Industry customer The Buckle continues to be pressured by customers gravitating toward lower prices points, especially in women’s.
In Q1, The Buckle’s same-store sales fell 1.3%, while net income fell 17% to $15.1 million.
The women’s business remains challenged, with sales in the quarter down 4.5%, accounting for 49% of total sales.
Average price points in women’s denim continues to fall. In Q1, the average price point was $76.70 vs. $82.45 during the same period last year.
Female customers are most interested in price points under $80 for denim, under $60 for footwear, and under $40 for tops, Kelli D. Molczyk, VP of Women’s Merchandising, said on an earnings conference call Friday morning.
That means the Buckle fell short of its dollar goals in denim, shorts, footwear, fashionwear and accessories. However, the company is encouraged that average unit sales were up in those categories at regular price.
The Buckle recorded increases in both dollars and units in the fashion bottoms and sweater categories.
The most popular denim styles during the quarter were ankle lengths with distressed detailing. To appeal to the desire for more affordable denim, the company launched a new private label brand, Willow & Root, that has price points under $50 and was well received.
Closed toe casual tennis shoes and boots performed well in women’s footwear, as did new fashion wedges.
The men’s business rose slightly during the quarter and accounted for 51% of total sales.
Denim sales were steady, and footwear was the strongest growth department.
The Buckle went big with elastic-waist shorts this spring, and their bet paid off with increases in both dollars and units in the shorts category.
In men’s and women’s combined, accessories fell 1% and footwear rose 9.5%.
Company-wide, The Buckle continues to grow its private label business, which accounted for 34.5% of total sales in the quarter.
The Buckle operates 449 retail stores in 42 states.