e.l.f. Beauty, Inc.

Q4 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk10: I'm a winner in
spk11: my eyes. Lips like this to make them cry. A certified star in the face. You can always know I'm in the place. Trying to catch a little bit of this sausage. Give them all a taste. Trying to catch a little bit of this sausage. I said give them all a taste. Do that thing with your eyes.
spk10: Money, look. Let me see them lips. Attitude and give me face. Eyes, lips, face, wait. You got that drip, it ain't no debate. Wait, show me love and I show it back.
spk11: In the town we the talk of that. With all my winners in the place. Trying to catch a little bit of this sausage. Give them all a taste. Do that thing with your eyes. Money,
spk10: look. Let me see them lips.
spk11: Attitude and give me face.
spk06: Eyes, lips, face, wait. You got that drip, it ain't no debate. Wait, show me love and I show it back. I ain't got nothing left to say. I ain't come to play. No, no, I can't hear the sleigh. With your eyes. I ain't got nothing left to say. I ain't come to play. No, no, I can't hear
spk11: the sleigh. Trying to catch a little bit of this sausage. Give them all a
spk00: taste. Trying to catch a little bit of this sausage. Do that thing with your eyes. Give them all a taste. Do that thing with your eyes. Give them all a taste. No, no, I can't hear the sleigh. No, no, I can't hear the sleigh. I'm Casey Katton, Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations. With me today are Tarang Amin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Mandy Fields, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. We encourage you to tune into our webcast presentation for the best viewing experience, which you can access on our website at .elfbud.com. Since many of our remarks today contain forward-looking statements, please refer to our earnings release and reports filed with the SEC, where you'll find factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. In addition, the company's presentation today includes information presented on a non-GAAP basis. Our earnings release contains reconciliations of the differences between the non-GAAP presentation and the most directly comparable GAAP measure. With that, let me turn the webcast over to Tarang.
spk04: Thank you, Casey, and good afternoon, everyone. Today, we will discuss the drivers of our exceptional Fiscal 23 performance and outlook for Fiscal 24. I want to start by recognizing the ELF Beauty team. We have so much to be proud of in Fiscal 23. Our value proposition, powerhouse innovation, and disruptive marketing engine continue to fuel our performance. Our results speak for themselves. In Fiscal 23, we grew net sales by 48% and adjusted EBITDA by 56%, well above our original expectations, and hitting major milestones by reaching over $500 million in net sales and over $100 million in adjusted EBITDA for the first time. Q4 marked our 17th consecutive quarter of net sales growth. In Q4, we grew net sales by 78%, increased gross margin by approximately 470 basis points, and delivered $21 million in adjusted EBITDA, up 66%. We are encouraged by the continued strength we are seeing across the Color Cosmetics category. In Q4, the category grew 18% versus a year ago. ELF continued to significantly outperform the category, growing 64% in tracked channels. We grew our market share by 270 basis points, increasing our rank from number 5 a year ago to the number 3 brand for the first time. We continue to be the fastest growing top 5 brand by a wide margin. Looking at skin care, Q4 category trends were also strong, up 12% versus a year ago. ELF skin consumption was up 55% in tracked channels, well above category growth rates. In the last year, ELF has been celebrated for the power of our company, brands, and disruptive marketing engine. We are humbled by the recognition we continue to receive. In Q4, Fast Company named us to their annual top 50 World's Most Innovative Companies. We are the only beauty company on the list, putting ELF with well-recognized game changers such as NASA, Microsoft, and OpenAI. We continue to be recognized for our purpose and values as we strive to create a different kind of beauty company, one that is both purpose-led and results-driven. We are proud that out of nearly 4,200 public companies, we are only one of four with a board that's at least two-thirds women and one-third diverse, underscoring our commitment to diversity and inclusion. ELF continues to be a Gen Z favorite. In Piper Sandler's latest semiannual Teen Survey, ELF remained the number one favorite cosmetics brand amongst teens for the third time in a row. We grew our share by 900 basis points versus year ago, and again held the number one rank across all income groups. ELF Skin moved into the top 10 favorite skincare brands for the first time. ElfCosmetics.com was again a top 10 shopping destination for teens and one of the only single brand sites among major retailers. Over the past four years, I've provided proof points on how we've executed our five strategic imperatives and the growth that is driven. Let me explain how each of these strategic imperatives underpinned our strength in Fiscal 23. Our first strategic imperative is to build brand demand. Our disruptive Digital First marketing engine has built strength across multiple social platforms. We're a pioneer on TikTok and are now a four-time TikTok billionaire with our last hashtag challenge garnering nearly 15 billion views. We were the first major beauty company to launch a branded channel on Twitch and the first beauty brand on Be Real. As part of our strategy to continue building awareness and reach new audiences, February marked our first ever TV commercial that debuted at the big game. The spot featured our PowerGrip primer, our top-selling SKU in Fiscal 23, and the number one SKU across the entire U.S. mass cosmetics category. PowerGrip is praised by our community for its ability to grip makeup and the entertainment value of its stickiness. We teamed up with cultural icon and award-winning actress Jennifer Coolidge to dramatize the sticky, grippy power of PowerGrip. We aired the spot during the big game and worked at L-speed, going from initial concept to delivery in only three weeks.
spk06: Oh, my God! Coolidge, everything okay over there? Yeah, this is real good grip. Oh, it's not in the gift box. Yeah. Isn't that sweet?
spk04: The response from our community has been phenomenal. Our campaign earned an astonishing 57 billion impressions. Our ad ranked number one in consumer sentiment among all 103 ads at the big game. We saw a 64% increase in our purchase consideration and a lift in PowerGrip sales, and we continue to keep the buzz going. In the weeks following, we aired the 32nd spot across 78 national TV networks and lit up our social channels with additional exclusive content featuring Jennifer Coolidge.
spk11: It's not a filter, sweetie. It's my face.
spk01: I got a filter face.
spk11: My gosh. It's so flowing that I see my face in my face.
spk04: Disrupting norms and doing the unexpected is part of our DNA. We continue to generate buzzworthy moments for our community through our -on-brand partnerships with like-minded disruptors. Two years ago, our makeup collaboration with Chipotle generated 4 billion earned media impressions. Last year, we saw a 4 billion earned media impressions. Last year's collaboration with Dunkin' generated 5 billion impressions. We broke records once again in March with our collaboration with American Eagle that generated over 7 billion impressions. Our internal studies show that our unaided awareness is less than 20% today, a double-digit gap in awareness relative to some of the legacy mass cosmetics brands. We're leaning on our disruptive marketing initiatives to build our awareness and reach new audiences, including millennials and Gen X. Our latest Nielsen marketing mix analysis shows that our marketing investment continues to deliver, driving ROI multiples above the industry benchmarks. During Q4, we invested further in marketing given our -than-expected top-line trends. As a result, we ended the full year with marketing and digital investment at 22% of net sales, above the high end of our 17 to 19% outlook. Our second strategic imperative is to power digital. Founded as a digitally native brand, ELF remains the only top-five mass cosmetics brand with a -to-consumer site. In fiscal 23, our digital consumption was up over 75%. Digital channels drove 17% of our total consumption as compared to 14% a year ago. We see opportunity increase our digital penetration, particularly as we further enhance our Beauty Squad loyalty program. Beauty Squad now has nearly 3.7 million members, with enrollment growing over 25% -over-year. Our loyalty members drive almost 80% of our sales on elfcosmetics.com, have higher average order values, purchase more frequently, have stronger retention rates, and are a rich source of first-party data. Our third strategic imperative is to lead innovation. We have a unique ability to deliver holy grails, taking inspiration from our community and the best products in prestige and bringing them to the market at extraordinary value. Our innovation has built category leadership over time. ELF now has the number one or two position across 16 segments of the color cosmetics category. Collectively, these segments make up over 75% of ELF cosmetic sales. We deliver the strongest sales growth and share gains in each of these segments in Fiscal 23. Our innovation approach is to build growing and sustaining product franchises instead of -and-done launches. Our four largest franchises, Camo, Putty, Halo Glow, and PowerGrip, have all grown year after year. As we launch new innovation within each franchise, the entire franchise grows. We believe this is a source of competitive advantage, as we're not dependent on proliferating SKUs to anniversary prior launches. Let me provide an example with our Halo Glow franchise. In 2020, we launched Halo Glow's Setting Powder. In 2022, we launched Halo Glow Liquid Filter, which quickly became a viral sensation and one of our best-selling products. In April of this year, we built on that success with the launch of three Halo Glow Beauty Wands, a Contour, Blush, and Highlight trio. With each price at an incredible value of $9, compared to the Prestige item at $42, Halo Glow Beauty Wands have been one of our best launches ever. Our most popular shades have sold out multiple times and drove record numbers of visitors to elfcosmetics.com. Halo Glow Beauty Wands are a viral hit with our community and more importantly, are providing a lift in sales to the rest of the Halo Glow franchise. Since we launched Beauty Wands, we've seen nearly triple-digit sales lifts across our Halo Glow franchise with all our Halo Glow products in the top 10 best sellers on elfcosmetics.com, including the Halo Glow Setting Powder that we launched over three years ago. Our strategy of using our new products and marketing engine to shine a light on our existing products within the franchise has proven successful and fueled growth year after year. Our fourth strategic imperative is to drive productivity with our retail partners. In fiscal 23, ELF increased its -in-class productivity on a -linear-foot basis with both Target and Walmart, our two largest customers. Ulta Beauty is another great example of our focus on productivity. We grew our Ulta business by over 70% in fiscal 23 without incremental space gains. This productivity is helping us to earn additional space with our retail partners. As a reminder, as part of our spring resets earlier this year, we expanded space in Target, Walmart, CVS, and Shoppers Drug Mart. Looking at our average store footprint today, in our largest customers, we have about 12 feet in Target, 8 feet in Ulta Beauty, and 7 feet in Walmart. Even with this increased footprint, we still trail legacy cosmetics brands, which can have 20 feet of space on average at these national retailers. We continue to drive productivity and expand our footprint across customers. We see a significant runway for growth. To that end, we're pleased that we've earned additional space in Ulta Beauty, CVS, and Walgreens in fall 23. Our fifth strategic imperative is to deliver profitable growth. We had a winning formula in fiscal 23. We invested strongly behind our high ROI marketing and digital initiatives and delivered over 100 basis points of adjusted EBITDA margin expansion, supported by the combination of our strong sales growth, gross margin expansion, and leverage in our non-marketing SG&A expenses. The investments we've continued to make in our people and infrastructure, year after year, are fueling our growth. Our people investment reflects our unique one team, one dream approach. We're the only public company in beauty that grants equity on an annual basis to every single employee, strongly aligning our team with the long-term interests of our shareholders. Even as we've grown our headcount by 60% over the past four years, our world-class team continues to drive strong productivity, outperforming other public beauty companies by roughly three to five times on a sales and profit per employee basis. Our team is also highly engaged. Our most recent employee engagement scores were 19 points higher than Consumer Goods and Services Industry benchmark. As we've grown, we've continued to make investments in our infrastructure. This year, we'll begin implementation of SAP to continue to optimize our operations and core processes. We're also planning to make investments to increase our distribution capacity to support our growth. Even with this ongoing investment, we expect to continue to deliver adjusted EBITDA margin expansion in fiscal 2024. We believe these ongoing investments in our team and infrastructure position us well to continue to drive profitable growth. The progress on our five strategic imperatives has been terrific, and we believe we're still in the early innings with each. Before I turn the call over to Mandy, I want to underscore the three key areas where we see significant runway for additional growth. In cosmetics, skincare, and internationally. First, we believe we can grow share in our core mass cosmetics category. This is a $7 billion category in the US. We're the number three brand today with a .5% share. At Target, our longest standing national retail partner, we're already the number one brand with an 18% share. We believe that our position at other major retailers could mirror that at Target over time. Second, we see significant white space in skincare. This is a $5 billion category in the US. We're the number 19 brand today with a little over 1% share. We believe we have the right to win in skin. Amongst teens, we're already a top 10 brand. Skincare represents 8% of our consumption in needles and track channels, yet drives nearly 20% of our business on elfcosmetics.com, where consumers see the full strength of our assortment. Our focus in skincare is bringing new consumers into the fold, as we go after segments like makeup removal, sun care, and anti-aging. Our top three best sellers on elfskin.com and Q4 were some of our latest innovations in these areas. Similar to our strategy in cosmetics, we plan to lean on our value proposition, powerhouse innovation, and disruptive marketing engine to accelerate awareness for elfskin. Third, we see considerable white space internationally. International represented approximately 12% of elf beauty sales in fiscal 23, with the business growing over 60% year over year. We're seeing strong results behind our disciplined expansion strategy in Canada and the UK. As compared to our number three position in the US, we're the number seven brand in both Canada and the UK. We were the fastest growing top 10 brand in both of these countries, and still see a lot of runway ahead. We recently began building out our team in the UK this past year, and are excited about enhancing our focus to further penetrate existing international markets while expanding into new ones. In summary, as we look ahead, we believe we're still in the early innings of unlocking the full potential of our brands. We believe our relentless focus on our five strategic imperatives will continue to fuel our ability to win in fiscal 24 and beyond. I'll now turn the call over to Mandy.
spk08: Thank you, Tering. Our fourth quarter results were outstanding. Q4 net sales grew 78% year over year, driven by broad-based strength across national and international retailers, as well as digital commerce. We saw much better than expected unit velocities in the quarter, supported by strong early results from our spring resets and robust consumer response to both our spring innovation and core products. Higher unit volume contributed approximately 50 percentage points to net sales growth, with pricing and mix adding approximately 28 percentage points to growth. Q4 gross margin of 69% was up approximately 470 basis points compared to prior year. We saw gross margin benefits from the price increases implemented in March of 2022, lower transportation costs, margin accretive mix, and cost savings. On an adjusted basis, SG&A as a percentage of sales was 61% in Q4 compared to 57% last year, largely due to a step up in marketing and digital investment. We drove significant leverage in non-marketing SG&A expenses primarily as a result of our better than expected top-line trends. Marketing and digital investment for the quarter was approximately 33% of net sales, as compared to 17% in Q4 last year. As Terang discussed, during the quarter, we opportunistically stepped up our marketing investment given our better than expected top-line trends. As a result, we ended the full year with marketing and digital investment at 22% of net sales above the high end of our -19% range we had outlooked. Q4 adjusted EBITDA was $21 million, up 66% versus last year. An adjusted EBITDA margin was approximately 11% of net sales. Adjusted net income was $24 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, compared to $7 million, or 13 cents per diluted share a year ago. The increase in adjusted net income was attributable to a significant increase in pre-tax income as well as discrete tax benefits in the quarter related to stock-based compensation. Let's now turn to our full year fiscal 23 results. In short, our results were exceptional. For the year, we grew net sales by 48% and adjusted EBITDA by 56%. We invested behind our high ROI marketing and digital initiatives and delivered over 100 basis points of adjusted EBITDA margin expansion, supported by the combination of our strong sales growth, gross margin expansion, and leverage in our non-marketing SG&A expenses. Moving to the balance sheet and cash flow. Our balance sheet remains strong and we believe positions us well to execute our long-term growth plans. We ended the year with $121 million in cash on hand, compared to a cash balance of $43 million a year ago. Our ending inventory balance was $81 million, compared to $84 million a year ago. Given our stronger than expected consumption in Q4, our ending inventory was lighter than expected. We expect to recover in Q1 and build inventory through fiscal 24 to support our Holy Grail launches and core franchises. I'm also pleased with the strong free cash flow we generated of approximately $100 million in fiscal 23. Given our cash position and the early repayment of approximately $25 million of our outstanding debt last fall, we end at fiscal 23 with a net cash position and less than one times leverage in terms of total debt to adjusted EBITDA. Now, we expect to continue our free cash flow generation in fiscal 24. Looking at our cash priorities, first and foremost, we plan to continue to invest in our people and infrastructure to fuel our growth. As Terang discussed, this year we plan to invest behind our ERP transition to SAP, working capital to support the strong demand we continue to see, and increasing our distribution capacity. Now let's turn to our initial outlook for fiscal 24. For the full year, we expect net sales growth of approximately 22 to 24%, adjusted EBITDA between $144.5 to $147.5 million, adjusted net income between $98.5 to $100.5 million, and adjusted EPS of $1.73 to $1.76 per diluted share. We expect a fully diluted average share count of approximately 57 million shares, and our fiscal 24 adjusted tax rate to be approximately 21 to 22%. Let me provide you with additional color on our planning assumptions for fiscal 24. Starting with the top line, we end the fiscal year with significant momentum and believe we have the right strategy in place to support our growth in the year ahead. In Q1, we expect our net sales growth to come in well ahead of our 22 to 24% annual growth, reflecting the ongoing strong consumption trends we are seeing. As we look out to the remainder of the year, we remain bullish on the cosmetics category and our ability to gain share. At the same time, we are mindful of macroeconomic uncertainty and potential recessionary risks. We believe our outlook appropriately balances these elements, and our approach has been consistent, serving us well as we've navigated a dynamic operating environment to deliver 17 consecutive quarters of net sales growth. Turning to gross margin. In fiscal 24, we expect our gross margin to be up approximately 100 basis points year over year. We expect gross margin benefits from lower transportation costs, favorable FX rates, margin accretive mix, and cost savings to offset costs related to retailer activity and space expansion. Turning now to adjusted EBITDA. Our outlook implies adjusted EBITDA growth of approximately 24 to 26% versus prior year, on top of the strong 56% growth we delivered in fiscal 23. With the combination of our top line momentum and strong marketing ROI, we're planning to increase marketing and digital investment to approximately 22 to 24% of net sales in fiscal 24, as compared to 22% in fiscal 23. We're investing from a position of strength and believe these increased marketing investments will continue to fuel our growth. Our outlook implies adjusted EBITDA margin leverage of approximately 30 basis points year over year. This margin expansion is supported by the combination of our strong sales growth and gross margin expansion. In summary, we're pleased with our outstanding fiscal 23 results, and remain optimistic about our long-term growth potential. As Terraine discussed, we see significant white space across cosmetics and skin care, both domestically and internationally. Our flywheel approach of investing in marketing to drive top line while expanding adjusted EBITDA margins gives me confidence in our ability to drive profitable growth. Finally, we believe our solid balance sheet. Loleb.
spk09: Thank you. We will now begin the question and answer session. To ask a question, you may press star, then 1 on your touchtone phone. 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. Please limit yourselves to one question so we can answer as many questions on the call. At this time, we will pause momentarily to assemble our roster. The first question comes from Olivia Tong with Raymond James. Please go ahead.
spk18: Great. Thanks and good afternoon and congrats on a pretty remarkable year.
spk09: Thank you.
spk18: My first question is more around the guide and just understanding sort of how you're thinking about it, clearly coming off of 78% top line growth in Q4 and then looking for something still very, very strong, but decelerating pretty dramatically relatively speaking. If you could just give us a little bit in terms of sort of the building blocks, how you're thinking about maybe first half versus second half, and sort of phasing of some of the launches and the incremental shelf space that you're getting, help us understand that a little bit. That would be helpful. And then I have a follow up. Thank you.
spk07: Hi, Olivia. Thank you so much for the question. So overall, we feel great about our guidance. 22 to 24% net sales growth on top of the 48% net sales growth that we just delivered, I think is tremendous. And as we look out, the fundamental drivers of our business remain intact. Our value proposition, our innovation, and our ability to engage our community with our marketing engine remains intact. And in fact, the white space opportunity as Turing spoke to is also still ahead of us. So a lot of goodness on the road ahead. I would say that if I think about breaking it down between innovation and units or the building blocks of the business, I would say we have a healthy mix of both units and AUR as we look forward. We just talked about in Q4 seeing 50 points of our growth being driven by unit volume with the 28 driven by AUR. I think that type of split will continue and that unit growth will be quite healthy, implied in our guidance. And then if I think about productivity, productivity at Shell Turing also spoke to on the call. That continues to be the key driver of our growth. And really that's reflective of that innovation that we're launching that's really resonating with our consumers and our community and the marketing that we put the surround sound around that with. So we feel great about our outlook. And as we talked about Q1, we expect to come in ahead of that 22 to 24 percent, just given the consumption levels we're seeing. And my approach has been very balanced over these last 17 quarters. We see the momentum that we have in this quarter, but also want to make sure that we're cognizant of any macro things that are going on. And so we remain balanced with the outlook that we're providing. And we're not going to be able to say anything about what we're seeing from a consumption standpoint. And as you know, we'll take it one quarter at a time.
spk09: The next question comes from Dara Moissanian with Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.
spk02: Hey, good afternoon, guys. Good afternoon. So two-part question. First, obviously your business has grown at a really strong top line growth rate for a number of years. But if you look at the -over-year revenue growth or the CAGR versus a pre-COVID level, it really accelerated this quarter. So you obviously mentioned a lot of drivers behind that on a -over-year basis. But just curious if you can give us a little more detail on the sequential ramp up in fiscal Q4. What do you think drove that? How sustainable is that? And then on Olivia's question on the full year, just I guess can you give us a little more detail on Q1? Obviously the scanner data pace looks like it's continuing at a pretty robust level. So just maybe conceptually how you sort of think about fiscal Q1, given we're two months into the quarter. I understand above the full year pace, but maybe put it in context relative to Q4 and any extra help there would be helpful. Thanks.
spk03: Hi, Dara. I'll take the first part of the question and give the second to Mandy. So in terms of the business growth, you're right. We saw this acceleration through the year, particularly in Q4. And I would say it's really a continuation of the fundamental strategy we talked about, the resonance of our value proposition, innovation, and marketing. A couple of particular drivers within Q4 that I'd point to, one is we continue to build these franchises, our innovation franchises. We had an incredible launch in Q4 with our new halo glow beauty wands. We're a viral sensation. We couldn't keep them in stock. We actually have quite a few out of stocks just given the strength of the innovation that we've had that builds upon itself. We also opportunistically took up our marketing levels in Q4. It was our opportunity, given our opportunity to build awareness, to introduce TV for the first time. Most of our spend is digitally driven, but we saw an opportunity to enter TV and broaden that aperture. And we did it in typical elf fashion. We went all in. We ended up creating a spot that aired on the big game, saw terrific results from that, and that also fueled our results. So as Mandy said earlier, we feel we have real great momentum. Fundamental drivers of our business remain intact and we're feeling really bullish about the business, but always take a pretty balanced look. But I'll let Mandy talk that.
spk07: And to answer your question on Q1, we are seeing scanner data close to 50% growth right now. And so I think it's safe to assume for Q1 that the quarter, you know, we don't give quarterly guidance, but I think to just give you some color, the 50% that you're seeing out of scanner data right now or better could be where Q1 comes in overall. Just given what we're seeing on the untracked side of the business right now as well.
spk09: The next question comes from Bill Chappell with Trulia Securities. Please go ahead.
spk17: Thanks. Good afternoon.
spk03: Good afternoon.
spk17: A little bit more on kind of the out of stocks. I mean, as we've all noted, your acceleration this quarter was remarkable, if not extraordinary. And try to couple that with the thought that, you know, a lot of your products come overseas, it takes six months of a supply chain to kind of go from start to finish. And so you had to kind of know this was coming to some extent or have significant out of stocks. And we see in some stores other than Target and Ulta, there are some, you know, a fair amount of out of stocks. So maybe you can understand what you think was left on the table in terms of having out of stocks that could have been done, where retail or inventory levels are as we move into the summer. And, you know, and maybe it's not a big issue at all. Maybe you fully saw this coming and making too much of it. But I'm just trying to understand, you know, how your supply chain did so well or how it will continue so well when you have that kind of a six month planning process. Sure.
spk03: So, Bill, I feel great about our supply chain. It's a real area of strength for our company, best combination of cost, quality and speed in our industry. And it's been highly resilient. If I go back all the way to the pandemic in terms of how we've navigated the pandemic, the supply disruptions in terms of container imbalances, lockdowns, you name it, we've been able to maintain over 95 percent customer in stock. So it's a real testament to our overall operations team and the terrific job they do in terms of planning horizons. You know, we typically think in terms of about 14 weeks on average in terms of getting goods in from the time that we place those orders. So it's not it's not so long in terms of the six month horizon. There will be periods where we have a number of things that build upon each other and take off virally. So I mentioned our beauty wands all throughout last year. I think our Halo Glow Liquid Filter has been a phenomenal innovation that we've been every time we take that forecast up, the demand goes even higher and power grip primer. Again, not only our number one SKU, but the number one SKU across the entire mass cosmetics category. So these innovations tend to build upon themselves. I gave the example of Halo Glow when we launched those beauty wands, we've seen triple digit indices on our original Halo Glow Liquid Filter. Even the Halo Glow setting powders we launched almost three years ago. So we're seeing strength built upon strength. I'm not concerned in terms of any long term issues. We have plenty of capacity. We have incredible partnerships with our key suppliers where we share with them what our future plans and outlook are that they can work against. So I think this is a temporary next couple months. I'd continue to see elevated out of stocks, but we talked on the call also making the investment of kind of building back up our inventory levels such that we can continue to serve the tremendous growth that we have.
spk09: The next question comes from Linda Bolton Weiser with DA Davidson. Please go ahead.
spk01: Yes, hi. I'm wondering if you could give a little bit more color about your infrastructure investments. So with SAP implementation, I think we're all a little nervous that sometimes that causes some disruptions. So maybe you can give us a little color on how you're planning for that and if you expect any retailer ordering lumpiness in anticipation of that implementation. And then secondly, in terms of the added distribution, can you give more color? Is that like a DC? Are you building one yourself or what exactly are you adding in the distribution side? Thank you.
spk07: Hi, Linda. So I can I'll take the first part of that question and then I'll pass it over to Turing. So I can say we're really excited about our ERP transition to SAP. And we've had this strategy all along to continue to invest behind people and infrastructure. It's something that's been a part of our base plan every year. And we've continued to optimize that as we've gone through. So really, as we look at SAP, we're putting that in place as we want to make sure that the back of house is ready for the growth that we have on the road ahead and is able to scale with us. And so we have a timeline built out. We're in the we're in the implement, not implementation just yet. We're not expecting that for another year out. We're just building right now. And so as we go through, we'll have several phases where we're testing. We're not going to put in jeopardy any orders or anything like that. It will be a very phased approach with lots of testing along the way. But this year, we're building towards that. So for fiscal 24, I don't see any any risk at all related to the project because we don't plan to implement as until we get into fiscal 25.
spk03: And just adding to that, I think we have a good platform in that suite that serves the business well. And so we'll continue to operate on that platform. So it allows us to sequentially test each of the different processes before we fully implement SAP. So we feel really good about the implementation plan, the outside experts we've brought in, the team that we've built to be able to do that. And as Mandy says, continuation of what's been a pretty consistent build out year after year. And then on your second on the distribution capacity, we have a couple of key initiatives on distribution given the growth that we've seen. The first is moving to a more distributed model in terms of our e-commerce fulfillment. Prior, we had basically one automated warehouse that we used to fulfill our e-commerce with consumer expectations of how fast they get their packages. It could take quite a while if you're on the West Coast to get your package shipping out from Columbus, Ohio. So moving to a multi-node distribution network is the first phase of that. So far, that has been going well. We've already got the first couple nodes up and running and feel really good about how that's going and also seeing an improvement in the time it takes consumers to get their packages. The second is continue to add distribution capacity to our main distribution warehouse in Ontario, California. Just given the growth we've had in the business, really looking out even further, adding more capacity to that distribution network. And so again, feel good about both those projects and how they're progressing and continue to be able to support the business.
spk09: The next question comes from Anna Legeault with Bank of America. Please go ahead.
spk13: Hi, thank you so much for the question. I wanted to ask about gross margin. You talked about several factors benefiting gross margin expansion in the fourth quarter from price increases as of March of 2022, margin to creative mix and from cost savings. Could you talk a bit about how much lower shipping costs contributed to that benefit and what are shipping costs as a percent of sales? And then they have a follow up. Thanks.
spk07: Hi, Anna. So overall, gross margin, we're really pleased with the progress that we saw in Q4. To your point, we did get benefits from the pricing that we implemented last year. So that was implemented in March of last year that we continue to have benefit from all year. We had cost savings. And so that cost savings really had two parts to it. One, just savings from some of the retailer activity that we had around our resets that came in a bit better than we expected. And then also the cost savings that we got with our suppliers. We got some rebates towards the end of the quarter that also helped our gross margin. And then from a mixed perspective, this has long been a part of our gross margin strategy as we introduce innovation to have better margins on those innovations so that that sweetens the mix as we go as we go across. And so all of those factors played into it. And then, of course, your point on transportation that did play a role. We started to see that transportation cost savings flow through in Q4. We haven't quantified that as a percentage of our total gross margin or as a percentage of sales, but it did have an impact. And we do continue to see those rates be favorable to where they were a year ago. And so, as we think about the hundred basis points that we've baked in for our fiscal twenty four guidance, transportation is a portion of that as well.
spk09: As a reminder, we ask that you ask one question so that we can answer as many questions as we can on the call. The next question comes from Andrea with JP Morgan. Please go ahead. Hi,
spk14: good afternoon and congrats again to all of you on the on this result. I have a question on on guidance and I was curious if you were assuming any any change in velocity as you go per door as you increase increase your shelf space. I'm assuming this is probably going back to how Manji spoke about how being conservative. So we have to help us kind of frame why you see that deceleration given that you're probably starting a very strong pace in the first quarter and embedded in kind of related to that. I'm assuming you're not as you're not embedding pricing additional pricing. So most of that twenty to twenty two percent twenty two to twenty four percent growth in top line is mostly on units based on distribution gains. If that's correct.
spk07: Hi, Andrea. Nice to hear from you. So I'll take the question on guidance and how we think about shelf space versus productivity. As we said on the call, productivity is the primary driver and has been the primary driver of our results. And so while we picked up shelf space along the way, remember it's in a subset of doors and really you have to have a strong productivity to continue to unlock that shelf space on the road ahead. So the combination of our innovation and the marketing that we've put around that innovation has really paved the way for that productivity to continue to be strong. From a pricing standpoint, we have not baked any pricing into our plans, but I will say from an .U.R. standpoint, because we have introduced some higher .U.R. innovation, higher priced innovation, you may see some mixed towards .U.R. So I wouldn't say a hundred percent driven by units, but you will see a little bit of that .U.R. expansion driven by some of the higher priced innovation that we have out there.
spk09: The next question comes from Susan Anderson with CannaCard Genuity. Please go ahead.
spk05: Hi, good evening. Thanks for taking my question. Really nice job on the quarter. I was wondering on the digital segment, it looks like there was acceleration in the quarter on top of some really strong results back during COVID. So I'm curious, it looks like it's kind of accelerated all year. Is that the increased marketing, you think, the Beauty Squad program, or is there anything new or different that you're doing there that are driving more consumers to shop online?
spk03: Hi, Susan. This is Trang. We're really pleased with the acceleration we've seen in digital. I think our digital penetration is now up to 17% versus 14% a year ago and over 75% growth in the quarter as well. I would say there's three factors that are driving it. One is the overall levels of marketing support that we're doing. We have a very strong rise on that marketing support and a lot of it does bring consumers onto our digital channels as well, particularly given our approach that's digital first. Digital definitely benefits from that increased support. I'd say the second is this consistent focus we've had on Beauty Squad loyalty members. We now have 3.7 million members. They were up 25% year over year and they are the biggest driver of our digital business on elfcosmetics.com. They account for over 80% of the sales. So as we continue to make enhancements to that program, we see really great benefit. And the third, as we think about our digital channels, is we're seeing strength not only on elfcosmetics.com, but really strong growth rates at Amazon as well as our retailer.com. And the work that we're doing with each of them, I think, is further building upon itself. So I'm quite bullish in terms of our prospects digitally. Not only do we have strong growth of our national retail customers, but I see major opportunity in terms of what else we can do on digital.
spk09: The next question comes from Corrine Wolfmeyer with Piper Sandler. Please go ahead.
spk15: Hey, good afternoon. Thanks for sharing the question and congrats on a really great year. I'd like to touch a little bit more on some of the marketing investments you're making with this kind of increased budget you've laid out for the next fiscal year. Can you talk a little bit about what kind of marketing initiatives you're planning to do? I mean, we've seen you be a little bit more exploratory in the past couple months. And with some of the more brand awareness type efforts, how are you kind of tracking the ROI on these investments? And then as we think about the new marketing run rate for spending going forward, what really makes you think that that's necessary versus just kind of keeping those, that top line benefit we're seeing versus reinvesting in marketing? Thank you.
spk03: Hi, Corey. We feel great about our marketing investment is one of the reasons why we invested more based on the stronger eyes we see. And in terms of how we measure that we use Nielsen marketing mix. It's a multivariate regression that can get down to the vehicle level behind our marketing spend. And we're seeing strength across every one of our core marketing vehicles. I think starting with our digital advertising, the work we do with influencers, our public relations, even the first time that we did our TV ad, we've seen strong results against each of them. So as I think about the increased levels of marketing support, it's really going to be to continue this disruptive strategy that we've had continue to test on new platforms, put even more in from an awareness standpoint, the awareness campaigns we do that highlight our terrific value and our core innovation. And then also an expansion as we continue to look at different vehicles. So you'll see that as the year unfolds in terms of some of the other partnerships that we're engaged with to continue to engage and entertain our community, but feel really great about marketing. And then from an awareness standpoint, we still have a massive opportunity to build awareness. Our unaided awareness is less than 20%. It's almost half of what a couple of the core legacy brands are. So we see the opportunity to bring in more consumers. We've had great success in the past year. We expanded our leadership among Gen Z. I think just in the last six months, we've gotten 900 basis points more in terms of Gen Z. But we've also picked up quite a few millennial and Gen X consumers as well as Hispanic consumers. So we see opportunity across each of the core demographic groups. And we know the strategy is working.
spk09: The next question comes from Ashley Heldens with Jeffery. Please go ahead.
spk06: Hey, thanks for taking our question and congrats on the quarter. We just wanted to ask a little bit about your market share gains. Any color on where they're coming from and your expectations going forward? Thanks.
spk03: Hi, Ashley. We feel great about our market share gains. If you look at ELF in the last four years, we've doubled our market share. We're now at a .5% share nationally. That puts us in the number three spot relative to I think we were number five just a year ago. So we've surpassed both Revlon and CoverGirl for that number three spot. In terms of where we're getting that market share from, it's pretty broad based. A number of the different legacy brands as well as other brands that retails will test with. We're seeing strength pretty much across the board. And I think our 270 basis points of share growth was multiples ahead of what anybody else was in terms of the absolute gain. But the thing that encourages me the most, and we said in our prepared remarks, is this past year we also became the number one brand at Target. We have almost an 18% share at Target, double our national share. And the reason why that's significant is Target had a head start over everyone else, almost a four to five year head start over other national retailers. So as others lean into ELF, give us more space, give us more support. We feel like other retailers can mirror what Target's been able to achieve over time. So that gives me the hope that just as we've doubled our market share over the last four years, we have the opportunity over the next few years to again double that market share and take over clear leadership of color cosmetics versus any brand.
spk09: Our next question comes from Oliver Chen. That's TD Cowan. Please go ahead.
spk19: Hi, Turing and Mandy. Really spectacular quarter and year. Broadening your aperture has clearly worked. With respect to that, where do you see the most opportunities in the unaided awareness and or how to approach the different aspects of broadening the opportunities you have there? And as we think about shelf space, you gave some great statistics in your prepared remarks, Turing. What do you see ahead? Because the 20 number is quite alluring compared to your 12 at Target and seven at Walmart and you're really executing so well. So what should we understand? Why can't they just give you all 20 right now? Thanks.
spk11: Yeah,
spk03: so, well, thanks, Oliver. We're really pleased with our overall results. If I think about from a marketing standpoint and consumer, we have so many more consumers to attract to our franchise. So we continue to be strong with Gen Gen Z continue to pick up share there. We're increasingly focused on Gen Alpha as well. But one of the biggest differences is we're now also picking up a lot of times the teens that we get. We're picking up their moms as well from from an interest standpoint. They may try one of our holy grail innovations and both anecdotally as well as in some of the data we see. We're picking up many more millennials Gen X. I'm particularly excited about our efforts against Hispanics. We over deliver over index amongst Hispanics and we have a number of different initiatives to even bring more of them in. So you see a pretty broad based approach in terms of bringing consumers because we find that when a consumer gets their hands on Elf and sees the quality of our products at the prices, they stick with the brand. And so very bullish on continue to pick that up. And then on from a shelf standpoint, you're right. We have still a massive opportunity even target our most developed national retailer. We're not the biggest brand from a space standpoint. There are a number of brands that have much more space. I think over time you'll continue to see us pick up more space with each of our key national retailers. But the way we pick that up, I think it's important. Our focus first and foremost on productivity always results in retailers awarding us more space. One of my favorite examples from this past year is we grew our altar beauty business over 70% without any additional space. And so it speaks to when you see that level of productivity. You know, we talked Ulta is rewarding us with more space in the fall as a CVS and Walgreens, which have plenty of more room to go. So I'd say we'll continue to pick up more space. It's just the natural outcome of the productivity innovation and consumer profile we have. But as long as we stay focused on driving very strong productivity growth, I think that's it's been a great formula for us to get the sequential wins. And then the last part of your question, why don't they just all give us 20 feet overnight? It always takes longer for retailers and color cosmetics, just given that you're talking about feet instead of just items that you're giving. And in some respects, we prefer that to Andrea's earlier question on our velocity assumptions. We do assume a little bit lower velocity as we pick up more space. But over time, have been able to actually build up that velocity to even higher than smaller shelf sets. We talked in our prepared remarks. We are the most productive brand that target and Walmart carry. And yet in this past year, we increased our productivity on a dollar per linear foot basis. So we have a great model, particularly through our innovation, our assortment, our project unicorn that really focuses on that navigation on shelf to improve our visual merchandising, approve the ability for consumers to shop. And we see pretty consistent increases in that productivity measure, which again is one of the best signs for future space gains.
spk09: The next question comes from Rupesh Parikh with Oppenheimer. Please go ahead.
spk12: Good evening. Thanks for taking my question. Also, congrats on a great quarter. So on the EVIC on margin guide for the year, is there anything you can share from a quarterly cadence perspective? And then I just had one additional follow up as well. As we look at operating margins, I know you guys have talked about tariffs and other opportunities that could still benefit margins, but just curious what you see as a bigger margin opportunities beyond this year.
spk07: Hi, Rupesh. So from an EVIC on margin standpoint, I think it's fair to assume given the outside sales growth that we expect in Q1 that your EVIC on margins could be stronger in Q1 versus where we have pegged them for the year. So use that as a little bit of color on how to think about it. And in terms of margin opportunity overall, just as we saw in fiscal 23 and as we spoke to, gross margin remains an opportunity for us. We've talked about some of the cost headwinds that we've carried and particularly related to transportation costs or foreign exchange and things of that nature that should come our way over time. And then also from a non-marketing SG&A standpoint, continuing to seek leverage out of that non-marketing SG&A line. We did that in fiscal 23. Our current outlook does not necessarily have that. But if things perform better than we expect, we certainly could see that be a margin driver over the year as well.
spk09: And our next question comes from John Anderson with Balloon Blair. Please go ahead.
spk16: Hey, good afternoon, everybody. Thanks for the question. Just one quick one, a bit of a follow-up to Rupesh's. On gross margin, you've talked about the benefits of mix and cost savings and then the transportation costs, particularly ocean freight. You posted your strongest gross margin rate of the year in the fourth quarter. And I think the guidance for 2024 implies a full year rate that might be somewhat below what you just did in the fourth quarter. So I just want to understand some of the puts and takes and the assumptions there. If our numbers are accurate and then whether there's just some conservatism baked in there as well, given that we're very early in the year. Thank you.
spk07: Hi, John. So, yes. So from a gross margin standpoint, I think your question is getting us to what comes off of Q4 that would drive that gross margin down. And one of the things that we talked about on the call is, you know, we have a lot of good things going our way. We have the transportation costs and things of that nature moving margin to the positive. But there are also certain costs related to the space expansion and things like that that we called out that we also have to balance that with. And to your point, it is our first quarter call and outlooking 100 basis points of gross margin expansion on top of the 300 plus that we just delivered and fiscal 23 is certainly a positive. So, as I said earlier, taking it one quarter at a time, but I'm feeling good about how it's positioned.
spk09: This concludes our question and answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to the wrong. I mean, the CEO for any closing remarks.
spk03: Well, thank you for joining us today. I'm so proud of the incredible team at beauty for again, delivering outstanding results close out fiscal 23. We look forward to seeing some of you at our upcoming investor meetings and speaking with you in August when we'll discuss our first quarter results. Thank you and be well.
spk09: The conference has now concluded. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.
spk11: They know the way.
spk08: Pretty even when they should.

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