The Container Store saw its preliminary sales decline in the fourth quarter ended March 28, with the pandemic impacting the retailer’s performance. The company noted that one bright spot, however, was the increase in online customer orders.
The company’s preliminary unaudited consolidated net sales in the fourth quarter are estimated to be $241.3 million, down 4.7% compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, due primarily to the impact of COVID-19. Net sales in The Container Store retail business are estimated to be $224.1 million, down approximately 4.9%. Elfa International third-party net sales are estimated to be $17.3 million, down approximately 1.1%.
Comparable store sales are estimated to decrease 3.6% with Custom Closets sales expected to increase 1.5%, positively contributing approximately 80 basis points to comparable store sales. Other product categories are expected to decline 9%.
For the fiscal year, ended March 28, the company’s consolidated net sales are estimated to be $916 million, up approximately 2.3% compared to fiscal 2018. Net sales at TCS are estimated to be $852.3 million, up approximately 2.7%. Elfa International third-party net sales are estimated to be $63.6 million, down approximately 2.9% compared to fiscal 2018.
Comparable store sales are estimated to increase 2.9% with Custom Closets sales expected to be up 7.6%, contributing approximately 350 basis points of the increase in comparable store sales. Other product categories are expected to decline 1%, negatively contributing approximately 60 basis points to comparable store sales.
Melissa Reiff, chairwoman and CEO, The Container Store, said, “Our fourth quarter performance was tracking to our expectations until the last few weeks of the quarter when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in disruption to our operations, including store closures. As previously announced, to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers, we temporarily closed all stores and shifted select locations to operate with click & pick up/contactless curbside delivery and scheduled in-store appointments. We also made difficult decisions to swiftly cut costs and reduce cash outlays to preserve our financial health during this time. We will follow state and local directives when making re-opening decisions.”
Reiff added, “Since the beginning of fiscal 2020, which began on March 29, online customer orders have nearly quadrupled the level of the prior year. While we are not providing financial guidance for fiscal 2020 at this time, with the strength of our online business and the swift cost actions we are implementing, I feel confident in our ability to successfully navigate this unprecedented environment.”