Grocery Outlet's (GO) Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates, Stock Down

·4-min read

Shares of Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. GO plunged roughly 6% in after-hour trading on May 11 following the company’s first-quarter 2021 results, wherein sales missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and fell year over year. Also, its bottom line declined year over year but surpassed the consensus mark in the reported quarter.

Decline in the company’s comparable store sales mainly hurt the top line. Notably, this Emeryville, CA-based company saw a comparable-store sales decline of 8.2% during the quarter under review. This followed an increase of 7.9% in the preceding quarter. We note that the company’s comparable-store sales rose 17.4% during the first quarter of last year.

Moving on, management informed that second-quarter-to-date comparable store sales are in the negative low-double digits.

Q1 Insights

The owner and operator of grocery store chains delivered adjusted earnings of 23 cents a share that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. However, the bottom line plunged 23.3% from 30 cents reported in the prior-year quarter.

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. Quote

Net sales of $752.5 million dropped 1% from the year-ago quarter level and lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $759.8 million. However, this downside was partly offset by the sales contribution from 34 net stores opened since the end of the first quarter of last year. In fact, new stores performed in line with management’s expectations, thus contributing to sales volume.

Margins & Costs

We note that gross profit dropped 2.2% year over year to $231.9 million. Also, gross margin contracted 40 basis points (bps) to 30.8% on higher commodity and freight costs. During the quarter, adjusted EBITDA tumbled 13.7% to $48.8 million.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses rose 0.9% to $188.6 million owing to higher investments in personnel and infrastructure as well as increased store occupancy and maintenance costs emerging from store expansions. As a percentage of net sales, the SG&A expenses increased 50 bps to 25.1%.

Store Update

Grocery Outlet opened 10 stores and shuttered one during the first quarter, taking the total count to 389 stores in six states.

Moreover, the company has opened six additional stores so far in the second quarter and intends to open 36-38 stores and close one during 2021. Well, it remains consistent with its 10% annual target.

Other Financial Aspects

Grocery Outlet ended first-quarter 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $95.3 million. Total net long-term debt was $449.7 million, while stockholders’ equity amounted to $948.1 million.

Net cash provided by operating activities were $26.4 million during the reported quarter.

The company incurred capital expenditures (excluding the impact of tenant improvement allowances) of $36.6 million during the quarter under review. Management continues to envision capital expenditures (net of tenant improvement allowances) of about $130 million for 2021.


Management expects second-quarter gross margin at roughly 30.5%, reflecting normalized inventory turns. Its flexible supply chain model is likely to mitigate headwinds such as commodity and freight costs. Moreover, the company projects adjusted EBITDA margin at nearly 6.5% of sales for the second quarter.

Further, management is encouraged by the company’s flexible business model and healthy inventory position. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is also on track with plans to broaden its store base. In the long run, it is committed toward accomplishing objectives of 1-3% comps growth, 10% annual unit growth and strong margins.

Better-Ranked Consumer Staples Stocks

Chewy CHWY has a long-term earnings growth rate of 20% and currently sports a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Albertsons Companies ACI has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Newell Brands NWL, also with a Zacks Rank #2, has an average earnings surprise of 72.1% for the trailing four quarters.

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