Weather Chills Tractor Supply’s Q1 Prospects

With weather cited as a factor, Tractor Supply Co. provided a business update for the first quarter ended April 1, when comparable store sales decreased 2.2%.

Net sales for the quarter increased 6.6% to $1.56 billion.

The comp decline resulted from a decrease in comparable transaction count of 1.4% and a decrease in average ticket of 0.9%, the company reported. Lower sales of seasonal merchandise and the impact of deflation were factors behind the comp decrease. On a regional basis, sales were softest in the northern part of the company’s market area, where weather had a more pronounced impact on sales.

In reviewing sales performance, the company said it now expects first quarter net income per diluted share to range from 45 cents to 46 cents.

Greg Sandfort, Tractor Supply CEO, said, “Weather can influence the demand for certain products, and while we had a challenging quarter with respect to sales and margin, our business is more accurately assessed by the halves, not the quarters. We believe seasonal merchandise sales will improve as we move further into the spring selling season. We have a solid core business that is focused on a dedicated lifestyle customer who depends upon us for the products they need. Despite the challenging start to the fiscal year, we believe there is significant business ahead of us. We are excited about our upcoming merchandise initiatives and the continued execution of our cross-channel, customer centric growth strategy, which includes the recent expansion of Neighbor’s Club and buy online pick up in store.”