2016 Retrospective: 2016 Rough Ride for Buckle, Rally for Zumiez

Retail

As of Thursday, December 15, 2016

On Dec. 13, The Buckle Inc. announced a deal with Affliction, the Seal Beach, Calif.–based brand, to be the exclusive retailer for the brand’s collection inspired by the “Fast and Furious” film franchise. The announcement might be a good way to end 2016. It’s been a rough ride for the Kearney, Neb.–headquartered retailer.

The multi-brand retailer reported double-digit same-store-sales declines for all but a few months during the year. The last time it reported a comp increase was in June 2015, when the company posted a 0.6 percent uptick. Analyst Josh Arnold described the retailer’s third quarter as “horrendous” and didn’t forecast much relief in sight, according to a Dec. 5 note published in Seeking Alpha. However, company supporters counter that Buckle has a strong balance sheet and a high profit margin and will be able to weather tough times.

Zumiez Inc. rallied during its third quarter after posting declines in its same-store sales through 2016 until August. At the end of that month, it announced that it acquired Australian store chain Fast Times Skateboarding for $6.9 million. The Aussie buy could have been a charm. The Washington state–headquartered retailer’s comps have been up since then. Richard Brooks, Zumiez’s chief executive officer, said that the uptick was the result of a good Back-to-School season. The retailer’s third-quarter sales were announced on Dec. 1, and sales came in above the original guidance, according to Jeff Van Sinderen of B. Riley & Co. In a Dec. 2 note, Van Sinderen wrote that he slightly increased his estimates for the retailer because its year-over-year comparisons were going to be easy to beat and the company had increased inventory in the genres that had demonstrated high popularity with consumers.