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Press Release: Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results

· 02/04/2021 16:10
Fiscal 2021 Outlook Number of new stores 5-6 Number of relocations 3-5 Daily average comparable store sales growth -2.0% to 2.0% Diluted earnings per share $0.60 to $0.70 Capital expenditures (in millions) $28 to $35-- Net sales increased 15.2% to $265.0 million; -- Daily average comparable store sales increased 12.7%; -- Operating income increased 82.7% to $5.2 million; -- Net income increased 94.4% to $3.6 million with diluted earnings per share of $0.16; -- Adjusted EBITDA increased 25.5% to $13.2 million; and -- Opened one new store, resulting in a 3.2% new store growth rate for the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2020.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results

PR Newswire

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Feb. 4, 2021

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Feb. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC) today announced results for its first quarter of fiscal 2021 ended December 31, 2020 and confirmed its outlook for fiscal 2021.

Highlights for First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Compared to First Quarter Fiscal 2020

"We had a strong start to fiscal 2021, with first quarter results reflecting robust sales and profitability growth. Daily average comparable store sales increased 12.7%, net sales increased 15.2% and net income increased 94.4%, compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Our results continue to reflect strong increases in average basket size consistent with recent trends as customers made fewer shopping trips to our stores but increased their spend per trip. Our success is directly attributable to our commitment to our founding principles, which include providing the highest quality, healthy foods at an Always Affordable Price(SM) . These principles truly speak to today's consumer, " said Kemper Isely, Co-President. "We are extremely grateful for the dedication of each of our good4u(SM) Crew members. We continue to prioritize the safety of our customers and crew amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."

Operating Results -- First Quarter Fiscal 2021 Compared to First Quarter Fiscal 2020

During the first quarter of fiscal 2021, net sales increased $35.0 million, or 15.2%, to $265.0 million compared to the same period in fiscal 2020, driven by a $29.2 million increase in comparable store sales and a $5.8 million increase in new store sales. Daily average comparable store sales increased 12.7% in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to a 1.9% increase in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The daily average comparable store sales increase during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 reflected a 21.4% increase in daily average transaction size, partially offset by a 7.1% decrease in daily average transaction count. During the first quarter of fiscal 2021, recent trends continued as customers made fewer shopping trips to our stores but increased their spend per trip. The increase in net sales during the three months ended December 31, 2020 was primarily driven by the continued strong demand for food at home during the pandemic, in addition to marketing initiatives, promotional campaigns and increased membership in and usage of the {N}power(R) customer loyalty program.

Gross profit increased $12.5 million, or 20.7%, to $73.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020 compared to $60.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019. Gross profit reflects earnings after both product and occupancy expenses. Gross margin increased to 27.6% for the three months ended December 31, 2020 compared to 26.3% for the three months ended December 31, 2019. The increase in gross margin for the three months ended December 31, 2020 was primarily driven by store occupancy and shrink expense leverage, as well as an improved product margin.

Store expenses during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 increased 17.3%, to $60.3 million, compared to the same period in fiscal 2020. Store expenses as a percentage of sales increased to 22.8% during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to 22.4% in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Elevated labor-related expenses were the primary driver of the increase in store expenses during the quarter.

Administrative expenses increased 25.5% to $7.3 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to $5.8 million for the same period in fiscal 2020. Administrative expenses as a percentage of sales increased to 2.8% during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to 2.5% in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Operating income increased 82.7% to $5.2 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to the comparable period in fiscal 2020. Operating margin during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 increased to 2.0% compared to 1.2% in the same period in fiscal 2020.

Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $3.6 million, or $0.16 of diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $1.9 million, or $0.08 of diluted earnings per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 25.5% to $13.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to $10.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $24.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, no outstanding balance on the Company's $50.0 million revolving credit facility and $35.0 million outstanding on the fully drawn term loan facility.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company generated $12.3 million in cash from operations and invested $3.7 million in net capital expenditures.

Dividend Announcement

Today, the Company announced the declaration of a quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per common share. The dividend will be paid on March 17, 2021 to all stockholders of record at the close of business on March 1, 2021.

Growth and Development

During the first quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company opened one new store, ending the quarter with a total store count of 160 stores in 20 states. The Company's one store opening during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to opening two new stores in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, resulting in 3.2% and 2.6% unit growth rates for the twelve month periods ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. Since December 31, 2020, the Company has not opened any new stores.

As of February 4, 2021, the Company has signed leases for six new stores which will be located in Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, and Oregon. These new stores are planned to open during fiscal 2021 and beyond.

Fiscal 2021 Outlook

The Company is confirming its fiscal 2021 outlook, which was previously announced on November 19, 2020. The fiscal 2021 outlook reflects current trends in light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 environment and related government mandates. While the Company cannot predict the duration or severity of the pandemic and related government mandates, the Company expects these factors will continue to impact its operations and financial performance through fiscal 2021. The Company expects:

Earnings Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call today at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time) to discuss this earnings release. The dial-in number is 1-888-347-6606 (US); 1-855-669-9657 (Canada); or 1-412-902-4289 (International). The conference ID is "Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage." A simultaneous audio webcast will be available at http://Investors.NaturalGrocers.com and archived for a minimum of 30 days.

About Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC) is an expanding specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. The products sold by Natural Grocers must meet strict quality guidelines and may not contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners, or partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils. The Company sells only USDA certified organic produce and exclusively pasture-raised, non-confinement dairy products, and free-range eggs. Natural Grocers' flexible smaller-store format allows it to offer affordable prices in a shopper-friendly, safe and convenient retail environment. The Company also provides extensive free science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. The Company, founded in 1955, has 160 stores in 20 states.

Visit www.NaturalGrocers.com for more information and store locations.

Forward-Looking Statements

The following constitutes a "safe harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Except for the historical information contained herein, statements in this release are "forward-looking statements" and are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. All statements that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements because of factors such as risks and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and government mandates, the economy, changes in the Company's industry, business strategy, goals and expectations concerning the Company's market position, future operations, margins, profitability, capital expenditures, liquidity and capital resources, future growth, other financial and operating information and other risks detailed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020 (the Form 10-K) and the Company's subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The information contained herein speaks only as of the date of this release and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements, except as may be required by the securities laws.

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