National Vision Reports 13 Percent Sales Gain and 69th Consecutive Comp-Store Increase in Q1

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DULUTH, Ga.—National Vision Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: EYE) reported Thursday that its net revenue increased 13.0 percent to $461.2 million (from $408.0 million) in the first quarter, while comparable-store sales rose 6.2 percent in the period (an increase of 6.7 percent on an adjusted basis). It marked the 69th consecutive quarter of positive comparable-store sales growth, and was the company’s best first-quarter, comparable-store sales increase since 2015, National Vision said in its announcement. Net income totaled $17.4 million (compared with $24.5 million in the year-ago period), while adjusted net income increased 0.9 percent to $26.7 million in the quarter ended March 30, according to the announcement. Adjusted EBITDA increased 4.2 percent to $63.3 million.

Reade Fahs, chief executive officer, said the results “reflect the ongoing strength of our differentiated business model and compelling value proposition that continue to resonate with customers.” He noted that the comparable-store sales growth was driven by a balance of increases in average ticket and customer transactions.

The comparable-store sales growth included an 8.2 percent increase for the America's Best segment and 6.5 percent for the Eyeglass World stores. The company also noted that its net promoter scores improved year-over-year with growth in America's Best, Eyeglass World, Walmart and its military retail brands.

“We believe the industry is continuing to shift to the value segment overall, which has been going on for a while,” Fahs said on a conference call with analysts following the announcement. He said the company continues to believe it is “gaining market share in a fragmented market.”

He also noted that with the timing of tax refunds and other factors, the company’s second quarter is “off to a softer start,” but that it still expects the record streak of positive comp-store results to continue in the second quarter.

While opening 26 new stores in the quarter, National Vision said it also closed three locations and ended the quarter with 1,105 stores, which represented store-count growth of 7.6 percent over the March 31, 2018 to March 30, 2019, period. Its expansion efforts are led by the America's Best segment (24 new stores in the quarter and 74 in the last 12 months) and Eyeglass World (two new stores in the quarter and 11 in the last 12 months).

The company reaffirmed its outlook for the year, including the projection to open approximately 75 new stores this year and annual sales in the range of $1.675 billion to $1.705 billion.