Dollar Tree 1Q15 Earnings Call Notes

Easter shift affected the quarter

“This was a unique quarter with several external factors impacting Dollar Tree and other retailers. In particular, a calendar shift with Easter falling two weeks earlier this year, we estimate the impact of the holiday calendar shift was a negative $8 million to sales and additionally, the recent west coast port slowdown increased in severity, it lasted longer than expected and it negatively impacted our earnings as higher margin import merchandise was delayed in getting to the stores.’

Reasonably caught up from the ports

“The good news is that we are reasonably caught up in the DCs, the merchandised floor of our imports coming through the west coast is more normalized, product is shipping to stores more efficiently and our customers are seeing fresh new high-value merchandise in the stores.”

Seasonal energy was high

“Seasonal energy was high throughout the quarter, beginning with Valentine’s Day. In addition to party essentials, our stores were well stocked with cards, gifts, gift bags, balloons and candy for that special purpose or that special person. Seasonal sell-through was good and stores quickly and efficiently transitioned the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.”

E-commerce from everyone

“For 2015, we have focused commitment, driving traffic to our website. In addition to creating brand awareness and brand advocacy, we’re committed to driving sales to both our e-commerce division and our stores. In the first quarter, we saw more than 12 million visits to our website through desktops, laptops, pads and phones.”

FDO is a complex merger. It’s taken longer than we anticipated

” this is an extremely large and complex transaction, involving more than 13,000 retail store locations. It is the largest of any previous retail merger. Needless to say, this process has taken longer than any of us anticipated. We’re continuing to work very hard to close the transaction as soon as possible and our current expectation is that we can have this transaction completed in early July.”

There are many stakeholders in a business

“we will manage this business with a focus on what is best for our stakeholders, including our customers, our vendor partners, our associates and importantly, our long-term shareholders.’

We’re pretty much past the port issue

“most importantly, for the most part this port issue is behind us. And as we entered second quarter, it’s early in second quarter, we were able to sell our Mother’s Day product. We had really, really nice Mother’s Day sell-through, so it’s nice performance in our stores for Mother’s Day product. We’re seeing new product on the shelf. When our customers come in now, they’re seeing all the things that we expected them to see that we wanted them to see and they’re reacting pretty well to it. So we’re pleased to be past. Best news about the port slowdown is we’re pretty much past it.”

We watch and shop at our competitors

“We shop other retailers. We watch what they are doing. We strive to be proactive and not reactionary to what others are doing. That said, we’re not seeing, I don’t see any significant changes in the overall competitive landscape. It’s always been very competitive.”

Our goal is to be competitive with wages, but no plans to change them right now

“Our goal is to pay a competitive wage by market in order to fill our workforce needs based on the fulfilling rates. We made no plans for a sweeping change to our minimum wage rates.’

Freight costs are a headwind because not enough capacity in trucking as many firms were hit hard last cycle

“we do expect freight costs to be a headwind as we go through the year. And it’s not only the driver piece of it, but it’s also the fact that as we went through the economic down cycle, there are many less firms out there today, trucking firms and so the competition has gotten less in some respects.’

We’re off to a good start

“I will tell you that it’s early on in the first quarter. So it’s hard to declare a victory right now, but we feel like we started off where we needed to start.”