As the company transitioned to a new CEO, rural lifestyle retailer Tractor Supply reported solid fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019 results.
Net sales increased 2.7% to $2.19 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 from $2.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Comparable store sales increased 0.1% versus an increase of 5.7% in the prior year’s fourth quarter. The comparable store sales results included an increase in comparable average ticket of 1.8% and a decrease in comparable transaction count of 1.7%.
Net income in the fourth quarter was $144.2 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, compared to net income of $136.9 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In the full fiscal year, net sales increased 5.6% to $8.35 billion from $7.91 billion in fiscal 2018. Comparable store sales increased 2.7% versus a 5.1% increase in fiscal 2018. Net income was $562.4 million, or $4.66 per diluted share, compared to $532.4 million, or $4.31 per diluted share, in fiscal 2018.
Greg Sandfort, Tractor Supply’s strategic advisor and retired CEO, effective January 13, 2020, said, “Overall, 2019 was a solid year for the Tractor Supply team as we achieved record revenue and net income. While our comparable store sales performance for the fourth quarter was below our expectations, the weakness was driven principally by the effect of a period of warmer than expected weather impacting the sales of seasonal products and softness in several holiday discretionary categories. Despite the sales trends in the quarter, the Tractor Supply team executed well, controlling what we could control. This performance resulted in earnings per share in line with our guidance range as the team delivered gross margin expansion accompanied with disciplined cost management. I am optimistic about the future of Tractor Supply and where Hal and the team will lead the company in the future.”
Hal Lawton, who was named Tractor Supply’s president and CEO, effective January 13, 2020, said, “I would like to thank Greg for his outstanding leadership and dedication to Tractor Supply over the last 12 years. As we move into 2020 and beyond, Tractor Supply is well positioned to build on our strengths, and I am excited about our opportunities for growth. At Tractor Supply, we have a differentiated customer experience, a robust set of competencies, and are well positioned to become an even more integral part of our customers’ lives. In the coming weeks and months, I will be focused on listening and learning from Tractor Supply team members and working with the leadership team to position Tractor Supply for continued long-term success.”