Packaged snacks and wellness foods provider The Simply Good Foods Company (NASDAQ: SMPL) reports on its fiscal second quarter of 2019 on April 4. Stock in Simply Good Foods has appreciated 71% since the company's formation by the merger of Conyers Park Acquisition and NCP-ATK Holdings in July 2017. I've labeled this young consumer goods upstart as a sticky-note investment, worth keeping on investors' watch lists. Let's review four key points to follow when the company issues its quarterly results.
1. Revenue growth at or near a double-digit expansion rate
In Simply Good Foods' first-quarter earnings report, management advised shareholders that full-year revenue growth would exceed the company's long-term expansion target of 4% to 6%. Yet investors likely expect the top line to show acceleration beyond this range, as Simply Good Foods completed fiscal 2018 with a year-over-year revenue advance of 11%.
In addition, despite previously warning that supply chain issues might temporarily crimp growth, the company booked 13.4% year-over-year revenue growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Management also relayed a fast start to the second quarter during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call in January. Thus, shareholders are probably seeking a second-quarter revenue advance well above the forecast band, and nearer to a double-digit growth range.
2. Progress on Atkins supply issues
As Simply Good Foods has shifted the Atkins brand's previously narrow focus on dieting to the low-carb, wellness lifestyle market -- and hired celebrity spokesperson Rob Lowe -- the company has seen Atkins' retail takeaway increase in grocery stores.
Sharper demand has created out-of-stock issues in some retail outlets for Atkins products, however. While this issue signals longer-term volume growth, it also compresses near-term sales potential. Look for management to provide an update on Atkins' supply in the upcoming report and accompanying earnings call.
3. Capacity management across all brands
While Atkins' retail availability is Simply Good Foods' most visible supply problem, the company has experienced broader supply challenges as it introduces its SimplyProtein products, first sold in Canada, into the U.S.
Supply inadequacy across brands is illustrated by the fact that retail takeaway is far outstripping sales growth. Last quarter, CFO Todd Cunfer observed: "With POS [point of sale] consumption growth remaining in the 20% to 25% range, we're having some challenges keeping up with demand."
Again, this condition is a longer-term positive, but it can manifest unfavorably on current profit and loss statements in the form of lost sales opportunities and higher costs to fix supply chain problems in order to bring products to market faster. The company has already curtailed some targeted promotional and marketing spending in the first half of 2019 to bring the supply and demand equation back into balance.
In the upcoming earnings call, management can assuage investor concerns by providing updated metrics on the relationships between product availability, retail sales growth, and recorded revenue.
4. Share-repurchase schedule
Simply Good Foods exited the first quarter of 2019 with a healthy $210 million in cash on its balance sheet, after receiving $113 million from the exercise of 9.9 million public warrants. The company has authorized a $50 million share-repurchase program for 2019 to offset increased share count from the warrant exercise activity.
Simply Good Foods didn't repurchase shares in the first quarter. Management is likely to announce that it engaged in repurchase activity during the second quarter; the specific amount will give investors an idea of the remaining amount of share buybacks to be completed by year-end. Given Simply Good Foods' relatively small market capitalization of $1.7 billion, the repurchase program may have a slightly beneficial impact on share price over the year as the company bids for $50 million of its own stock in the marketplace.
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