Zumiez, the American action sports retailer that owns Blue Tomato in Europe and Fast Times in Australia, improved its net profits by 12.9 percent to $42.8 million in the fourth fiscal quarter ended Jan. 30, 2021, on revenues that rose by 0.8 percent to $331.5 million. E-commerce surged by 31.8 percent, but comparable brick-and-mortar sales declined by 3.1 percent, as stores were open for 94 percent of normal opening hours due to Covid-19 restrictions.
While sales in North America rose by 2 percent to $285.2 million, Blue Tomato and Fast Times recorded a combined decline of 3 percent to $46.3 million, or a 13 percent drop in constant currencies. Hardgoods, accessories and men’s performed well, while Women’s and footwear were the worst performing categories. The management said the quarter was especially tough for Blue Tomato, which is a strong player for products like snowboards, because the holiday shopping season coincided with stay-at-home orders and the closure of physical stores and winter sports resorts.
Overall, the gross margin inched up by 0.1 percentage points to 39.1 percent, led by improvements in product margin, which were offset by higher fulfillment costs. Operating expenses were trimmed by 5 percent.
For the full year, sales were down by 4 percent to $990.6 million, the gross margin contracted by 0.1 percentage points to 35.3 percent and net income increased by 14 percent to $76.2 million. It ended the year with 722 stores.
The company said sales in the first quarter through March 6 are down by about 4 percent from last year, with comparable sales down by 0.4 percent. E-commerce grew by 29.5 percent. International sales have recovered, growing by 11 percent, but North American sales are down by 6 percent. Zumiez did not provide any guidance the rest of 2021, but said it expects revenues to exceed 2019 levels and net income and the gross margin to also improve.
Twenty-two store openings are planned this year, including 12 for Blue Tomato. Five or six stores will be closed.