out in our earnings materials and SEC filings. In addition, on today's call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of these measures can be found in our earnings release, presentation, and SEC filings. And finally, during the Q&A portion of today's call, we ask that you please keep to one question and one follow-up. With that, let me turn it over to Mike.
spk02: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome Glenn Murphy as our executive chairman. With over 30 years of retail experience, we're delighted to have him join our board. The entire leadership team will be working closely with him on the next stage of Petco's transformation. In Q1, we made meaningful progress against our strategy to reposition the business for sustainable and profitable growth. Although I've been a pet parent for many years and a member of Petco's board for over three years, The last 60 days have provided me with even greater insight into what makes Petco a special place to both work and shop. We operate in an attractive category with a track record for consistent growth, and Petco remains an iconic and trusted brand for millions of pet parents. Our store partners bring in a palpable energy for change, and I'm grateful for the incredible work they do. It's their enthusiasm that shapes how our leadership team focuses on both our mission and our potential as we look ahead. we need to address some big challenges by capitalizing on our strengths. Specifically, we must return to profitable growth and generate improved free cash flow, keeping an eye on the long-term opportunity to capture further market share and what remains a highly fragmented industry. In support of this, we have restructured Petco's executive leadership team. Consequently, we've simplified decision-making, aligned our focus on fewer and clearer priorities, and empowered the organization to move with greater speed and agility. The leadership team's priorities to improve profitability are clear. Return to retail fundamentals while executing on cost transformation and takeout. Retail fundamentals falls into the following distinct components. The first is store productivity. In our pet care centers, we've begun to roll out the new store operating model. This builds on the work started last year and it reinforces an owner's mindset. The model not only promotes prioritization and increases customer facing time, but also educates and empowers store partners to create a world-class customer experience and drive share of wallet. The second area is merchandising excellence. We are conducting an end-to-end review and rationalization of our pricing and assortment strategy across our merchandise mix. Designed to improve traffic, basket, and overall quality of sales, This review is focused on better aligning our in-store and online merchandising to meet the need of all pet parents while driving long-term profitable growth. This will be supported by the third component, which is increasing marketing effectiveness. As we plan now for the balance of the year, we are recalibrating our marketing efforts to deliver more effective lower funnel marketing and engaging actively with pet parents to drive traffic to our stores and online channels. We are partnering with vendors to increase top-of-funnel marketing reinforcing our unique ability to cater to every pet and pet parent's need. And finally, disciplined inventory management. We see ample opportunity to realign our omnichannel delivery model that balances both cost and capacity to better service our stores and direct-to-customer fulfillment centers, managing overall distribution costs. We see meaningful opportunities across the entire supply chain to deliver further efficiencies. While there is much more work ahead, I'm pleased with the actions we've taken in just 60 days, and we anticipate a fuller update on progress as plans finalize. Now, turning to cost transformation. We remain on track to unlock a target of $150 million in cost savings and productivity enhancements by the end of fiscal 2025, with $40 million to be achieved in year one. As we look more deeply into the business, we're working diligently to expedite and augment these savings including through the disposition or sunsetting of non-core assets. Specifically, we are being hypercritical on all areas of spend in reducing or pausing projects that are G&A intensive but have lower confidence in ROI, sequencing the highest priority drivers that have minimal or no impact on our relationship with customers. For example, in Q1, we completed the sale of our PupBox business, and we recently decided to pause non-critical updates to internal systems, thus allowing us to redirect investments in technology towards customer-focused enhancements. We also deferred this year's Store Leader Summit and are working with our vendors who support this event to focus instead on additional customer and revenue-generating activities. Deferring this event not only keeps our partners in stores to interact with customers, but also delivers tangible cost savings.
spk11: We expect a fuller update on the magnitude and timing of cost opportunities as we finalize our plans.
spk02: As I close, I want to reinforce that despite the immense change we are driving throughout the organization, we remain committed to our long-term strategy. Our ecosystem, comprised of a fully integrated services offering, one of the most comprehensive nutrition and merchandising assortments in the market, and a powerful omnichannel delivery model, remains a competitive differentiator from online-only and mass players. This ecosystem powers our customer acquisition flywheel and reinforces our unique position as a retailer of choice within the pet category. The underlying value proposition of Petco remains strong, and I am confident we have clear lines of sight and the right plans in place to return to sustainable, profitable growth. Thank you, and I'll now turn the call over to Brian. Thanks, Mike, and good morning, everyone. Building on Mike's comments about the quarter, the last 60 days have given us even greater clarity on the full potential of our business, and we've already begun activating against clear and significant opportunities to deliver on it. Specifically, we're committed to restoring profitability and balancing our assortment to reflect the needs of pet parents. And we're being forensic and disciplined with costs to ensure future revenue growth translates meaningfully to the bottom line. Ultimately, we expect these actions to return value to all shareholders. For the quarter, net revenue was $1.5 billion, a decrease of 2% year-over-year. Comparable sales were down 1%. In merchandise, consumables was flat year-over-year, reflecting the impact of lapping prior year inflation, coupled with the pricing actions we took in the third quarter. Our discretionary supplies and companion animal businesses experienced continued softness, down 7% year-over-year. Services and other, which include services, wholesale, and recently disposed non-core businesses delivered 4% revenue growth, with services up 10%, driven by ongoing strength in our vet hospitals, mobile clinics, and grooming services. Moving down the P&L, gross profit was $579 million, down $26 million from prior year. Gross margin for the quarter was 37.8%, a decline of 101 basis points, primarily driven by mix. SG&A is a percentage of revenue increased from 37.1% to 38.9% year-over-year, driven by severance expenses related to the management changes during the first quarter, increased depreciation, investments in store labor, and a one-time expense related to the disposition of pup box. Excluding severance-related charges and the one-time disposition expense, SG&A as a percentage of revenue was 38.2%. Q1 adjusted EBITDA was $75.6 million, down 32%, with an adjusted EBITDA margin rate of 4.9%, down 219 basis points year-over-year. Adjusted EPS was negative 4 cents compared to 6 cents per share in the prior year. Turning to the balance sheet, our liquidity remains strong at $617 million, inclusive of $90 million in cash-in-cash equivalents and $528 million of availability on our revolving credit facility, which was upsized and extended in March of 2024 for an additional five years. Free cash flow was negative $41 million, down from negative $24 million in the prior year. Q1 CapEx of $33 million is down 47% year-over-year, reflecting the Q1 component of the year-over-year reductions included in our CapEx guidance for the year. Given our Q1 execution against our CapEx guidance, and the ramping benefits of our cost savings initiatives and working capital management, we expect to be free cash flow positive for fiscal 2024. As a reminder, we also maintain callers on roughly two-thirds of our debt, which have helped mitigate the impact of elevated interest rates. I'll now turn to our Q2 outlook. For the second quarter, we are guiding to the following revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted EPS. For the quarter, we expect... revenue of approximately $1.525 billion, adjusted EBITDA of approximately $80 million, and adjusted EPS of approximately negative two cents. Q2 guidance reflects our expectations for sequential improvement in revenue and profitability trends from the first quarter. Additionally, for the full year, we expect net interest expense of approximately $145 million, inclusive of the estimated impacts of our hedges against the forward rate curve, and $272 million weighted average fully diluted shares, which are unchanged, $140 million of capital expenditures for the full year, which is unchanged, and we remain on track to achieve $40 million in cost benefits in year one and $150 million in run rate savings by year end 2025 with a view to accelerating and augmenting those savings where we can. To echo Mike's remarks as I close, our focus on retail excellence includes shoring up the underlying financials of our business, both for the immediate and long-term. Like him, I share the enthusiasm and energy of our partners in our stores, distribution centers, and support centers, and have confidence in the way the management team is leading the company at this important juncture of our transformation.
spk11: Thank you for your time, and with that, we'll be happy to take your questions.
spk10: We will now begin the question and answer session. To ask a question, you may press star then 1 on your telephone keypad. If you're using a speakerphone, please pick up your handset before pressing the keys. If at any time your question has been addressed and you would like to withdraw your question, please press star then 2. Again, it is star then 1 to ask a question. As a reminder, please keep yourself to one question and one follow-up. If you do not hear the tone after pressing star then one, please hang up and dial back into the call. At this time, we will pause momentarily to assemble our roster. The first question comes from Seth Basham with Wedbush Securities.
spk11: Please go ahead. Thanks a lot and good morning.
spk04: Congrats on the improving results. I would love to get some color first on the supplies business, which remains under pressure. As you look forward and project revenue into the second quarter, how do you think that business is going to perform? Do you see changes to demand levels? Do you see any changes to competitive environment?
spk02: ASAP, thanks for the question. We did see some slight improvement in the year-over-year decline in our supplies and companion animals, but we know we have more work to do. The team is taking some decisive action to deliver on this. Overall, we remain confident in our assortment strategy and plans, our breadth of offerings, and how we're serving our millions of pet parents. And I think I want to be really, really clear for you is that we're acting every day to improve profitability in the near term. My focus is to sequence the highest priority drivers that we have while not compromising on our value proposition or relationship with our customers.
spk04: Understood. As it relates to the gross margins, which were stronger than expected, can you provide some more color on the drivers there? As you look forward, how should we think about gross margins relative to SG&A in the second quarter?
spk02: Thanks for the question, Seth. I'll just say we're focused on driving bottom line improvement. and we expect sequential dollar improvement on bottom line profitability as the year progresses, steady progress throughout the year. We're looking at initiatives to drive both gross profit improvement and SG&A efficiency, and as I laid out in the prepared remarks, we're on track with our cost transformation and believe there's opportunity to both augment and accelerate progress there. I will tell you specific to Q1, you did see some modest improvement in the discretionary categories, and the team also did a good job across supply chain driving efficiencies.
spk10: The next question comes from Kamil Gajwala with Jefferies. Please go ahead.
spk08: Hey, guys. Good morning. A lot going on, and it all makes kind of good logical sense, but can you maybe just help us out with prioritization or how you balance each of these items? For example, effectiveness of marketing, when does that come around versus the assortment versus the productivity. If you could just kind of maybe just work us out through what the timeline looks like, because obviously doing all at once is difficult. So maybe just if we can get a better sense of prioritization, that'd be helpful.
spk02: No, great. Thank you for the question. I would start with that we are focused on fewer and clearer priorities, and we're taking decisive action to improve our profitability while we enhance our customer experience. And everyone in the organization, both at the store and leadership level, has rallied around our reset plan. From an overall standpoint, our number one focus is improving our profitability. The biggest area to improve our profitability is in merchandising, and that's why we have our focus in that area, as followed by improving in our services profitability and our renewed focus on reviewing our SG&A spending strategy. That's how I would line up our priorities. Brian, would you add anything? Yeah, I'd just say, Seth, I mean, excuse me, Kamal, we gave a couple of examples of things we're doing to prioritize. The disposition of PupBox, the pausing with some of the internal upgrades to systems, as well as at the firm and at the summit. Those are just a couple of examples of things where the team is united and working towards the same objectives, which is making sure we have fewer priorities, clearer priorities, and those that add the most value to the enterprise.
spk08: Okay, great. And then in the context of all the things you're doing, does it sound like optimizing the network or closing doors is part of the plan? Is that just my maybe just misreading that or is that something you're also evaluating?
spk02: I would tell you, Kamal, that we are dynamic in the way that we look at our real estate portfolio. We have a very comprehensive process to make sure that we understand the demographics of any market that we enter and the competitive dynamics as well as our own position in the markets that we may exit. So it's a rolling portfolio. I would say that there are not any large-scale changes planned at this time.
spk10: The next question comes from Stephen Zacon with Citi. Please go ahead.
spk01: Great. Good morning. Thanks very much for taking my question. I wanted to understand the category performance outlook for the second quarter. How should we think about consumables versus some of the more discretionary categories. And then along those same lines, you mentioned returning to sustainable growth. The macro is a challenging thing to predict, but from a company-specific aspect, what do you think really needs to happen here to drive that sustainable growth going forward?
spk02: Hey, thanks, Steve. I'll start here on the category outlook. Embedded in our guide of the 1.525 We know we have work to do in our assortment, and that's why merchandising excellence and the work we're doing there is at the top of our list. We have an opportunity to improve the quality of our sales to better support our pet parents' needs, and our focus is on improving profitability both within the mix that we sell and then every part of the mix. I would just add, Steve, we haven't baked in any significant recovery in the discretionary category into our guide, consistent with the way we came into the year. Services remained strong in the first quarter, up 10%. Consumables was roughly flat, which is partly due to the overlapping dynamics relative to inflation. So everything that we think about from those categories going forward is baked into the 1.525 guide for the second quarter.
spk10: The next question comes from Ana Andreeva with Needham & Company. Please go ahead.
spk05: Great. Thanks so much. Good morning, and good to see you guys making progress. A couple of questions from us. With Glenn's appointment as chairman of the board, just any of the initiatives he's looking at that you can share, and would he be considered for the permanent CEO position with the company? That's my first one, and then we have a follow-up.
spk02: Great. Thanks, Anand. I've spent a lot of time with Glenn over the last few weeks, and he'll be of great value to me and the team, given his experience in retail turnarounds. We remain committed to our strategy and executing on it, and our top focus is improving our profitability. The search for the permanent CEO is ongoing, and we'll provide any updates as soon as we have additional information for you.
spk05: Okay. Fair enough. And just as a follow-up, on VET, Can you update us on some of the economics there? Should we think that most of the base is now EBITDA profitable? And are you still seeing that mid-single-digit lift to the center of the store from VET that you used to talk about?
spk02: Thanks, Shana. There's been no change in our long-term economics in terms of the VET model. and our plans for the year have not changed since we guided coming into the year, five to ten vets for the year, which are baked into our CapEx guide. I will tell you what we're focused on in that we've just brought in some additional expertise into the vet business. We have a new leader of that business with significant experience in that space, and we're focused on improving both the vet experience within our hospitals as well as the improved customer value proposition. We're also looking for ways to improve the profitability through greater utilization.
spk10: The next question comes from Oliver Wintermantle with Evercore ISI. Please go ahead.
spk00: Yeah, thanks. I had a question regarding, first of all, the transactions versus tickets or AUR. If you could give us some updates, how that trended through the quarter and how you think about it for the rest of the year.
spk02: Thanks, Oliver. I'd say we're not going to break that out for you specifically. I would tell you, though, that basket was stronger than traffic, and that's been consistent with what we've been seeing.
spk00: Got it. And the other one, I think, Brian, you said you're expecting free cash flow to be positive this year. If you could maybe talk about how you get there, what the moving parts are. Thank you.
spk02: Thanks, Oliver. I'll start with Q1. Although Q1 was negative $41 million, it was down negative $24 last year, and Q1 is typically and historically a negative free cash flow quarter for us, given some of the seasonality of the rolling balance sheet items. The knobs for us, Oliver, are quite frankly to continue to focus on profitability of the company, improving the profitability trajectory of the company, and we expect steady progress on that as the year progresses. The second variable I would say is continued execution against our CapEx guide. We were down 47% in spend in year one from last year, and that's on track with the 140 we guided for the year. And the third thing is we have opportunities in inventory. Although the team's done a good job at managing inventory, we do have the additional opportunity to continue to rationalize our inventory management and focus on higher velocity SKUs.
spk10: Once again, if you have a question, please press star, then 1 on a touch-tone phone. The next question comes from Stephen Forbes with Guggenheim. Please go ahead.
spk13: Good morning. This is Rene Maranon for Steve Forbes. Given relatively stability within the product gross margin profile quarter over quarter, can you help us better understand where we are in terms of bottoming and what drivers the business is working through to improve overall profitability within product sales?
spk11: Thanks for the question.
spk02: I would just tell you we're focused on driving bottom-line profitability. What you saw in the first quarter, as I mentioned earlier, was some modest improvement in the discretionary category coupled with the team's execution against some of the supply chain efficiencies that we saw in the first quarter. Looking forward, though, we have opportunity across our merchandising strategy to continue to look for opportunities within cost of sales.
spk13: Got it. And then as a follow-up, Can you help us further break down the 4% growth in services and other revenue between vet training and grooming? I know you mentioned the 10% in the prepared remarks between vet and services, just so that we can get a better understanding of the underlying trends.
spk02: Yeah, I'm not going to get into that level of detail for you. Services was strong at 10%, and that was driven by grooming. That was driven by our Vetco mobile business and continued maturation of our vet hospitals underneath. So all three of those reported strong results.
spk12: The next question comes from Justin Klaber with Baird.
spk10: Please go ahead.
spk06: Hey, good morning, everyone. Thanks for taking the question. My first one is just on the consumables business. I understand the disinflation trend, but any call on how units are trending? Are you seeing any improvement just based on, you know, the assortment efforts? And then how are you thinking about like for like pricing on consumables across the balance of the year? Do you see any risk of deflation or is pricing different? simply flattening out here.
spk02: Yeah, thanks, Justin. I'll start here. I think I would just go with that. Our comprehensive assortment and breadth of operating makes Petco the preferred destination for millions of pet parents. And we've introduced different products over the course of time to make sure we can have a solution for every pet parent and their needs. I think on a pricing standpoint, thinking about disinflation, the customer continues to be choiceful. But again, back to our whole offering, it gives them great products and solutions at the right price points. It gives us the ability to solve all of their needs. We're committed to meeting the customer wherever they are with whatever they need, and we continue to over-index in premium, super premium, and our freshman pros and assortments.
spk11: Okay, so you don't see any risk that vendors will take prices lower to stimulate volume?
spk02: The question is a good one. We're always working with our vendors to drive profitable outcomes for both of us on assortments, promotions, and demand generation marketing campaigns. With our comprehensive assortment, we have the ability to meet all customers with whatever product solutions they're looking for.
spk10: The next question comes from Greg with Wolf Research. Please go ahead.
spk03: Hi, guys. This is Scott Stringer on for Greg. I want to just ask some more macro questions. The topic of discussion last quarter was market share. Can you provide an update on how market share trended in 1Q? And if you could break that out by value versus premium merchandise, that would be helpful.
spk02: Thanks, Scott. I'm not going to give you the level of detail you're looking for, but I'm just going to start with our number one priority is to improve our profitability. And we have the entire organization rallied around these objectives. You know, focusing on offering our customers, our pet parents, the products they need and giving them an exceptional shopping experience while also addressing our cost structures, our number one focus, and these actions will strengthen our competitive positioning.
spk03: Got it. That's fair enough. Maybe just one follow-up on inflation. How is that trending? How is that impacting gross margins today? Okay.
spk02: I think the biggest thing to call out there would be relative to the growth in consumables. You saw consumables roughly flat for the quarter. The primary driver of that was the year-over-year lapping dynamics of inflation. That said, I think the team did a good job managing overall gross margin for the quarter.
spk11: That's helpful. Thank you, guys.
spk10: The next question comes from Michael Lasser with UBS. Please go ahead.
spk09: Good morning. Thank you so much for taking my question, Mike Mohan. I hope you are great. And your response to the last question suggested that right now Petco is prioritizing profitability over market share. So A, is that right? And B, when is it realistic for outsiders to expect that Petco's market share stabilizes especially with stepped-up efforts from mass merchants and predominantly online-only retailers to aggressively target the category.
spk02: Thanks, Michael. Our top priority is improving our profitability, and that gives us the basis for us to be more than competitive in a very fragmented marketplace. Our unique end-to-end offering and our millions of pet parents love our brand, get a chance to experience things that we can do that other online-only or mass players cannot do, and we're going to remain focused on that.
spk12: Thank you for your time and for your questions. That concludes today's learning school.
spk07: Thank you.
spk10: The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.

This conference call transcript was computer generated and almost certianly contains errors. This transcript is provided for information purposes only.EarningsCall, LLC makes no representation about the accuracy of the aforementioned transcript, and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the information provided by the transcript.