Retail

Stitch Fix shares fall despite earnings beat, with 'softer' fiscal first quarter ahead

Key Points
  • Stitch Fix's fiscal fourth quarter earnings beat Wall Street's expectations.
  • Revenue matches analysts' estimates.
  • The online styling service says it grew its active client base 18% year over year.
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Stitch Fix beats earnings estimates but shares fall after hours

Stitch Fix's active client base grew 18% year over year, reaching 3.2 million people, the online styling service said when it reported earnings after the bell on Tuesday.

That's about in-line with the 3.23 million analysts were expecting, according to FactSet. This number tracks the total number of users who've received a box of clothing from Stitch Fix in the preceding 12 months.

Looking ahead, however, the company said it's planning for "softer" results in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Its shares initially tanked as much as 12% in after-hours trading following the release. The stock was recently down about 8%, having closed the day up 4.2%.

Here's how Stitch Fix did during its fiscal fourth quarter compared with what analysts were expecting, based on data pulled from Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 7 cents vs. 4 cents expected
  • Revenue: $432.1 million vs. $432 million expected

Stitch Fix reported a profit for the quarter ended Aug. 3 of $7.2 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with $18.3 million, or 18 cents a share, a year ago. That was 3 cents better than analysts polled by Refinitiv were expecting.

Revenue climbed 36% to $432.1 million from $318.3 million a year ago. That was about in-line with expectations for $432 million.

"These gains are a testament to the strength of our data science capabilities," CEO Katrina Lake said in a statement.

The company said it managed to grow revenue per active client in every quarter of fiscal 2019, which included 9% growth year over year, during the fourth quarter.

The company said its expenses in fiscal 2019 totaled $679.6 million compared with $493.0 million last year. It said it's been spending more on advertising to reach more customers, and advertising expenses grew to $39 million during the latest quarter from $28.9 million a year ago.

In addition to growing out its men's and kids businesses, Stitch Fix has been investing in other ways to get people to spend more. During the latest quarter, for example, it rolled out the option for users to buy items a la carte, outside of their scheduled box shipments.

It says it continues to perfect its algorithms that take the wealth of data Stitch Fix has on shoppers' tastes to match them with clothing styles and brands they'll want to keep.

Looking to the first quarter of fiscal 2020, Stitch Fix is calling for sales to fall within a range of $438 million to $442 million, or growing between 20% and 21%. That would be below Street expectations of $451 million. It expects annual sales to be between $1.9 billion and $1.93 billion, while analysts have been calling for $1.91 billion.

"We've planned [the first quarter] softer than our full-year growth for two reasons," Stitch Fix said in a letter to shareholders. "First, we've had greater success this year with summer products that carry lower average unit retails and average order values. Second, we spent less on marketing in late Q4 '19, which meant we had fewer clients to contribute to revenue at the start of Q1 '20."

As of Tuesday's market close, Stitch Fix shares had climbed about 18% this year.