Chico’s FAS Earnings Call Nuggets: Calendar Impact and Media Details

Chico’s FAS (NYSE:CHS) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Calendar Impact

Rick Snyder – Maxim Group: The shift in the Chico’s brand due to the calendar could you quantify how much that shifted in sales for the first quarter?

David F. Dyer – President and CEO: Well it was one of our major events of the season that shifted from the second quarter to the first quarter. But I think that, if I had to really sum up the first quarter and what the issues were in Chico’s I would say the major thing I would say shorts, crops, tanks and tees. Anything that is summer was tough, most of our sales decrease was in those four categories that I just mentioned, and obviously I think it’s obvious why, we excel in spring season. First quarter is one of our stronger quarters of the years and we went off of 100 year record warmth the year before and then into I think record cold.

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

Pamela K. Knous – EVP and CFO: Michael, the last 60 year’s record cold.

David F. Dyer – President and CEO: Last 60 years. I mean, we had days, if we want to use Chicago as an example where we had a 95 degree temperature decrease in February from the year before I mean it was unbelievable. So that really was what happened to us in the first quarter is our spring assortments which are normally very, very strong just didn’t sell. Actually, if you look at regions outside of the Midwest and the Northeast we did comp, but when you looked at the Midwest and Northeast which was hit continually by storm after storm, that’s where we really lost traction.

Rick Snyder – Maxim Group: Just one other question. You mentioned on the last call that the gross margin was going to be a bit choppy because of the calendar shift. I thought there was a benefit to Q1. When does that reverse, is it Q2 or Q4 that that reverses out? In other words, we traded a – because of the calendar shift we traded a full price or actually it was a markdown week last year for a full price week this year, in Q1 I believe?

Todd Vogensen – VP, IR: I don’t know that we intended to say quite that way. Clearly, throughout the year there are ups and down with margin, but we really didn’t get into kind of the quarterly swings, sorry.

David F. Dyer – President and CEO: Yeah. We talked about some choppiness in the sales, but because of events moving, but I don’t remember talking about margin. Perhaps we did, we’d have to go back and talk about that. I don’t remember that.

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

Media Details

Neely Tamminga – Piper Jaffray: Dave what do you guys do from a media buy perspective?  You guys are pretty powerful when you go on TV, especially across all brands. How have you been able to adjust kind of the media buy to kind of maybe save some powder on the cake for later?

David F. Dyer – President and CEO: Well, the media, we buy in advance, so there is some flexibility which we exercise. But basically, you kind of lock and load early one. So, for the first quarter, which is traditionally very strong, we locked and loaded and unfortunately, we fired shots into snow storms with our spring assortment. So, we do have some strong media plans. We think we have great items. This so stunning bra is absolutely fantastic and actually it is coming off to be one of the better bra launches that we have had. That didn’t launch until really the beginning of this quarter. Soma is, I think I said earlier is back up to double digit comps, so we are really, really pleased with the way that that’s powering through. We have other TV plan for both, White House/Black Market as we get into fall and certainly for Chico’s as well. We believe in the power of TV, but hopefully, the next big campaign that we run, we will be running it when the customer is able to get to our stores and buy.

A Closer Look: Chico FAS Earnings Cheat Sheet>>