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Tiffany Montgomery
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The Buckle kills it again led by denim

By Tiffany Montgomery
May 23, 2008 7:04 AM

Nearly every other retail chain is feeling some pain from the tough economy. Not The Buckle.


The company reported a 53.5 percent jump in first quarter profit yesterday. Sales increased 32.4 percent to $160.3 million.


Same-store sales jumped 25.6 percent for the quarter.


Here are some more details from the call, including why executives think the chain is doing so well.


Mens: Sales rose 38 percent, led by denim, woven and knit tops, active apparel and accessories. The average denim price point rose to $76.15, up from $70.70.


Womens: Sales rose 28 percent led by denim, knit tops, active apparel and accessories. The average denim price point rose to $78.30, up from $75.55.


Accessories: Sales rose 24 percent, and comprised 7 percent of total sales.


Footwear: Sales fell 13 percent, and comprised 5 percent of sales.


Denim: Accounted for 42 percent of sales, down slightly from 42.5 percent the same time last year. Executives said they have expanded the number of brands, adding smaller, niche brands with higher price points.


New stores: 20 will open this year, and 13 remodels.


Capital expenditures
: The Buckle will spend $30 million to $32 million.


Regional results
: Unlike PacSun and Zumiez, The Buckle said it's not feeling an impact from the tough housing market in some states. If certain stores aren't performing, it is usually due to an inexperienced or underperforming store manager.


Improved margins: The Buckle improved margins to 40.9 percent with better sell through of key brands, fewer markdowns and special make ups with vendors.


What's the secret: Executives were asked why The Buckle is doing so well. CEO Dennis Nelson said the company hasn't changed it strategy, it is just executing better. He also said the merchandising teams in each category are doing a great job. Vendors creating special merchandise for The Buckle and the tops business anticipating and reacting to new styles also has helped.

 


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