Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc Swings To Loss, April Sales Tumble

Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) released the earnings results from its first fiscal quarter before opening bell this morning, posting losses of 29 cents per share on $260 million in revenue, a 5.6% year over year increase. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 16 cents per share on revenue of $258.01 million. In the same quarter a year ago, Lumber Liquidators reported revenue of $246.3 million and net income of 49 cents per share.

Key metrics from Lumber Liquidators’ earnings report

Net sales in March declined 12.8% to $89.4 million, and management noted that sales trends in the month were “significantly weaker” than they were in the first two months of the quarter. Comparable store net sales declined 1.8% year over year due to an average sale decline of 6.2%. A 4.4% increase in the number of invoiced customers partially offset the decline in average sale size.

In March alone, net comparable store sales declined 17.8% due to a 11.3% decline in the number of billed customers and a 6.5% decline in the size of the average sale. Lumber Liquidators posted a gross margin of 35.2%.

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Lumber Liquidators struggles in current quarter

Open orders as of April 27 declined 8.2% to $52.6 million in the current quarter. Net sales through that date declined 1.9%, which resulted in a 1.3% two-year compound annual growth rate compared to the first quarter of 2013. So far this month, comparable store net sales have declined 7.2% as a result of a decline of 5.9% in the number of invoiced customers and a 1.3% decline in the size of the average sale.

The embattled flooring company has been under attack by short-sellers, and it’s no surprise that dealing with the fallout weighed on its bottom line. Short-sellers allege that the company’s flooring contains levels of formaldehyde content that are unsafe and not compliant with the guidelines set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) even though they are advertised as such. Lumber Liquidators maintains that the testing method used to determine the formaldehyde levels was incorrect.

Lumber Liquidators announces management shakeup

Management said that at this time, they are unable to provide any kind of full year guidance. They did say they intend to open between 25 and 35 new store locations in the “expanded showroom format” and remodel between 10 and 20 current stores in that format. They expect to spend $20 million to $30 million on capital expenditures.

Also this morning, Lumber Liquidators announced that Chief Financial Officer Dan Terrell will leave on June 1. Terrell has been in that capacity since October 2006. Lumber Liquidators appointed Gregory Whirley to be senior vice president of finance and interim chief financial officer. He goes to the flooring retailer after 13 years at Ernst & Young.