10-K 1 home-20190126x10k.htm 10-K home_Current folio_10K_FY19

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 


 

FORM 10-K

 

☒ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended January 26, 2019

 

or

 

☐TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File Number: 001-37849

 

AT HOME GROUP INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 


 

Delaware

 

45-3229563

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

1600 East Plano Parkway
Plano, Texas

 

75074

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

(972) 265-6227

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  ☒ Yes  ☐ No

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ☐ Yes  ☒ No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  ☒ Yes  ☐ No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  ☒ Yes  ☐ No

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

Smaller reporting company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  ☐ Yes  ☒ No

 

The aggregate market value of the common stock of the Registrant held by non-affiliates of the Registrant on July 28, 2018, based upon the closing price of the Registrant's common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange on July 27, 2018, was $1,202,740,687.  

 

There were 63,648,028 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding as of March 22, 2019.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Portions of the registrant's definitive Proxy Statement for its 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended January 26, 2019.

 

 

 

 


 

AT HOME GROUP INC.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

 

 

PART I 

 

 

 

 

Item 1. 

Business

1

 

 

 

Item 1A. 

Risk Factors

11

 

 

 

Item 1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

31

 

 

 

Item 2. 

Properties

31

 

 

 

Item 3. 

Legal Proceedings

32

 

 

 

Item 4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

32

 

 

 

PART II 

 

 

 

 

Item 5. 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

33

 

 

 

Item 6. 

Selected Financial Data

34

 

 

 

Item 7. 

Management Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

36

 

 

 

Item 7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

58

 

 

 

Item 8. 

Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

59

 

 

 

Item 9. 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

59

 

 

 

Item 9A. 

Controls and Procedures

59

 

 

 

Item 9B. 

Other Information

60

 

 

 

PART III 

 

 

 

Item 10. 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

60

 

 

 

Item 11. 

Executive Compensation

60

 

 

 

Item 12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

60

 

 

 

Item 13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

60

 

 

 

Item 14. 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

61

 

 

 

PART IV 

 

 

 

Item 15. 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

61

 

 

 

Item 16. 

Form 10-K Summary

61

 

 

 

 


 

PART I

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). You can generally identify forward-looking statements by our use of forward-looking terminology such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “continue”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “may”, “might”, “plan”, “potential”, “predict”, “seek”, “should”, or “vision”, or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. In particular, statements about the markets in which we operate, our expected new store openings, our real estate strategy, growth targets and potential growth opportunities and future capital expenditures, estimates of expenses we may incur in connection with equity incentive awards to management, and our expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, prospects, assumptions or future events or performance contained in this report are forward-looking statements.

 

We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including the risk factors described in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, many of which are beyond our control. These and other important factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this report are not guarantees of future performance and our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate, may differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this report. In addition, even if our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and events in the industry in which we operate, are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this report, they may not be predictive of results or developments in future periods.

 

Any forward-looking statement that we make in this Annual Report on Form 10-K speaks only as of the date of such statement. Except as required by law, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise, or to publicly announce any update or revision to, any of the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this report. You should, however, review the factors and risks we describe in the reports we will file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) after the date of filing this report.

 

Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to “the Company”, “At Home”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to At Home Group Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

 

ITEM 1.  BUSINESS

 

History and Company Overview

 

At Home is the leading home décor superstore based on the number of our locations and our large format stores that we believe dedicate more space per store to home décor than any other player in the industry. We are focused on providing the broadest assortment of products for any room, in any style, for any budget. We utilize our space advantage to out-assort our competition, offering over 50,000 SKUs throughout our stores. Our differentiated merchandising strategy allows us to identify on-trend products and then value engineer those products to provide desirable aesthetics at attractive price points for our customers. Over 70% of our products are unbranded, private label or specifically designed for us. We believe that our broad and comprehensive offering and compelling value proposition combine to create a leading destination for home décor with the opportunity to continue taking market share in a highly fragmented and growing industry.

 

As of January 26, 2019, our store base was comprised of 180 stores across 37 states, averaging approximately 110,000 square feet per store. We utilize a flexible and disciplined real estate strategy that allows us to successfully open and operate stores from 75,000 to 165,000 square feet across a wide range of formats and markets. Virtually all of our

1


 

stores that were open as of the beginning of fiscal year 2019 are profitable, and stores that have been open for more than a year average approximately $7 million in net sales. Our Plano, Texas distribution center should be able to support up to approximately 220 stores, and together with our second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which is expected to become fully operational in the fiscal year ending January 25, 2020 (“fiscal year 2020”),  our distribution centers should collectively be able to support more than 350 stores. In addition, based on our internal analysis and research conducted for us by Buxton Company, a leading real estate analytics firm (referred to herein as “Buxton”), we believe that we have the potential to expand to at least 600 stores in the United States over the long term although we do not currently have an anticipated timeframe to reach this potential.

 

At Home (formerly known as Garden Ridge) was founded in 1979 in Garden Ridge, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio. We quickly gained a loyal following in our Texas home market and expanded thereafter. Throughout our history, we have cultivated a passionate customer base that shops our stores for the unique, wide assortment of products offered at value price points. After our Company was acquired in 2011 by an investment group led by certain affiliates of AEA Investors LP (collectively, “AEA”) and Starr Investment Holdings, LLC (“Starr Investments” and, together with AEA, the “Sponsors”), we began a series of strategic investments in the business. We believe that the core strengths of our business combined with the significant investments made in the years following our acquisition by our Sponsors position us to grow sales and expand our store base.

 

We have developed a highly efficient operating model that seeks to drive growth and profitability while minimizing operating risk. Our merchandising, sourcing and pricing strategies generate strong and consistent performance across our product offering and throughout the entire year. Through specialized in‑store merchandising and visual navigation elements, we enable a self‑service model that minimizes in‑store staffing needs and allows us to deliver exceptional value to our customers.

 

We believe that our differentiated home décor concept, flexible real estate strategy and highly efficient operating model create competitive advantages that have driven our financial success.

 

Initial and Secondary Public Offerings

 

On August 3, 2016, our Registration Statement on Form S-1 relating to our initial public offering was declared effective by the SEC pursuant to which we registered an aggregate of 9,967,050 shares of our common stock (including 1,300,050 shares subject to the underwriters' over-allotment option). Our common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), on August 4, 2016 under the ticker symbol “HOME”. 

 

On October 31, 2017, our Registration Statement on Form S-3, pursuant to which we registered all 50,582,545 shares of our common stock owned by our Sponsors, was declared effective by the SEC.

 

On December 11, 2017, we completed a secondary offering in which our Sponsors sold an aggregate of 5,750,000 shares of our common stock (which included 750,000 shares subject to the underwriters’ over-allotment option). On April 2, 2018, we completed a secondary offering in which our Sponsors sold an aggregate of 6,900,000 shares of our common stock (which included 900,000 shares subject to the underwriters’ over-allotment option). On June 14, 2018, we completed a secondary offering in which our Sponsors sold an aggregate of 8,450,000 shares of our common stock (which included 450,000 shares subject to the underwriters’ over-allotment option). On September 11, 2018, we completed a secondary offering in which our Sponsors sold an aggregate of 10,000,000 shares of our common stock. We did not sell any shares of our common stock in, or receive any proceeds from, these secondary offerings. After giving effect to these secondary offerings, the Sponsors held approximately 26.5% of our outstanding common stock.

 

Our Growth Strategies

 

We expect to continue our strong sales growth and leading profitability by pursuing the following strategies:

 

2


 

Expand Our Store Base

 

We believe there is a significant whitespace opportunity to expand in both existing and new markets in the United States. Over the long term, we believe we have the potential to expand to at least 600 stores in the United States based on our internal analysis and research conducted by Buxton. During fiscal year 2019, we opened 31 new stores, net of two relocations and one store closure. During fiscal year 2020, we expect to open 32 net new stores and we plan to continue to grow our store base at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15% to 20% for the foreseeable future. The rate of future growth in any particular period is inherently uncertain and is subject to numerous factors that are outside of our control. As a result, we do not currently have an anticipated timeframe to reach our long‑term potential. We believe our Plano, Texas distribution center should be able to support up to approximately 220 stores, and together with our second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which is expected to become fully operational in fiscal year 2020, should collectively be able to support more than 350 stores.

 

We have used our site selection model to score over 20,000 big box retail locations throughout the United States, which positions us to be able to act quickly as locations become available, and we have developed detailed market maps for each U.S. market that guide our deliberate expansion strategy. We have opened stores in a mix of existing and new markets. New stores in existing markets have increased our total market share due to higher brand awareness. We believe there is still considerable opportunity to continue adding locations in even our most established markets. In addition, we anticipate a limited number of relocations periodically as we evaluate our position in the market upon the impending expiration of lease terms. We have demonstrated our ability to open stores successfully in a diverse range of new markets across the country. Our portable concept has delivered consistent store economics across all markets, from smaller, less dense locations to larger, more heavily populated metropolitan areas. We have delivered over 20% year‑over‑year net sales growth in each of the past nineteen consecutive fiscal quarters.

 

Our new store model combines high average unit volumes and high margins with low net capital investment and occupancy costs, resulting in cash flow generation early in the life of a store. Our stores typically mature within six months of opening. On average, our new store sites which are leased or purchased require approximately $3 million to $4 million of net investment and our new build stores require approximately $2 million to $3 million of net investment (net of sale leaseback proceeds). We have delivered an average payback period of approximately two years for our new leased and purchased stores and less than one and a half years for our new build stores. For fiscal years 2019, 2018 and 2017, 74%, 75% and 83% of our new stores, respectively, have been leased at the time of opening.

 

Drive Comparable Store Sales

 

We have achieved positive comparable store sales in each of the last twenty consecutive fiscal quarters, ranging from 0.9% to 11.4% and averaging 5.0% growth over the period. Comparable store sales can be impacted by various factors from period to period, including adverse weather conditions, as discussed in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—How We Assess the Performance of Our Business”. We will seek to continue to drive demand and customer spend by providing a targeted, exciting product selection and a differentiated shopping experience, including the following specific strategic initiatives:

 

·

Grow the At Home brand through marketing and advertising as well as community engagements that target the home décor enthusiast to drive increased traffic to our stores;

 

·

Continuously introduce new and on‑trend products to appeal to a wide range of customers and improve the mix of our product assortment;

 

·

Enhance inventory planning and allocation capabilities to get the right products in the right store at the right time;

 

·

Enhance direct sourcing of our products in order to provide everyday low prices and give value back to consumers;

 

3


 

·

Continue to strengthen our visual merchandising such as vignettes, end caps and feature tables to inspire our customers and generate in‑store demand;

 

·

Leverage private label and co-branded consumer credit card program to reward customers for continued loyalty while also providing promotional financing offers on qualifying purchases;

 

·

Expand Insider Perks loyalty program for frequent shoppers to provide customers with offers, rewards and other benefits; and

 

·

Leverage our Customer Relationship Management system to provide further visibility into our customers' preferences and spending patterns.

 

Build the At Home Brand and Create Awareness

 

During fiscal year 2015, we launched the At Home brand, which we believe better communicates our positioning as the leading home décor superstore. Additionally, we re‑established a marketing function and reinstated marketing spend to highlight our new brand, broad product offering and compelling value proposition. Given the relative newness and limited awareness of the At Home brand in certain markets, we believe there is still a significant opportunity to grow our brand and build awareness in both existing and new markets.

 

To address this opportunity, we have increased our marketing spend in recent years to improve our brand awareness and to drive traffic to our website and to our stores. We increased spend from nearly zero in fiscal year 2013 to approximately 2.5% of net sales in fiscal year 2017, approximately 2.7% of net sales in fiscal year 2018 and approximately 3.1% of net sales in fiscal year 2019. We intend to continue to allocate marketing spend to both traditional and digital media to increase awareness of our differentiated value proposition among specialty home décor retail and to drive both new and existing customers to our stores.  

 

Continue Enhancing Shopping Experience through Digital Initiatives

 

Through our customer research, we have learned that while many home décor shoppers prefer to browse online for ideas, inspiration and general product information, they prefer to complete their home décor purchases in person. Through our email database of over 5 million addresses, our text program and our website, we are able to share new product launches, highlight our key categories and provide our customers with décor ideas and inspiration. In addition, we launched our Insider Perks program in the second half of fiscal year 2018, which has 3.9 million members as of January 26, 2019. Our Insider Perks program members have exclusive access to an annual birthday offer, advanced notice of new merchandise, “flash find” deals and clearance events, as well as compelling content from home décor influencers.

 

In fiscal year 2019, we continued to make enhancements to our website, such as adding new product display pages to optimize user experience and providing recommendations on similar products that may interest the customer. We also piloted local in-stock availability in select markets, which we plan to expand in fiscal year 2020. Our upgraded website also allows for easier navigation of our broad product assortment, encouraging customers to browse online to find products that appeal to their needs before coming to our stores.

 

Our Industry

 

We compete in the large, growing and highly fragmented home furnishings and décor market. The industry had total sales of approximately $198 billion in 2017 according to Home Furnishings News, and has enjoyed stable growth over the last several years. This growth trend is expected to continue, with Euromonitor forecasting an annual growth rate of approximately 3.1% from 2018 to 2022.

 

Unlike other big box retail categories (e.g., office supplies, home improvement and electronics) where the top retailers hold a significant share of the overall market, the top three retailers in the home décor and furnishings category make up less than 25% of the market share. We believe we are uniquely positioned in the market, focused on providing

4


 

the broadest assortment of home décor products at value price points. In addition, the size of our stores enables us to carry a broad offering of fully assembled, larger merchandise, unlike many of our competitors, who are space constrained from providing a similar offering. We believe our focus on a broad assortment at value price points also uniquely positions us for those times when the industry is growing below trend, as it allows us to gain share in a fragmented market while also supporting our customer’s passion about, and love for, decorating her home.

 

The home furnishings and décor market includes a diverse set of categories and retail formats. However, we believe that we do not have a direct competitor, as no retailer matches our size, scale or scope of the product assortment that we offer at everyday low prices. While we have no direct competitor, certain products that we offer do compete with offerings by companies in the following segments:

 

·

Specialty Home Décor / Organization and Furniture retailers (e.g., Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Ethan Allen, Havertys, Home Goods, Pier 1 Imports and Williams‑Sonoma) have stores that are typically smaller (approximately 10,000 to 30,000 square feet) and we believe their home décor product offering is much narrower than ours and often is priced at a substantial premium.

 

·

Mass / Club retailers (e.g., Costco, Target and Wal‑Mart Stores) only dedicate a small portion of their selling spaces to home décor products and focus on the most popular SKUs.

 

·

Arts / Craft / Hobby retailers (e.g., Hobby Lobby, Jo‑Ann Stores and Michaels Stores) target customers who prefer to create the product themselves, whereas our customer prefers finished products.

 

·

Discount retailers (e.g., Big Lots, Burlington and Tuesday Morning) have a home décor product offering that is typically limited, offered at deep discounts and often dependent on their ability to purchase close‑out or liquidated merchandise from manufacturers.

 

·

Home Improvement retailers (e.g., Home Depot and Lowe’s) have a product offering that is primarily focused on home improvement and repair items, although we do compete with them in seasonal and outdoor products.

 

·

Online home décor retailers (e.g., Wayfair) offer a broad selection of products in home furnishings and décor that is typically weighted toward more expensive items. Conversely, we focus primarily on the attractive decorative accents and accessories portion of the market, generating an average basket of approximately $65, where we can employ our efficient operating model to generate attractive economics. Other online retailers (e.g., Amazon) may offer home décor products, but we believe we are able to offer a comparable breadth of product assortment and frequently lower prices. In addition, according to a study performed by Cooper Roberts Research in fiscal year 2018, while home décor shoppers may prefer browsing online, they value low prices, a wide selection and the opportunity to experience the look-and-feel of products in stores before making a purchase.

 

Our Merchandise

 

We have the largest assortment of home décor products among all big box retailers. With eight main design archetypes, from traditional to country and from vintage to modern, we cover the full spectrum of home décor styles and we believe we have something for everyone. We are advantageously situated as a value player in the home décor market, with an average price point of less than $15 and typical customer spend of approximately $65 per visit.

 

Our merchant organization is focused on finding or creating products that meet our customers’ aesthetic requirements at attractive price points. A core goal of our buyers is to ensure we deliver our targeted selling margins across our entire product portfolio and, as a result, we enjoy strong gross margins that are consistent across our product offering.

 

Our product design process begins with inspiration. We seek to capitalize on existing trends and home décor fashions across various price points and make them accessible rather than drive new trends. We monitor emerging trends

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through a wide range of home décor industry sources including competitors, media sources, vendors, trade shows, various online outlets and user generated content (e.g., Pinterest and Houzz) to stay current with consumer preferences. We then identify new product opportunities or any gaps in our offering and work closely with our vendors to design products to meet her needs at accessible price points. Our merchandising team also closely monitors our sales trends and new product launches to ensure our store offering remains fresh and relevant.

 

We employ an everyday low pricing strategy that offers our customers the best possible pricing without the need for consistent discounts or promotions. When customers view our prices, they can be confident in the value they receive and do not need to wait for sales or coupons to make purchasing decisions. We believe this results in consistent traffic to our stores. Over 80% of our net sales occur at full price, with the balance attributable to selective markdowns used to clear slow-moving inventory or post‑dated seasonal product. For the limited set of products that are directly comparable to products offered by other retailers, we seek to offer prices significantly below our specialty competitors and at or below our mass retail competitors. We allow for merchandise to be returned within 60 days from the purchase date.

 

Our merchant team consists of approximately 110 people and includes a Chief Merchandising Officer, general merchandising managers, divisional merchandising managers, buyers, assistant buyers and merchandising support staff, an inventory planning and allocation team, product development and trend team and a direct sourcing team. Our inventory planners work with our buyers to ensure that the appropriate level of inventory for each product is stocked across our store base. We purchase our inventory through a centralized system that buys for the entire chain versus individual stores. We believe this strategy allows us to take advantage of volume discounts and improves controls over inventory and product mix to ensure that we are disciplined about the level of inventory we carry.

 

Product Mix

 

Home furnishings, which generally consists of accent furniture, furniture, mirrors, patio cushions, rugs and wall art, comprised approximately 45%, 46% and 48% of total net sales for fiscal years 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. In addition, accent décor, which generally consists of artificial flowers and trees, bath, bedding, candles, garden and outdoor décor, holiday accessories, home organization, pillows, pottery, vases and window treatments, comprised approximately 51%, 50% and 49% of total net sales for fiscal years 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Our superstore format and unique approach to merchandising result in our ability to offer multiple styles, colors and design elements most other retailers are unable to carry.

 

Sourcing

 

We believe our sourcing model provides us with significant flexibility to control our product costs. We work very closely with over 500 vendors to value engineer products at price points that deliver excellent value to our customers. In fiscal year 2019, approximately 35% of our merchandise was purchased from domestic vendors and 65% was purchased from foreign vendors in countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Turkey and Hong Kong. In addition, many of our domestic vendors purchase a portion of their products from foreign sources. Lead times vary depending on the product, ranging from one week to nine months. In fiscal year 2018, we established a direct sourcing function to allow us to continue to increase our direct purchases from overseas factories, rather than purchasing through domestic agents or trading companies. We believe this represents an opportunity to increase our access to unique and quality products while reducing our product costs.

 

We seek to build long‑term relationships with our vendor partners, who can provide support for our various marketing and in‑store merchandising initiatives. However, we believe we are not dependent on any one vendor and have no long‑term purchase commitments or arrangements. For many of our vendors, we are their fastest growing and, sometimes, largest account, which promotes collaboration between our companies. In fiscal year 2019, our top ten vendors accounted for approximately 20% of total purchases, with our largest vendor representing less than 5%. We believe our vendor partner relationships will continue to support our business growth.

 

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Our Stores

 

We currently operate 180 stores in 37 states across the United States. A summary of our store locations by state as of January 26, 2019 is included in “Item 2. Properties”.

 

Store Layout

 

Our stores vary in size between 75,000 and 165,000 square feet with an average of approximately 110,000 square feet. Our locations have a similar store layout that is specifically designed to engage our customers. We design our stores as shoppable warehouses with wide aisles, an interior race track and clear signage that enable customers to easily navigate the store. We also have store maps available at the entrances for our customer to use while she shops. Throughout our stores, we merchandise products logically by color, design and size in order to appeal to our core shopper’s buying preferences and use feature tables and end caps to create continuous visual interest and to highlight value. Additionally, we utilize product vignettes that offer design inspiration and coordinated product ideas to our customers. Our large store format allows us to maintain high in‑stock positions and sell larger‑sized and fully assembled products. To make her shopping experience easier and support our efficient operating model, we install fixture shelves lower to the ground so that products are easily reachable and require minimal staff assistance. We also utilize special fixtures for our products such as wall art, mirrors and rugs to allow easy viewing, improved shopability and minimized product damage. We have a centralized checkout lane with multiple registers that makes the checkout process simple and efficient.

 

To enhance our customer's self-help shopping experience in connection with our larger-sized products, we offer her the opportunity to engage PICKUP, a third-party delivery service, to provide home delivery. Through this service, she is able to interface directly with the provider to schedule a convenient delivery time. Deliveries typically occur same-day, but next-day service is also available. PICKUP has experience in several markets with many major retailers. Nonetheless, deliveries from our stores follow completion of the sales transaction with our customer, thus minimizing any exposure we might have in connection with the delivery.

 

Store Operations

 

We centralize major decisions relating to merchandising, inventory and pricing in order to allow our in-store team to focus on creating a clean and organized shopping environment. Our stores are typically led by a store director, a store manager and have a general staff averaging 25 employees. Store employees are broadly split into two functional groups, customer service and operations, thereby allowing us to maximize efficiencies while aligning employees to the function that best suits their skills. Our proprietary labor model optimizes staffing levels based on hourly sales and traffic volumes. Additionally, employees utilize downtime to stock shelves and displays with new inventory. This model provides us with the flexibility to meet various seasonal demands while enabling consistent labor margins throughout the year. Our stores are managed company-wide by our Director of Store Operations, two regional managers and fifteen district managers.

 

Our employees are a critical component of our success and we are focused on attracting, retaining and promoting the best talent in our stores. We recognize and reward team members who meet our high-performance standards. All employees are eligible to participate in our bonus incentive program and store directors are able to participate in an unlimited bonus incentive program based primarily on exceeding store level sales targets. We also recognize individual performance through internal promotions and provide opportunities for advancement throughout our organization. We provide training for all new hires and ongoing training for existing employees.

 

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Real Estate Strategy

 

Expansion Opportunities

 

Our retail concept has been successful across a number of geographic markets spanning populations of 150,000 to over five million people. Our new stores that have been opened over the past five completed fiscal years have delivered first year annualized sales of approximately $5.9 million for new store sites which are leased or purchased and approximately $7.8 million for new build stores across both existing and new markets. Over the past five fiscal years, we have successfully opened 122 new stores in a mix of existing and new markets. Our recent store growth is summarized in the following table:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

January 31, 2015

 

January 30, 2016

 

January 28, 2017

 

January 27, 2018

 

January 26, 2019

Beginning of period

 

68

 

81

 

100

 

123

 

149

Openings

 

16

 

20

 

24

 

28

 

34

Relocations

 

(2)

 

 —

 

(1)

 

(2)

 

(2)

Closures

 

(1)

 

(1)

 

 —

 

 —

 

(1)

Total stores at end of period

 

81

 

100

 

123

 

149

 

180

 

We believe we have the whitespace to grow our store base at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15% to 20% for the foreseeable future. During fiscal year 2019, we opened 31 new stores, net of two relocated stores and one store closure. During fiscal year 2020, we plan to open 32 net new stores. Based on our internal analysis and research conducted for us by Buxton, we believe that we have the potential to expand to at least 600 stores in the United States over the long term, or more than three times our footprint of 180 stores as of January 26, 2019. The rate of future growth in any particular period is inherently uncertain and is subject to numerous factors that are outside of our control. As a result, we do not currently have an anticipated timeframe to reach this potential. We believe our Plano, Texas distribution center should be able to support up to approximately 220 stores, and together with our second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which is expected to become fully operational in fiscal year 2020, should collectively be able to support more than 350 stores. We expect to continue to be disciplined in our approach to opening new stores, focusing on expanding our presence in existing markets while entering adjacent geographies. We also plan to act on compelling opportunities we identify in new markets.

 

Our store growth is supported by new store economics that we believe are compelling. Our new stores generate an average of approximately $7 million of net sales within the first full year of operations and reach maturity within the first six months. On average, our new store sites which are leased or purchased require approximately $3 million to $4  million of net investment and our new build stores require approximately $2 million to $3 million of net investment  (net of sale leaseback proceeds). We have delivered an average payback period of approximately two years for our new leased and purchased stores and less than one and a half years for our new build stores.

 

Site Selection and Availability

 

We have developed a highly analytical approach to real estate site selection with a stringent new store approval process. Our dedicated real estate team spends considerable time evaluating prospective sites before submitting a comprehensive approval package to our real estate committee, comprised of our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Development Officer. We target markets that meet our specific demographic and site evaluation criteria and complete substantial research before opening a new site. We use a proprietary model which takes into account several demand factors including population density of our target customer, median household income, home ownership rates, retail adjacencies, competitor presence and local economic growth metrics. Primary site evaluation criteria include availability of attractive lease terms, sufficient box size, co‑tenancy, convenient parking, traffic patterns, visibility and access from major roadways. We typically favor locations near other big box retailers that drive strong customer traffic to the area.

 

We believe there will continue to be an ample supply of large format real estate in the United States that is attractive to us, driven by multi‑chain, national retailers relocating or closing stores, a number of retailers shifting to smaller locations and the relative lack of new retail concepts using larger store formats. We believe we are one of the

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only growing, large format retailers in the country. As a result, we have become a direct beneficiary of this available real estate and of various retailers looking to quickly shed stores. We typically offer a convenient solution to any selling or leasing party as we are able to take a wide variety of boxes, move quickly and require little investment in time, resources or capital on their part. We take a disciplined approach to how we enter and build out our presence in markets and seek to optimize sales in a deliberate, carefully planned manner. In order to act quickly on new opportunities, we have scored over 20,000 big box retail locations in the United States with a proprietary site selection model. As a result of our proven track record, we have developed strong relationships with brokers, landlords and big box retailers and are often the first to receive a call when locations become available.

 

Site Development and Financing

 

We have a flexible and balanced approach to site development that allows us to optimize the investment characteristics of each new store and maintain our robust new store pipeline. We can lease a second generation property, purchase a second generation building or build a new location from the ground up.

 

For purchased properties or new development builds, we can extract capital using sale‑leasebacks through a proven and disciplined approach. We have relationships with a number of the major publicly traded real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), many of which have demonstrated interest in our portfolio of assets. We have completed nine sale‑leaseback transactions generating approximately $365 million in gross proceeds in the past five fiscal years at a capitalization rate between 6.46% and 6.95%.

 

We have developed an efficient process from site selection through new store opening. Our three-pronged approach to site development allows us to negotiate very favorable real estate terms that typically include low occupancy costs, the ability to unilaterally “opt out” of leased locations, and other features that provide us with flexibility to manage our store portfolio.

 

Marketing

 

Our marketing and advertising strategies seek to effectively and efficiently communicate our compelling value proposition to an increasing base of home décor enthusiasts. Our goal is to build deeper connections with our core customers, while attracting new customers to the At Home brand. We increased our marketing spend from nearly zero in fiscal year 2013 to approximately 2.5% of net sales in fiscal year 2017, approximately 2.7% of net sales in fiscal year 2018 and approximately 3.1% of net sales in fiscal year 2019.  

 

The home décor enthusiast views her home as a place that is constantly evolving with each season as well as everyday events in her life. At Home’s mission is to offer her the biggest selection of styles at the best prices, giving her endless possibilities and the confidence that she will find the perfect products at the perfect price every time she shops. We engage with her across various marketing channels before, during and after her store visit. We have built relationships with home décor influencers, leveraging Facebook and Instagram. We use email and text message marketing to inspire her with seasonally relevant décor and will be growing the reach of these efforts as we focus on expanding our base of 3.9 million Insider Perks customers. We also have an agreement with Synchrony Bank to provide an At Home branded credit card program that includes loyalty incentives for our customers. This program launched during fiscal year 2018 and allows At Home cardholders to take advantage of promotional financing offers on qualifying purchases, loyalty rewards and other benefits.

 

We also use traditional and digital media platforms (such as television, outdoor, direct mail, paid search and social media) to build broader brand awareness and to drive traffic to our website and our stores. To launch our brand during new store openings, we have evolved our strategy through tactical testing to get to an effective and cost efficient mix of media, including outdoor, direct mail and social media.

 

In fiscal year 2018, we launched our Insider Perks program, which has 3.9 million members as of January 26, 2019. Our Insider Perks program members have exclusive access to an annual birthday offer, advanced notice of new merchandise, “flash find” deals and clearance events, as well as compelling content from home décor influencers.

 

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In fiscal year 2019, we continued to make enhancements to our website, such as adding new product display pages to optimize user experience and providing recommendations on similar products that may interest the customer. We also piloted local in-stock availability in select markets, which we plan to expand in fiscal year 2020. Our upgraded website also allows for easier navigation of our broad product assortment, encouraging customers to browse online to find products that appeal to their needs before coming to our stores.

 

Distribution

 

We operate a 592,000 square foot distribution center in Plano, Texas, which also serves as our corporate headquarters. We also have an additional approximately 555,000 square feet of warehouse premises in Garland, Texas, for initial inventory build‑up for new store openings. We have invested in automating our Plano, Texas facility, implementing warehouse management software and robotics to efficiently handle daily product deliveries. At the beginning of fiscal year 2020, we opened our 800,000 square foot second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which required an additional incremental capital investment of $13.0 million and $1.1 million in fiscal years 2019 and 2018, respectively. With the opening of our second distribution center, we expect to be able to support more than 350 stores. The improvements to our Plano, Texas distribution center and the opening of our Carlisle, Pennsylvania distribution center will continue to support our needs as we expand our store base.

 

The vast majority of our current products are shipped directly to our existing Plano distribution center, which serves as a cross‑dock facility, storing very limited inventory on site. In order to streamline store operations and reduce labor requirements, all of the merchandise in our distribution center is prepared for the sales floor prior to transport. Beginning in fiscal year 2020, our second distribution center will operate in a similar capacity.

 

Real‑time product replenishment in stores ensures that our customers have the broadest selection available and that we do not carry extra inventory. We generally ship merchandise to our stores between one and five times a week, depending on the season and the volume of a specific store, utilizing contract carriers for all shipments.

 

Information Systems

 

We believe that our management information systems will support our growth and enhance our competitive position. Our efficient operating model is supported by using industry standard applications in the areas of merchandising, store systems, replenishment, distribution and financial systems. We use a combination of these industry standard systems along with automated and easy to use proprietary systems to support all areas of our business. Over the past six fiscal years, we have invested in IT systems and infrastructure, including investments in merchandising, planning and allocation (JDA), POS systems (IBM/Toshiba), distribution center (PKMS) and finance and accounting (SAP) to ensure our systems are robust and scalable. Additionally, over the past six fiscal years we have invested in data centers and additional IT team members to provide appropriate support and project delivery capabilities needed for our growth.

 

Employees

 

As of January 26, 2019, we employed approximately 5,364 employees, including 4,853 store employees and 511 other employees across the corporate and distribution center functions. Of the 4,853 store employees, 527 were full‑time salaried level staff and the remaining employees consisted of a mix of full‑time and part‑time hourly workers. All of our full‑time employees earn at least $10.00 per hour and all of our part‑time employees earn at least $9.00 per hour. Based on the level of transactions experienced at different times of the day, week and year, store labor is planned to serve customers effectively during peak periods while minimizing overall labor costs. None of our employees are currently covered under any collective bargaining agreements.

 

Intellectual Property

 

We own a U.S. trademark registration for the trademark “at home” and design, which was registered by the United States Patent & Trademark Office on July 7, 2015 for a ten‑year term and is renewable every ten years thereafter. We also own the domain name athome.com and a number of other registered trademarks, pending trademark applications

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and domain names that we use in our business. Collectively, we consider our trademarks and domain names to be important assets of our operations and seek to actively monitor and protect our interest in this property.

 

Government Regulation

 

We are subject to labor and employment laws, laws governing truth‑in‑advertising, privacy laws, environmental laws, safety regulations and other laws, including consumer protection regulations that regulate retailers and govern the promotion and sale of merchandise and the operation of stores and warehouse facilities. We monitor changes in these laws and believe that we are in material compliance with applicable laws.

 

Available Information

 

We are subject to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act, and in accordance therewith, we file reports, proxy and information statements and other information with the SEC. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act are available through the investor relations section of our website at investor.athome.com. Reports are available free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. The information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains our reports, proxy and information statements, and other information that we file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov. 

 

ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS

The following risk factors may be important to understanding any statement in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or elsewhere. Our business, financial condition and operating results can be affected by a number of factors, whether currently known or unknown, including but not limited to those described below. Any one or more of such factors could directly or indirectly cause our actual results of operations and financial condition to vary materially from past or anticipated future results of operations and financial condition. Any of these factors, in whole or in part, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and stock price.

Risks Relating to Our Business

General economic factors may materially adversely affect our business, revenue and profitability.

General conditions in the United States and global economy that are beyond our control may materially adversely affect our business and financial performance. As a retailer that is dependent upon consumer discretionary spending for home décor products, our customers may allocate less money for discretionary purchases as a result of increased levels of unemployment, reduced consumer disposable income, higher interest rates, higher fuel and other energy costs, higher tax rates and other changes in tax laws, foreclosures, bankruptcies, falling home prices, reduced availability of consumer credit, higher consumer debt levels, a decline in consumer confidence, inflation, deflation, recession, an overall economic slowdown and other factors that influence consumer spending. Any reduced demand for the merchandise that we sell could result in a significant decline in customer traffic and sales and decreased inventory turnover. Therefore, if economic conditions worsen, there may be a material adverse impact on our business, revenue and profitability.

In addition, our costs and expenses could be materially adversely impacted by general economic factors such as higher interest rates, higher fuel and other energy costs, higher transportation costs, higher commodity costs, higher costs of labor, tariffs or other trade restrictions, insurance and healthcare, increased rental expense, inflation in other costs, higher tax rates and other changes in the tax law and changes in other laws and regulations. The economic factors that affect our operations also affect the operations and economic viability of our suppliers from whom we purchase goods, a factor that can result in an increase in the cost to us of merchandise we sell to our customers.

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Volatility or disruption in the financial markets could materially adversely affect our business and the trading price of our common stock.

We rely on stable and efficient financial markets. Any disruption in the credit and capital markets could adversely impact our ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms. Volatility in the financial markets could also result in difficulties for financial institutions and other parties that we do business with, which could potentially affect our ability to access financing under our existing arrangements.

We are exposed to the impact of any global or domestic economic disruption. Although we generally generate funds from our operations and our existing credit facilities to pay our operating expenses and fund our capital expenditures, our ability to continue to meet these cash requirements over the long term may require access to additional sources of funds, including equity and debt capital markets, and market volatility and general economic conditions may adversely affect our ability to access capital markets. In addition, the inability of our vendors to access capital and liquidity with which to maintain their inventory, production levels and product quality and to operate their businesses, or the insolvency of our vendors, could lead to their failure to deliver merchandise. If we are unable to purchase products when needed, our sales could be materially adversely impacted. Accordingly, volatility or disruption in the financial markets could impair our ability to execute our growth strategy and could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our common stock.

Consumer spending on home décor products could decrease or be displaced by spending on other activities as driven by a number of factors.

Consumer spending on home décor products could decrease or be displaced by spending on other activities as driven by a number of factors including:

·

shifts in behavior away from home decorating in favor of other products or activities, such as fashion, media or electronics;

·

general economic conditions and other factors that affect consumer discretionary spending, including government shutdowns;

·

natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, heavy snow, ice or rain storms, which disrupt the ability of consumers to continue spending on home décor products;

·

man‑made disasters, such as terrorism or war, as well as other national and international security concerns; and

·

other matters that influence consumer confidence and spending.

Total consumer spending may not continue to increase at historical rates due to slowed population growth and shifts in population demographics, and it may not increase in certain product markets given changes in consumer interests. Further, as we expand into new markets, we may not accurately predict consumer preferences in that market, which could result in lower than expected sales. If consumer spending on home décor products decline, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

We may not be able to successfully implement our growth strategy on a timely basis or at all, which could harm our growth and results of operations.

Our growth is dependent on our ability to open profitable new stores. Our ability to increase the number of our stores will depend in part on the availability of existing big box retail stores or store sites that meet our specifications. We may face competition from other retailers for suitable locations and we may also face difficulties in negotiating leases on acceptable terms. In addition, a lack of available financing on terms acceptable to real estate developers or a tightening credit market may adversely affect the retail sites available to us. Rising real estate costs and acquisition, construction and development costs and available lease financing could also inhibit our ability to open or acquire new stores.

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Opening or acquiring stores involves certain risks, including constructing, furnishing, supplying and staffing a store in a timely and cost‑effective manner and accurately assessing the demographic or retail environment for a particular location, as well as addressing any environmental issues related to such locations. We cannot predict whether new stores will be successful. Our future sales at new stores may not meet our expectations, which could adversely impact our return on investment. For example, the costs of opening and operating new stores may offset the increased sales generated by the additional stores. Therefore, there can be no assurance that our new stores will generate sales levels necessary to achieve store‑level profitability or profitability comparable to that of existing stores. New stores also may face greater competition and have lower anticipated sales volumes relative to previously opened stores during their comparable years of operation. In addition, a significant portion of our management’s time and energy may be consumed with issues related to store expansion and we may be unable to hire a sufficient number of qualified store personnel or successfully integrate the new stores into our business. Furthermore, our vendors may be unable to meet the increased demand of additional stores in a timely manner. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain and distribute adequate merchandise to new stores or maintain adequate warehousing and distribution capability at acceptable costs.

In addition, our expansion in existing and new markets may present competitive, distribution, merchandising and regulatory challenges that differ from our current challenges, including competition among our stores, diminished novelty of our store design and concept, added strain on our distribution centers, additional information to be processed by our information technology systems and diversion of management attention from operations. New stores in new markets, where we are less familiar with the population and are less well‑known, may face different or additional risks and increased costs compared to stores operating in existing markets or new stores in existing markets. For example, we may need to increase marketing and advertising expenditures in new or smaller markets in which we have less store density. Additionally, we may not accurately predict consumer preferences in new markets, which could result in lower than expected sales. Expansion into new markets could also bring us into direct competition with retailers with whom we have no past experience as direct competitors. To the extent that we are not able to meet these new challenges, our sales could decrease and our operating costs could increase. Furthermore, our margins may be impacted in periods in which incremental expenses are incurred as a result of new store openings. Additionally, although our distribution center in Plano, Texas, which currently has the capacity to support up to approximately 220 stores, and second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, expected to be fully operational in fiscal year 2020, should collectively be able to support more than 350 stores, any unanticipated failure of or inability to support our growing store base could have a material adverse effect on our business. Therefore, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in opening, acquiring or operating any new stores on a profitable basis.

Accordingly, we cannot assure you that we will achieve our planned growth or, even if we are able to grow our store base as planned, that any new stores will perform as planned. If we fail to successfully implement our growth strategy, we will not be able to sustain the growth in sales and profits that we expect, which would likely have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

Failure to manage our inventory effectively and inability to satisfy changing consumer demands and preferences could materially adversely impact our operations.

Due to the nature of our business, we make decisions regarding merchandise several months in advance of each of the seasons in which such merchandise will be sold, particularly with respect to our merchandise that is manufactured, purchased and imported from countries around the world. We must maintain sufficient inventory levels to operate our business successfully. However, if we misjudge consumer preferences or demands, we could have excess inventory that may need to be held for a long period of time, written down or discarded in order to clear excess inventory, especially seasonal and holiday merchandise. Conversely, if we underestimate consumer demand, we may not be able to provide certain products in a timely manner to our customers in order to meet their demand, which can result in lost sales. Either event could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, if our inventory planning and allocation system is unsuccessful, including the additional processing requirements attributable to our second distribution center, our ability to properly allocate inventory to stores could be adversely affected.

There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to offer assortments of products that appeal to our customers or that we will satisfy changing consumer demands and preferences in the future. Accordingly, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected if:

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·

we miscalculate either the market for the merchandise in our stores or our customers’ purchasing habits;

·

consumer demand unexpectedly shifts away from the merchandise we offer or if there are unanticipated shifts in consumer preferences in some seasons; or

·

we are unable to anticipate, identify and respond to changing consumer demands or emerging trends, including shifts in the popularity of certain products or increased consumer demand for more enhanced customer service and assistance, home delivery or online sales and services.

In addition, inventory shrinkage (inventory theft, loss or damage) rates could negatively impact our financial results. Furthermore, failure to control merchandise returns could also adversely affect our business. We have established a provision for estimated merchandise returns based upon historical experience and other known factors. However, if actual returns are greater than those projected by management, additional reductions of revenue could be recorded in the future. In addition, to the extent that returned merchandise is damaged or otherwise not appealing to our customers, we may not receive full retail value from the resale or liquidation of the returned merchandise.

Our business model currently relies on purchasing all inventory centrally through our home office in Plano, Texas. At this office, all product samples are developed and/or received and reviewed; in addition, all purchase orders are placed, fulfilled and allocated from the same location. Major catastrophic events such as natural disasters, localized labor issues or wages increases, fire or flooding, malfunction or disruption of the information systems, a disruption in communication services, power outages or shipping interruptions could delay or otherwise adversely affect inventory purchasing or allocation, as well as the ultimate distribution of inventory to our stores and customers. Such disruptions could have a negative impact on our sales and results of operations. Our business model of central purchasing could also fail to account for differences in consumer preferences by market. In such cases, and where our focus of providing the broadest assortment of products for any room similarly did not account for differences in consumer preferences by market, our sales and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The loss of, or disruption in, or our inability to efficiently operate our distribution network could have a materially adverse impact on our business.

We operate a cross dock distribution center in Plano, Texas, which previously serviced all of our stores, as well as warehouse premises in Garland, Texas. We opened a second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which we expect to become fully operational in fiscal year 2020. The majority of our inventory is shipped directly from suppliers to our distribution centers where the inventory is processed and then shipped to our stores. Only mattresses and some food items are shipped directly to stores. We rely in large part on the orderly operation of this receiving and distribution process, which depends on our automated distribution system, adherence to shipping schedules and effective management of our distribution network. If complications arise with our distribution facilities or if the facilities or warehouse premises (or a significant portion of inventory located there) is severely damaged or destroyed, our ability to receive and deliver inventory on a timely basis will be significantly impaired. There can be no assurance that disruptions in operations due to natural or man-made disasters, fire, flooding, terrorism or other catastrophic events, system failure, labor disagreements or shipping problems will not result in delays in the delivery of merchandise to our stores. Such delays could materially adversely impact our business. In addition, we could incur significantly higher costs and longer lead times associated with distributing merchandise to our stores during the time it takes for us to reopen or replace our distribution centers. Moreover, our business interruption insurance may not be adequate to cover or compensate us for any losses that may occur. In addition, our existing distribution center in Plano, Texas, which currently has the capacity to support up to approximately 220 stores, and our second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, should collectively be able to support more than 350 stores. However, there can be no assurance that there will not be any delay in fully utilizing the new distribution center or that there will not be any delays or issues in shipping schedules, logistics or systems.

We rely upon various means of transportation through third parties, including shipments by air, sea, rail and truck, to deliver products to our distribution centers from vendors and from our distribution centers to our stores, as well as for direct shipments from vendors to stores. Labor shortages or capacity constraints in the transportation industry, disruptions to the national and international transportation infrastructure, fuel shortages or transportation cost increases

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(such as increases in fuel costs or port fees) could materially adversely affect our business and operating results, particularly as we receive and deliver our seasonal and holiday merchandise.

We are subject to a number of risks because we import a significant portion of our merchandise.

Approximately 65% of our merchandise was purchased from vendors in foreign countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Turkey and Hong Kong during fiscal year 2019. In addition, many of our domestic vendors purchase a portion of their products from foreign sources. For example, we purchase merchandise from domestic vendors that is imported from China or that is manufactured in China and assembled in the United States. Currently, we do not employ any resources on the ground in Asia to manage our procurement process and various vendor relationships. Instead, we often rely on trading companies to handle sourcing and logistics with Asian factories.

Substantial regulatory uncertainty exists regarding international trade and trade policy, both in the United States and abroad. For example, the United States introduced multiple tranches of tariffs on certain goods imported from China. The United States has, at various times, called for the possible implementation of a border tax and has also raised the possibility of other initiatives that may affect importation of goods including renegotiation of trade agreements with other countries and the possible introduction of further import duties or tariffs. Some of our merchandise is included on the list of products issued by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and may be impacted by tariffs to the extent that such merchandise is sourced from China. In addition, on March 5, 2019, President Trump announced that India and Turkey would be removed from the Generalized System of Preferences, a U.S. program that allows developing countries to export a range of products to the United States duty-free. Some of our merchandise may be impacted by this change to the extent that it is sourced from India or Turkey. Such tariffs, and the possible implementation of a border tax or additional tariffs, could materially increase our cost of goods sold with respect to merchandise that we purchase from vendors who manufacture products in China or other countries outside the United States, which could in turn require us to increase our prices and, in the event consumer demand declines as a result, negatively impact our financial performance. Furthermore, certain of our competitors may be better positioned than us to withstand or react to border taxes, tariffs or other restrictions on global trade and as a result we may lose market share to such competitors. Due to broad uncertainty regarding the timing, content and extent of any regulatory changes in the U.S. or abroad, we cannot predict the impact, if any, that these changes could have to our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Foreign sourcing subjects us to a number of risks generally associated with doing business abroad such as the following:

·

long lead times;

·

work stoppages and strikes;

·

delays in shipment, shipping port and ocean carrier constraints;

·

freight cost increases;

·

product quality issues;

·

raw material shortages and factory consolidations;

·

employee rights issues and other social concerns;

·

epidemics and natural disasters;

·

political instability, international conflicts, war, threats of war, terrorist acts or threats, especially threats to foreign and U.S. ports and piracy;

·

economic conditions, including inflation;

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·

the imposition of tariffs, duties, quotas, taxes, import and export controls and other trade restrictions;

·

governmental policies and regulations; and

·

the status of trade relations with foreign countries, including the loss of “most favored nation” status with the United States for a particular foreign country.

Adverse events could have a greater impact on us than if our operations were in more dispersed geographical regions.

We currently operate 188 stores in 38 states, primarily in the South Central, Southeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States, including 34 stores in Texas. In addition, we operate a distribution center and warehouse premises in Texas, which services a majority of our stores, and a second distribution center in Pennsylvania. Accordingly, the effect on us of adverse events in these regions, especially in Texas, such as weather (including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, heavy snow, ice or rain storms), natural or man‑made disasters, catastrophic events, terrorism, blackouts, widespread illness or unfavorable regional economic conditions, may be greater than if our operations or inventory were more geographically dispersed throughout the country or abroad. Such events could result in physical damage to or destruction or disruption of one or more of our properties, physical damage to or destruction of our inventory, the closure of one or more stores, the lack of an adequate workforce in parts or all of our operations, supply chain disruptions, data and communications disruptions and the inability of our customers to shop in our stores.

In addition, increases in our selling, general and administrative expenses due to overhead costs could affect our profitability more negatively than if we had a larger store base. One or more unsuccessful new stores, or a decline in sales or profitability at an existing store, will have a more significant effect on our results of operations than if we had a larger store base.

Because of our use of international vendors, we could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar worldwide anti‑bribery and anti‑kickback laws.

We source over half of our products abroad. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other similar laws and regulations generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non‑U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. While our policies mandate compliance with these anti‑bribery laws, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in preventing our employees or other agents from taking actions in violation of these laws or regulations. Such violations, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We are subject to risks associated with leasing substantial amounts of space.

We lease certain of our retail properties, our distribution center and our corporate office. The profitability of our business is dependent on operating our current store base with favorable margins, opening and operating new stores at a reasonable profit, renewing leases for stores in desirable locations and, if necessary, identifying and closing underperforming stores. We lease a significant number of our store locations, ranging from short‑term to long‑term leases. Typically, a large portion of a store’s operating expense is the cost associated with leasing the location.

The operating leases for our retail properties, distribution centers and corporate office expire at various dates through 2037. A number of the leases have renewal options for various periods of time at our discretion. We are typically responsible for taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs and maintenance for these retail properties. Rent expense for the fiscal years ended January 26, 2019, January 27, 2018 and January 28, 2017 totaled approximately $108.0 million, $83.4 million and $68.1 million, respectively. Our future minimum rental commitments for all operating leases in existence as of January 26, 2019 for fiscal year 2020 is approximately $115.2 million and total approximately $1,454.1 million for fiscal years 2021 through 2037. We expect that many of the new stores we open will also be leased to us under operating leases, which will further increase our operating lease expenditures and require significant capital expenditures. We depend on cash flows from operations to pay our lease expenses and to fulfill our other cash needs. If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operating activities, and sufficient funds are not otherwise available to us from borrowings under our asset-based revolving line of credit  (the “ABL Facility”), as described in Note 6 – Revolving Line

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of Credit, to our audited consolidated financial statements included in “Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules,” or other sources, we may not be able to service our lease expenses or fund our other liquidity and capital needs, which would materially affect our business.

Over time, current store locations may not continue to be desirable because of changes in demographics within the surrounding area or a decline in shopping traffic, including traffic generated by other nearby stores. Although we have the right to terminate some of our leases under specified conditions by making certain payments (typically within two to three years after opening a store), we may not be able to terminate a particular lease if or when we would like to do so. If we decide to close stores, we are generally required to either continue to pay rent and operating expenses for the balance of the lease term or, for certain locations, pay exercise rights to terminate, which in either case could be expensive. Even if we are able to assign or sublease vacated locations where our lease cannot be terminated, we may remain liable on the lease obligations if the assignee or sublessee does not perform.

In addition, when leases for the stores in our ongoing operations expire, we may be unable to negotiate renewals, either on commercially acceptable terms, or at all, which could cause us to close stores in locations that may be desirable. We may be unable to relocate these stores cost‑effectively or at all and there can be no assurance that any relocated stores will be successful.

We are subject to risks associated with our sale‑leaseback strategy.

From time to time, we engage in sale‑leaseback transactions. The net proceeds from such transactions have been used to reduce outstanding debt and fund future capital expenditures for new store development. However, the sale‑leaseback market may cease to be a reliable source of additional cash flows for us in the future if capitalization rates become less attractive, other unfavorable market conditions develop or the perceived value of our owned property declines. For example, should the sale‑leaseback market require significantly higher yields (which may occur as interest rates rise), we may not enter into sale‑leaseback transactions, which could adversely affect our ability to reduce outstanding debt and fund capital expenditures for future store development.

We operate in a highly competitive retail environment.

The retail business is highly competitive. The marketplace for home décor products is highly fragmented as many different retailers compete for market share by using a variety of store formats and merchandising strategies, dedicating a portion of their selling space to a limited selection of home décor, seasonal and holiday merchandise. Although we are the only big box concept solely dedicated to the home décor space, for all of our major products we compete with a diverse group of retailers, including mass merchants (such as Target and Wal‑Mart), home improvement stores (such as Home Depot and Lowe’s), craft retailers (such as Hobby Lobby, Jo‑Ann Stores and Michaels Stores), home specialty/décor retailers (such as Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Home Goods and Pier 1 Imports), as well as various other small, independent retailers. In addition, to a lesser extent, we compete with Internet‑based retailers (such as Wayfair and Amazon), which competition could intensify in the future.

We compete with these and other retailers for customers, retail locations, management and other personnel. Some of our competitors are larger and have greater resources, more customers and greater store brand recognition. They may secure better terms from vendors, adopt more aggressive pricing and devote more resources to technology, distribution and marketing. Competitive pressures or other factors could cause us to lose customers, sales and market share, which may require us to lower prices, increase marketing and advertising expenditures or increase the use of discounting or promotional campaigns, each of which could materially adversely affect our margins and could result in a decrease in our operating results and profitability. We cannot guarantee that we will continue to be able to compete successfully against existing or future competitors. Further, although we do not currently engage in e‑commerce, there is no assurance that we will not in the future, and the use of e‑commerce by our competitors could have a material adverse effect on our business. Expansion into markets served by our competitors, entry of new competitors, expansion of existing competitors into our markets or the adoption by competitors of innovative store formats and retail sale methods, including e‑commerce, could cause us to lose market share and could be detrimental to our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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We face risks related to our substantial indebtedness.

As of January 26, 2019, we had total borrowings of $560.5 million outstanding under our ABL Facility and our Term Loan (as defined below). Our substantial leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, expose us to interest rate risk associated with our variable rate debt and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our ABL Facility and $350 million senior secured term loan (the “Term Loan”). Our substantial indebtedness could have important consequences to us, including:

·

making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt, and any failure to comply with the obligations under our debt instruments, including restrictive covenants, could result in an event of default under the agreements governing our indebtedness increasing our vulnerability to general economic and industry conditions;

·

requiring a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our debt, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures, selling and marketing efforts, product development, future business opportunities and other purposes;

·

exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as substantially all of our borrowings are at variable rates;

·

restricting us from making strategic acquisitions;

·

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, debt service requirements, acquisitions, and general corporate or other purposes; and

·

limiting our ability to plan for, or adjust to, changing market conditions and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who may be less highly leveraged.

The occurrence of any one of these events could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and ability to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness.

We and our subsidiaries may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in the credit agreements governing our ABL Facility and Term Loan.

The ABL Facility and Term Loan impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries that may prevent us from pursuing certain business opportunities and restrict our ability to operate our business.

The credit agreements governing our ABL Facility and Term Loan contain covenants that restrict our and our subsidiaries’ ability to take various actions, such as:

·

incur or guarantee additional indebtedness or issue certain disqualified or preferred stock;

·

pay dividends or make other distributions on, or redeem or purchase, any equity interests or make other restricted payments;

·

make certain acquisitions or investments;

·

create or incur liens;

·

transfer or sell assets;

·

incur restrictions on the payments of dividends or other distributions from our restricted subsidiaries;

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·

alter the business that we conduct;

·

enter into transactions with affiliates; and

·

consummate a merger or consolidation or sell, assign, transfer, lease or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets.

The restrictions in the credit agreements governing our ABL Facility and Term Loan also limit our ability to plan for or react to market conditions, meet capital needs or otherwise restrict our activities or business plans and adversely affect our ability to finance our operations, enter into acquisitions or to engage in other business activities that could be in our interest.

In addition, our ability to borrow under the ABL Facility is limited by the amount of our borrowing base. Any negative impact on the elements of our borrowing base, such as accounts receivable and inventory, could reduce our borrowing capacity under the ABL Facility.

We are dependent upon the services of our senior management and our buyers.

We are dependent on the services, abilities and experiences of our senior management team. Any loss or interruption of the services of our senior management, or any general instability in the composition of our senior management team, could significantly reduce our ability to effectively manage our operations. Lee Bird, our Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board and President, joined us in December 2012 and, together with our senior management team, has played an instrumental role in developing and executing our business and operating strategies, which we believe are critical to our ability to maintain strong margins. Therefore, the loss of Mr. Bird’s services, or any members of our senior management, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and profitability and there can be no assurance that we will be able to find appropriate replacements for our senior management as needed. In addition, certain members of our management team are relatively new to our business and have not worked as a team with other members of management for a significant period of time. Therefore, there can be no assurance that any new members of our management team will be able to successfully execute our business and operating strategies or continue to follow the same strategies.

In addition, a number of our buyers have been with us for many years and have developed a deep understanding of our business and our customers. The market for buyers is highly competitive and it may be difficult to find suitable replacements if we lose any of our buyers. If we are unable to find suitable replacements, we may experience difficulties in selecting and sourcing merchandise, which could materially adversely impact our business, revenue and profitability.

Failure to attract and retain quality employees could materially adversely affect our performance.

Our performance depends on attracting and retaining quality people at all levels, including corporate, stores, the distribution centers and other areas. Many of our store employees are in entry level or part‑time positions with historically high rates of turnover. Our ability to meet our labor needs while controlling labor costs is subject to external factors such as unemployment levels, prevailing wage rates, minimum wage legislation, changing demographics, health and other insurance costs and governmental labor and employment requirements. In the event of changes in the federal or state minimum wage, living wage requirements or changes in other wage or workplace regulations, including, for example, health care or employee leave regulations, if our overall compensation and benefits fail to remain competitive, then the quality of our workforce could decline, while increasing our costs could impair our profitability. If we do not continue to attract and retain quality employees, our performance could be materially adversely affected.

Although none of our employees are currently covered under collective bargaining agreements, there can be no assurance that our employees will not elect to be represented by labor unions in the future. If some or all of our workforce were to become unionized and collective bargaining agreement terms were significantly different from our current compensation arrangements or work practices, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Difficulties with our vendors may adversely impact our business.

Our performance depends on our ability to purchase merchandise at sufficient levels and at competitive prices from vendors who can deliver products in a timely and efficient manner and in compliance with our vendor standards and all applicable laws and regulations. We currently have over 500 vendor relationships. Generally, we do not have any long‑term purchase agreements or other contractual assurances of continued supply, pricing or access to new products, and any vendor could discontinue selling to us at any time. Historically, we have not relied on any single vendor for our products and have not had difficulties replacing vendors for various products we sell. However, in the future there is no assurance that we will continue to be able to acquire desired merchandise in sufficient quantities or on terms acceptable to us, or be able to develop relationships with new vendors to replace any discontinued vendors. Our inability to acquire suitable merchandise in the future or our failure to replace any one or more vendors may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, any significant change in the payment terms that we have with our suppliers could adversely affect our liquidity.

Many of our suppliers are small firms that produce a limited number of items. These smaller vendors generally have limited resources, production capacities and operating histories, and some of our vendors have limited the distribution of their merchandise in the past. Accordingly, these vendors may be susceptible to cash flow issues, downturns in economic conditions, production difficulties, quality control issues and difficulty delivering agreed‑upon quantities on schedule and in compliance with regulatory requirements. If a vendor fails to deliver on its commitments, whether due to financial difficulties or other reasons, we could experience merchandise out‑of‑stocks that could lead to lost sales, especially with respect to seasonal and holiday merchandise. In addition, there is no assurance that we would be able, if necessary, to return product to these vendors, obtain refunds of our purchase price or obtain reimbursement or indemnification from any of our vendors should we so desire, and from time to time, we may be in litigation with one or more vendors. Many of these suppliers require extensive advance notice of our requirements in order to supply products in the quantities we need. This long lead time requires us to place orders far in advance of the time when certain products will be offered for sale, exposing us to shifts in consumer demand and discretionary spending.

Our business is moderately seasonal and weak performance during one of our historically strong seasonal periods could have a material adverse effect on our operating results for the entire fiscal year.

Our business is moderately seasonal, with a meaningful portion of our sales dedicated to seasonal and holiday merchandise, resulting in the realization of higher portions of net sales and operating income in the second and fourth fiscal quarters. Due to the importance of our peak sales periods, which include the spring and year‑end holiday decorating seasons, the second and fourth fiscal quarters have historically contributed, and are expected to continue to contribute, significantly to our operating results for the entire fiscal year. In anticipation of seasonal increases in sales activity during these periods, we incur significant additional expense prior to and during our peak seasonal periods, which we may finance with additional short‑term borrowings. These expenses may include the acquisition of additional inventory, seasonal staffing needs and other similar items. As a result, any factors negatively affecting us during these periods, including adverse weather and unfavorable economic conditions, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations for the entire fiscal year.

Our quarterly operating results may fluctuate substantially and historical quarterly operating results may not be a meaningful indicator of future performance.

Our quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate significantly in the future as a result of a variety of factors, many outside of our control, including:

·

general economic and political conditions;

·

the mix of merchandise sold;

·

shifts in consumer tastes and changes in demand for the products that we offer in our stores;

·

calendar shifts of holiday or seasonal periods;

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·

the timing of new store openings and the level of pre‑opening expenses associated with new stores;

·

the amount and timing of sales contributed by new stores;

·

store closings or relocations and costs related thereto;

·

expansion of existing or entry of new competitors into our markets;

·

pricing and other actions taken by our competitors;

·

changes in promotions, advertising or other actions taken by us or our existing or possible new competitors;

·

the timing and level of markdowns;

·

delays in the flow of merchandise to our stores, including port congestion and other shipment delays;

·

changes in our operating expenses;

·

the imposition of tariffs or other trade restrictions;

·

changes in commodity prices, the cost of fuel, freight costs and other costs incurred due to tariff-related shipment surges;

·

government shutdowns;

·

foreign exchange rates;

·

litigation;

·

adverse weather conditions in our markets, particularly on weekends;

·

natural or man‑made disasters;

·

the timing of income tax refunds to our customers;

·

the timing or elimination of certain state and local tax holidays; and

·

changes in other tenants or landlords or surrounding geographic circumstances in the areas in which we are located.

Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results for the fiscal quarter in which such event occurs as well as for the entire fiscal year. Therefore, period‑to‑period comparisons of historical quarterly operating results may not be a meaningful indicator of future performance.

We may not be able to protect our important intellectual property and we could incur substantial costs if we are subject to claims that our operations infringe on the proprietary rights of others.

We rely on our proprietary intellectual property, including trademarks, to market, promote and sell our products in our stores, particularly our At Home private label products. We monitor and protect against activities that might infringe, dilute or otherwise violate our trademarks and other intellectual property and rely on the trademark and other laws of the United States. However, we may be unable to prevent third parties from using our intellectual property without our authorization. To the extent we cannot protect our intellectual property, unauthorized use and misuse of our

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intellectual property could harm our competitive position and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, cash flows or results of operations.

Additionally, we cannot be certain that we do not or will not in the future infringe on the intellectual property rights of third parties. From time to time, we have been subject to claims from third parties that we have infringed upon their intellectual property rights and we face the risk of such claims in the future. Any intellectual property infringement claims against us could be costly, time‑consuming, harmful to our reputation or result in injunctive or other equitable relief that may require us to make changes to our business, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, cash flows or results of operations.

Increases in commodity prices and supply chain costs could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

Various commodities are used in our merchandise, such as petroleum, resin, copper, steel, cotton and lumber. These commodities are subject to inflation, price fluctuations and other market disturbances, including supply shortages. Increases in commodity prices or the costs related to our supply chain and distribution network, including currency exchange rates, tariffs, labor, fuel, freight and other transportation costs, could have a material adverse effect on our gross margin, expenses and results of operations. Due to the uncertainty of these price fluctuations and our strategy to maintain everyday low prices, we may not be able to pass some or all of these increased costs on to our customers. Even if we are able to pass these increased costs on to our customers, we may not be able to do so on a timely basis, our gross margins could decline and we may not be able to implement other price increases for our merchandise.

If we are required to make significant investments in advertising, marketing or promotions, our margins and profitability could materially decline.

In general, we employ an everyday low pricing strategy that avoids high‑low pricing and promotions and allows us to minimize advertising and marketing expenses incurred by other retailers. However, there is no assurance that we can continue to be successful without significant advertising, marketing and promotions, particularly as we open stores in new markets. We spent over $20 million in capital and expenses in connection with our rebranding initiative during fiscal year 2015 and may need to incur additional expenses to promote our brand. We have increased marketing and advertising spend as a percentage of our net sales in each of the fiscal years since our initial public offering and expect that marketing and advertising spend will continue to increase as a percentage of net sales in future fiscal years. In addition, there is no assurance that any further investments we have made or may make in the future with respect to advertising, marketing or promotions will be successful or result in a positive return on investment. Therefore, if we are required to make significant investments in advertising, marketing or promotions and related expenditures, our margins and profitability could materially decline even if sales increase.

Any online services or e‑commerce activities that we may launch in the future may require substantial investment and may not be successful.

We do not currently engage in e‑commerce and have a limited online presence through our website and other forms of social media. In fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019, we upgraded our website to be mobile-friendly and enable our customers to view our product assortment online with robust search functionality and optimized the user experience, but we do not currently sell merchandise through our website. However, as part of our growth strategy, we are exploring expansion of our online services and could engage in e‑commerce activities in the future, which would require substantial investment. The success of any online services or e‑commerce business would depend, in part, on factors over which we may not control. We would need to successfully respond to changing consumer preferences and buying trends relating to online or e‑commerce usage. We would also be vulnerable to increased risks and uncertainties including: changes in required technology interfaces; website downtime and other technical failures; costs and technical issues related to upgrading website software; computer viruses; changes in applicable federal and state regulations; security breaches; consumer privacy concerns; and keeping up to date with competitive technology trends, including the use of new or improved technology, creative user interfaces and other online or e‑commerce marketing tools. In addition, any e‑commerce platform may be unprofitable, cannibalize sales from our existing stores or not be able to compete successfully against other Internet‑based retailers who sell similar merchandise. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks and uncertainties might adversely affect sales in any e‑commerce business that we establish in the future and could damage our reputation and brand. Further, in the event that we engage in e‑commerce in the future, we will need to

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establish a shipping and delivery system for items purchased online, for which we do not currently have adequate capability. Our business could be adversely affected if we are not able to successfully develop and integrate such a shipping and delivery system in connection with any e‑commerce business in which we may engage in the future.

Disruptions to our information systems, or our failure to adequately support, maintain and upgrade these systems, could negatively impact our operations and financial results.

We depend on our information technology systems for critical aspects of our business. We have made significant investments in information technology, including investments in systems and applications for finance and accounting functions, supply chain management software for retail operations and data warehouse management systems and an automated distribution system for our distribution center operations. We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmission and storage of data and overall network security. We purchase our inventory through a centralized inventory management system that operates for the entire chain. Merchandise is bar‑coded, enabling management to control inventory and pricing by SKU. Sales are updated daily in the merchandise reporting systems by polling all sales information from each store’s point‑of sale terminals. Stores are then staffed based on a statistically developed labor model which incorporates the daily and hourly store sales volume. We attempt to mitigate the risk of possible business interruptions caused by disruptions to our information systems by maintaining a disaster recovery plan, which includes maintaining backup systems off‑site. However, despite safeguards and careful contingency planning, our systems are still subject to power outages, computer viruses, computer and telecommunication failures, employee usage errors, security breaches, terrorism, natural or man‑made disasters and other catastrophic events. A major disruption of our information systems and backup mechanisms may cause us to incur significant costs to repair our systems and experience a critical loss of data. System failures could also disrupt our ability to track, record and analyze sales and inventory and could cause disruptions of our operations, including, among other things, our ability to process and ship inventory, process financial information including credit card transactions, process payrolls or vendor payments or engage in other similar normal business activities. All of this could potentially result in financial loss, reputational harm, and reimbursement costs associated with inability to properly conduct business. Further, we may be unable to improve, upgrade, integrate or expand upon our existing systems and any costs and potential problems and interruptions associated with the implementation of new or upgraded systems and technology could also disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations.

Unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential customer information could harm our business and standing with our customers.

The protection of our customer, employee and other company data is critical to us. We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmission and storage of confidential customer information, such as payment card and personal information. We devote significant resources to maintain our computer systems, including insurance policies that may, subject to policy terms and limitations, cover a cyber-attack or data breach. Despite the security measures we have in place, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, may be vulnerable to security breaches, acts of vandalism, payment card terminal tampering, computer viruses, ransomware, misplaced, lost or stolen data, programming or human errors or other similar events. Like many retailers, our information systems and those of our vendors may come under attack by U.S. and foreign criminal elements seeking access to our data. The methods used to obtain unauthorized access to data, disable or degrade service, or sabotage our facilities and systems are constantly changing and evolving, and may be difficult to anticipate or detect for long periods of time. The ever-evolving threats mean we must continually evaluate and adapt our systems and processes, and there is no guarantee that they will be adequate to safeguard against all data security breaches or misuses of data. We and our third-party service providers may not anticipate or prevent all types of attacks until after they have already been launched, and techniques used to obtain unauthorized access to or sabotage systems change frequently and may not be known until launched against us or our third-party service providers. In addition, security breaches can also occur as a result of non-technical issues, including intentional or inadvertent breaches by our employees or by persons with whom we have commercial relationships. The risks associated with our processing of sensitive customer data may be heightened if the amount of such data collected is increased, including via the co-branded and private label credit card and customer loyalty programs that we launched during the third quarter of fiscal year 2018. Our collection and use of information is regulated at the international, national and state levels. Any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, whether by us or our third-party service providers, could damage our reputation, financial loss, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, expose us to risk of litigation and liability, regulatory actions, regulatory fines and penalties, additional compliance

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costs, reimbursement or other compensation costs, disrupt our operations and harm our business. In addition, as a result of recent security breaches at a number of prominent retailers, the media and public scrutiny of information security and privacy has become more intense. As a result, we may incur significant costs to change our business practices or modify our service offerings in connection with the protection of personally identifiable information.

Regulatory or litigation developments could materially adversely affect our business operations and financial performance.

We are subject to numerous statutory, regulatory and legal requirements at a local, state, national and international level because of our business operations, store locations, workforce, sales to consumers and importation of merchandise. In addition, as a publicly traded company we may be exposed to the risk of stockholder litigation if our stock price declines. Laws and regulations affecting our business may change, sometimes frequently and significantly, as a result of political, economic, social or other events. Changes in the regulatory environment in the areas of product safety, environmental protection, privacy and information security, health care, labor and employment, U.S. customs, advertising and taxes, among others, could potentially impact our operations and financial results. For example, more stringent and varied requirements of local and state governmental bodies with respect to zoning, land use and environmental factors could delay or prevent development of new stores in particular locations. Environmental laws and regulations also govern, among other things, discharges of pollutants into the air and water as well as the presence, handling, release and disposal of and exposure to hazardous substances. These laws provide for significant fines and penalties for noncompliance. Third parties may also make personal injury, property damage or other claims against us associated with actual or alleged release of, or exposure to, hazardous substances at our properties. We could also be strictly liable, without regard to fault, for certain environmental conditions at properties we formerly owned or operated as well as at our current properties. We could be negatively impacted by developments in these areas due to the costs of compliance, and if we fail to comply with a law or regulation, we may be subject to claims, lawsuits, fines, penalties, loss of a license or permit and adverse publicity or other consequences that could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Product recalls and/or product liability, as well as changes in product safety and other consumer protection laws, may adversely impact our operations, merchandise offerings, reputation, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

We are subject to regulations by a variety of federal, state and international regulatory authorities, including The Consumer Product Safety Commission. A large portion of our merchandise is manufactured in foreign countries. As such, one or more of our vendors might not adhere to product safety requirements or our quality control standards, and we might not identify the deficiency before merchandise ships to our stores. If our merchandise offerings do not meet applicable safety standards or our customers’ expectations regarding safety, we could experience lost sales and increased costs and be exposed to legal and reputational risk. We could be required to recall some of those products or could expose ourselves to government enforcement action or private litigation, such as product liability claims, which could result in significant fines, penalties, monetary damages and other remedies as well as harm to our reputation. We could also be subject to litigation related to injuries or other accidents at our stores or distribution center.

Moreover, changes in product safety or other consumer protection laws could lead to increased costs to us for certain merchandise, or additional labor costs associated with readying merchandise for sale. Long lead times on merchandise ordering cycles increase the difficulty for us to plan and prepare for potential changes to applicable laws. In particular, The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 imposes significant requirements on manufacturing, importing, testing and labeling requirements for some of our products. In the event that we are unable to timely comply with regulatory changes, significant fines or penalties could result, and could adversely affect our reputation, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

Inadequacy of our insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We maintain third-party insurance coverage against various liability risks and risks of property loss and business interruption, as well as directors’ and officers’ liability insurance coverage. While we believe these arrangements are an effective way to insure against liability and property damage risks, the potential liabilities associated with those risks or other events could exceed the coverage provided by such arrangements. Significant uninsured liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our Company.

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Our continued success is substantially dependent on positive perceptions of At Home.

We are highly dependent on our reputation amongst home décor enthusiasts. To remain successful in the future, we must continue to preserve, grow and utilize the value of our reputation as the destination retailer for our customers’ home décor needs. Reputational value is based in large part on perceptions of subjective qualities, and even isolated incidents may erode trust and confidence. Events that can damage our reputation include, but are not limited to, legal violations, litigation, actual or perceived ethical problems, product safety issues, actual or perceived poor employee relations, actual or perceived poor customer service, store appearance or operational issues, unauthorized use or other misappropriation of our trade name, data security, terrorism or other events outside of our control that could generate negative publicity with respect to At Home, whether in traditional media or social media outlets. Any event that has the potential to negatively impact our trade name or our reputation with customers, employees, suppliers, communities, governmental officials and others could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Our operating results and financial position could be negatively impacted by accounting policies, rules and regulations.

Our operating results and financial position could be negatively impacted by implementation of our various accounting policies as well as changes to accounting rules and regulations or new interpretations of existing accounting standards. These changes may include, without limitation, changes to lease accounting standards. For example, while we are still evaluating the impact of our pending adoption of ASU No. 2016‑02, “Leases” on our consolidated financial statements, we expect that upon adoption we will recognize right-of-use assets and liabilities, derecognize our current financing obligations and record gains on sale-leasebacks when incurred rather than amortizing the gain over the life of the lease, which will be material to our financial statements. In addition, from time to time, we could incur impairment charges that adversely affect our operating results. For example, changes in economic or operating conditions impacting our estimates and assumptions could result in the impairment of intangible assets (such as our goodwill or trade name) or long‑lived assets in accordance with applicable accounting guidance. In the event that we determine our intangible or long‑lived assets are impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings in our financial statements that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Recently enacted changes to the U.S. tax laws may have a material impact on our business. Other changes in our effective income tax rate could also affect us.

Our effective income tax rate is influenced by a number of factors. Changes in the tax laws, the interpretation of existing laws or our failure to sustain our reporting positions on examination could adversely affect our effective tax rate. Further, our effective tax rate in a given financial statement period may be materially impacted by changes in the mix and level of earnings or by changes to existing accounting rules or regulations.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017  (the “Tax Act”) makes extensive changes to the U.S. tax laws and includes provisions that, among other things, reduce the U.S. corporate tax rate, limit certain deductions for executive compensation, introduce a capital investment deduction, and place certain limitations on the interest deduction. During fiscal year 2019, we completed our accounting for the income tax effects of the Tax Act, and no material adjustments were required to the provisional amounts recorded in fiscal year 2018. The Internal Revenue Service is continuing to issue guidance related to the Tax Act and there can be no assurance that we will not be required to record further charges to income in future periods as the proposed regulations are released.

We are a holding company with no operations of our own, and we depend on our subsidiaries for cash.

We are a holding company and do not have any material assets or operations other than ownership of equity interests of our subsidiaries. Our operations are conducted almost entirely through our subsidiaries, and our ability to generate cash to meet our obligations or to pay dividends, if any, is highly dependent on the earnings of, and receipt of funds from, our subsidiaries through dividends or intercompany loans. The ability of our subsidiaries to generate sufficient cash flow from operations to allow us and them to make scheduled payments on our debt obligations will depend on their future financial performance, which will be affected by a range of economic, competitive and business factors, many of which are outside of our control. We cannot assure our stockholders that the cash flow and earnings of our operating subsidiaries will be adequate for our subsidiaries to service their debt obligations. If our subsidiaries do not generate sufficient cash flow from operations to satisfy corporate obligations, we may have to undertake alternative

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financing plans (such as refinancing), restructure debt, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. We cannot assure our stockholders that any such alternative refinancing would be possible, that any assets could be sold, or, if sold, of the timing of the sales and the amount of proceeds realized from those sales, that additional financing could be obtained on acceptable terms, if at all, or that additional financing would be permitted under the terms of our various debt instruments then in effect. Our inability to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our obligations, or to refinance our obligations on commercially reasonable terms, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Furthermore, we and our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future that may severely restrict or prohibit our subsidiaries from making distributions, paying dividends, if any, or making loans to us.

Risks Relating to Ownership of Our Common Stock

The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile, and our stockholders may not be able to resell their shares of our common stock at or above the price they paid for them.

The trading price of our common stock could be volatile, and our stockholders can lose all or part of their investment. The following factors, in addition to other factors described in this "Risk Factors" section and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, may have a significant impact on the market price of our common stock:

·

quarterly variations in our operating results compared to market expectations;

·

changes in the preferences of our customers;

·

low comparable store sales growth compared to market expectations;

·

delays in the planned openings of new stores;

·

the failure of securities analysts to cover the Company or changes in analysts’ financial estimates;

·

economic, legal, regulatory and political factors unrelated to our performance, including the imposition of tariffs or other trade restrictions;

·

changes in consumer spending or the housing market;

·

increased competition or stock price performance of our competitors;

·

future sales of our common stock or the perception that such sales may occur;

·

changes in senior management or key personnel;

·

investor perceptions of us and the retail industry;

·

new regulatory pronouncements and changes in regulatory guidelines;

·

lawsuits, enforcement actions and other claims by third parties or governmental authorities;

·

action by institutional stockholders or other large stockholders;

·

failure to meet any guidance given by us or any change in any guidance given by us, or changes by us in our guidance practices;

·

speculation in the press or investment community;

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·

events beyond our control, such as war, terrorist attacks, transportation, freight and fuel prices, natural disasters, severe weather and widespread illness; and

·

the other factors listed in this “Risk Factors” section.

In addition, our stock price may be volatile. The stock market in general has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies like us. Accordingly, these broad market and industry factors may significantly reduce the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance.

Because the certain existing stockholders hold a significant percentage of our common stock, they may influence major corporate decisions and their interests may conflict with your interests as an owner of our common stock and those of the Company.

Our Sponsors currently own approximately 26.5% of our common stock. Although we are no longer a controlled company, our Sponsors continue to be able to influence the election of directors and our business, affairs and policies, including the appointment of our management and the entering into of business combinations or dispositions and other corporate transactions. The directors so elected have the authority to incur additional debt, issue or repurchase stock, declare dividends and make other decisions that could be detrimental to stockholders. In addition, pursuant to the Stockholders' Agreement (as defined herein), as long as certain affiliates of AEA, in the aggregate, hold at least 10% of our outstanding common stock, AEA shall be entitled to nominate at least one individual for election to our board, and our board and nominating committee thereof shall nominate and recommend to our stockholders that such individual be elected to our board.

The Sponsors may have interests that are different from our other stockholders and may vote in a way with which our other stockholders disagree and which may be adverse to such stockholders' interests. Further, AEA and Starr Investments may have differing views from each other, neither of which may align with our other stockholders' interests. In addition, the Sponsors' concentration of ownership could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or otherwise discouraging a potential acquirer from attempting to obtain control of us, which could cause the market price of our common stock to decline or prevent stockholders from realizing a premium over the market price for their common stock.

Additionally, the Sponsors are in the business of making investments in companies and may from time to time acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us or supply us with goods and services. The Sponsors may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. Stockholders should consider that the interests of the Sponsors may differ from their interests in material respects.

27


 

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market by our existing stockholders could cause our stock price to fall.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities.

Moreover, the approximately 26.5% of our outstanding common stock held by our Sponsors has been registered for resale on Form S-3. Pursuant to the registration rights agreement to which we and such holders are parties, these holders have the right, subject to certain conditions, to require us to facilitate future offerings of their shares, which would result in their shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act, unless purchased by affiliates (as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act). In November 2018, the shares of our common stock owned by Starr became eligible for sale without registration pursuant to Rule 144 of the Securities Act, but such shares may still be sold in connection with future offerings pursuant to the registration rights agreement. Sales of stock by these stockholders could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our common stock.

As of March 22, 2019, we had 63,648,028 shares of common stock outstanding. Of these shares, all but the 10,536,504 shares of our common stock held by AEA, as well as the shares held by our executive officers and directors, are freely transferable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act.

On April 5, 2017, we filed a registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register the shares of common stock to be issued under our equity compensation plans and, as a result, all shares of common stock acquired upon exercise of stock options granted under our plans are also freely tradable under the Securities Act, unless held by our affiliates. As of January 26, 2019, there were stock options outstanding to purchase a total of 7,758,832 shares of our common stock and 314,027 shares of our common stock subject to restricted stock units. In addition, as of January 26, 2019, 3,923,952 shares of our common stock were reserved for future issuance under our Equity Incentive Plan.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish or cease publishing research or reports about At Home, or if they issue unfavorable commentary about us or our industry or downgrade our common stock, the price of our common stock could decline.

The trading market for our common stock depends in part on the research and reports that third‑party securities analysts publish about At Home and the retail industry. One or more analysts could downgrade our common stock or issue other negative commentary about At Home or our industry. In addition, if one or more of these analysts cease coverage of At Home, we could lose visibility in the market. As a result of one or more of these factors, the trading price of our common stock could decline.

Some provisions of our charter documents and Delaware law may have anti‑takeover effects that could discourage an acquisition of us by others, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders, and may prevent attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management.

Provisions in our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, as well as provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or DGCL, could make it more difficult for a third-party to acquire us or increase the cost of acquiring us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions include:

·

establishing a classified board of directors such that not all members of the board are elected at one time;

·

allowing the total number of directors to be determined exclusively (subject to the rights of holders of any series of preferred stock to elect additional directors) by resolution of our board of directors and granting to our board the sole power (subject to the rights of holders of any series of preferred stock or rights granted pursuant to the stockholders’ agreement) to fill any vacancy on the board;

·

limiting the ability of stockholders to remove directors without cause;

·

authorizing the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock by our board of directors, without further stockholder approval, to thwart a takeover attempt;

28


 

·

prohibiting stockholder action by written consent (and, thus, requiring that all stockholder actions be taken at a meeting of our stockholders);

·

eliminating the ability of stockholders to call a special meeting of stockholders;

·

establishing advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon at annual stockholder meetings; and

·

requiring the approval of the holders of at least two‑thirds of the voting power of all outstanding stock entitled to vote thereon, voting together as a single class, to amend or repeal our certificate of incorporation or bylaws.

In addition, while we have opted out of Section 203 of the DGCL, our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation contains similar provisions providing that we may not engage in certain “business combinations” with any “interested stockholder” for a three‑year period following the time that the stockholder became an interested stockholder, unless:

·

prior to such time, our board of directors approved either the business combination or the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;

·

upon consummation of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of our voting stock outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding certain shares; or

·

at or subsequent to that time, the business combination is approved by our board of directors and by the affirmative vote of holders of at least two‑thirds of our outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.

Generally, a “business combination” includes a merger, asset or stock sale or other transaction provided for or through our Company resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. Subject to certain exceptions, an “interested stockholder” is a person who owns 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock and the affiliates and associates of such person. For purposes of this provision, “voting stock” means any class or series of stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors. Our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that AEA, Starr Investments, their respective affiliates and any of their respective direct or indirect designated transferees (other than in certain market transfers and gifts) and any group of which such persons are a party do not constitute “interested stockholders” for purposes of this provision.

Under certain circumstances, this provision will make it more difficult for a person who qualifies as an “interested stockholder” to effect certain business combinations with our Company for a three‑year period. This provision may encourage companies interested in acquiring us to negotiate in advance with our board of directors in order to avoid the stockholder approval requirement if our board of directors approves either the business combination or the transaction that results in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder. These provisions also may have the effect of preventing changes in our board of directors and may make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that our stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.

These anti‑takeover defenses could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our Company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for our stockholders to elect directors of their choosing and cause us to take corporate actions other than those that our stockholders desire.

29


 

We are exposed to risks relating to evaluations of controls required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes‑Oxley Act.

We are required to comply with the management certification requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We currently perform the system and process evaluation and testing (and any necessary remediation) required to comply with the management certification requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Because we ceased to be an “emerging growth company” as of the end of our fiscal year ended January 26, 2019, we are now subject to Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires that our independent registered public accounting firm provide an attestation report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting for the first time in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, among other additional requirements.

Compliance with Section 404 is expensive and time consuming for management and may result in the detection of control deficiencies of varying degrees of severity under applicable SEC and PCAOB rules and regulations that remain unremediated. As a public company, we are required to report, among other things, control deficiencies that constitute a “material weakness” or changes in internal controls that, or that are reasonably likely to, materially affect internal controls over financial reporting. A “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. A “significant deficiency” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those responsible for oversight of our financial reporting.

To continue to comply with the requirements of being a public company, we have undertaken various actions, such as implementing and enhancing our internal controls and procedures and hiring additional accounting or internal audit staff. Testing and maintaining internal controls can divert our management’s attention from other matters that are important to the operation of our business. Additionally, if we have a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting, we may not detect errors on a timely basis, and our financial statements may be materially misstated. For example, in the past, certain matters involving our internal controls over financial reporting that constituted “material weaknesses” were identified and have since been remediated, which related to our limited accounting personnel and other resources at the time, as well as our adoption of public company standards. If we identify any additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting or are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, if we are required to make further restatements of our financial statements, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting , investors may lose confidence in the accuracy, completeness or reliability of our financial reports and the trading price of our common stock may be adversely affected, and we could become subject to sanctions or investigations by the NYSE, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources. In addition, if we fail to remedy any material weakness, our financial statements could be inaccurate and we could face restricted access to the capital markets.

We do not currently expect to pay any cash dividends.

The continued operation and expansion of our business will require substantial funding. Accordingly, we do not currently expect to pay any cash dividends on shares of our common stock. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant. We are a holding company, and substantially all of our operations are carried out by our operating subsidiaries. Under our ABL Facility and Term Loan, our operating subsidiaries are significantly restricted in their ability to pay dividends or otherwise transfer assets to us, and we expect these limitations to continue in the future. Our ability to pay dividends may also be limited by the terms of any future credit agreement or any future debt or preferred equity securities of ours or of our subsidiaries.

The requirements of being a public company, including compliance with the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the requirements of the Sarbanes‑Oxley Act and the NYSE, may strain our resources, increase our costs and divert management’s attention, and we may be unable to comply with these requirements in a timely or cost‑effective manner.

As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the corporate governance standards of the Sarbanes‑Oxley Act and the NYSE. These requirements place a strain on our management,

30


 

systems and resources and we incur significant legal, accounting, insurance and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Exchange Act requires us to file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition within specified time periods and to prepare a proxy statement with respect to our annual meeting of stockholders. The Sarbanes‑Oxley Act requires that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. The NYSE requires that we comply with various corporate governance requirements. To maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting and comply with the Exchange Act and the NYSE’s requirements, significant resources and management oversight are required. This may divert management’s attention from other business concerns and lead to significant costs associated with compliance, which could have a material adverse effect on us and the price of our common stock.

The expenses incurred by public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect that continuing compliance with these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time‑consuming and costly. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult or costly for us to maintain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as our executive officers. Advocacy efforts by stockholders and third parties may also prompt even more changes in governance and reporting requirements. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of these costs. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our common stock, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.

Our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain litigation that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.

Our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed to us or our stockholders by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising under the DGCL or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our stockholders are deemed to have notice of and have consented to the provisions of our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation related to choice of forum. The choice of forum provision in our second amended and restated certificate of incorporation may limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us. 

 

ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

 

We lease our corporate headquarters, distribution centers and the majority of our store properties. Our store locations are generally anchor, stand-alone or mall-enclosed locations that range between 75,000 and 165,000 square feet, averaging approximately 110,000 square feet per store. As of January 26, 2019, we operated 180 stores across the United States, of which 168 are leased and 12 are owned locations. Our leases generally have a term of 5 to 20 years, with renewal options that generally range from 5 to 20 years and are subject to escalating rent increases. We are typically responsible for taxes, utilities, insurance, repairs and maintenance for these store properties. Certain leases require the

31


 

payment of contingent rent based on a specified percentage of stores’ gross sales, as defined in the lease agreement, and are subject to certain limitations. A summary of our store locations by state as of January 26, 2019 is below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

   

Store(s)

 

Location

   

Store(s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabama

 

 5

 

Nebraska

 

 1

 

Arizona

 

 6

 

Nevada

 

 1

 

Arkansas

 

 2

 

New Jersey

 

 3

 

Colorado

 

 4

 

New Mexico

 

 1

 

Connecticut

 

 1

 

New York

 

 6

 

Florida

 

 6

 

North Carolina

 

 5

 

Georgia

 

11

 

Ohio

 

 8

 

Illinois

 

 5

 

Oklahoma

 

 3

 

Indiana

 

 6

 

Pennsylvania

 

 8

 

Iowa

 

 3

 

Rhode Island

 

 1

 

Kansas

 

 2

 

South Carolina

 

 2

 

Kentucky

 

 4

 

South Dakota

 

 1

 

Louisiana

 

 4

 

Tennessee

 

 7

 

Maryland

 

 3

 

Texas

 

34

 

Massachusetts

 

 1

 

Utah

 

 4

 

Michigan

 

10

 

Virginia

 

 8

 

Minnesota

 

 2

 

Washington

 

 1

 

Mississippi

 

 3

 

Wisconsin

 

 2

 

Missouri

 

 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

180

 

 

We lease a 592,000 square foot distribution center in Plano, Texas, which also serves as our corporate headquarters. The lease will expire in 2036 and we have options to renew the lease for an additional period of up to 20 years. At the beginning of fiscal year 2020, we opened an 800,000 square foot second distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The lease will expire in 2031 and we have options to renew the lease for an additional period of up to 10 years. We believe that our current facilities will be sufficient to support more than 350 stores. We also lease an additional 555,000 square feet warehouse premises located in Garland, Texas, for initial inventory build-up for new store openings.

 

ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

We are subject to various litigations, claims and other proceedings that arise from time to time in the ordinary course of business. We believe these actions are routine and incidental to the business. While the outcome of these actions cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe that any will have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

32


 

PART II

 

ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Market Information

 

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbol “HOME”. As of January 26, 2019, there were approximately four holders of record of our common stock. The number of holders of record is based upon the actual number of holders registered at such date and does not include holders of shares in “street names” or persons, partnerships, associates, corporations or other entities identified in security position listing maintained by depositories.

 

Dividend Policy

 

We do not currently expect to pay any cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. Instead, we intend to retain future earnings, if any, for the future operation and expansion of our business and the repayment of debt. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable laws and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. Our business is conducted through our subsidiaries. Dividends, distributions and other payments from, and cash generated by, our subsidiaries will be our principal sources of cash to repay indebtedness, fund operations and pay dividends. Accordingly, our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders is dependent on the earnings and distributions of funds from our subsidiaries. In addition, the covenants in the agreements governing our existing indebtedness significantly restrict the ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or otherwise transfer assets to us. For information regarding restrictions on the payment of dividends imposed by agreements for indebtedness, see Note 6 – Revolving Line of Credit, to our audited consolidated financial statements included in “Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules”, which is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

 

None.

 

Purchase of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

 

None. 

 

Performance Graph

 

The following graph shows a comparison of cumulative total return to holders of shares of At Home Group Inc.’s common stock against the cumulative total return of S&P 500 Index and S&P 500 Specialty Retail Index from August 4, 2016 (the date our common stock commenced trading on the NYSE) through January 26, 2019. The comparison of the cumulative total returns for each investment assumes that $100 was invested in At Home Group Inc. common stock and the respective indices on August 4, 2016 through January 26, 2019 including reinvestment of any dividends. Historical share price performance should not be relied upon as an indication of future share price performance.

 

33


 

This performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act or Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.

 

Picture 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

08/04/2016

    

1/28/2017

 

7/29/2017

 

01/27/2018

 

7/28/2018

 

1/26/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Home Group Inc.

 

$

100.00

 

$

100.93

 

$

151.80

 

$

224.87

 

$

238.40

 

$

149.53

 

S&P 500 Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

106.03

 

 

114.22

 

 

132.74

 

 

130.24

 

 

123.13

 

S&P 500 Specialty Retail Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

97.95

 

 

94.75

 

 

126.25

 

 

123.36

 

 

118.76

 

 

 

 

ITEM 6.  SELECTED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING DATA

 

The following selected consolidated financial data for each of the years ended January 26, 2019, January 27, 2018 and January 28, 2017, and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of January 26, 2019 and January 27, 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are included in “Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules”. The selected consolidated financial data for the fiscal years ended January 30, 2016 and January 31, 2015 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of January 28, 2017, January 30, 2016 and January 31, 2015 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

34


 

 

We operate on a fiscal calendar which, in a given fiscal year, consists of a 52- or 53-week period ending on the last Saturday in January. The reporting periods contained in our audited consolidated financial statements included in this report contain 52 weeks of operations for each of the fiscal years ended January 26, 2019, January 27, 2018, January 28, 2017 and January 30, 2016.  The fiscal year ended January 31, 2015 contained 53 weeks of operations. The historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for any future period and are reported in thousands, except for per share data and operational data. You should read the selected consolidated financial and operating data for the periods presented in conjunction with “Item 1A. Risk Factors”, “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes, which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

January 26,

 

January 27,

 

January 28,

 

January 30,

 

January 31,

 

    

2019

    

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

1,165,899

 

$

950,528

 

$

765,635

 

$

622,161

 

$

497,733

Cost of sales

 

 

780,048

 

 

643,570

 

 

518,155

 

 

421,750

 

 

335,617

Gross profit

 

 

385,851

 

 

306,958

 

 

247,480

 

 

200,411

 

 

162,116

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

303,453

 

 

211,057

 

 

170,556

 

 

135,716

 

 

110,503

Impairment charges

 

 

 —

 

 

2,422

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

6,363

 

 

6,118

 

 

4,247

 

 

2,476

 

 

5,310

Total operating expenses

 

 

309,816

 

 

219,597

 

 

174,803

 

 

138,192

 

 

115,813

Operating income

 

 

76,035

 

 

87,361

 

 

72,677

 

 

62,219

 

 

46,303

Interest expense, net

 

 

27,056

 

 

21,704

 

 

27,174

 

 

36,759

 

 

42,382

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

2,715

 

 

36,046

 

 

 —

Income (loss) before income taxes

 

 

48,979

 

 

65,657

 

 

42,788

 

 

(10,586)

 

 

3,921

Income tax (benefit) provision

 

 

(17)

 

 

33,845

 

 

15,722

 

 

(14,160)

 

 

4,357

Net income (loss)

 

$

48,996

 

$

31,812

 

$

27,066

 

$

3,574

 

$

(436)

Per Share Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income (loss) per common share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

$

0.78

 

$

0.53

 

$

0.49

 

$

0.07

 

$

(0.01)

Diluted

 

$

0.74

 

$

0.50

 

$

0.48

 

$

0.07

 

$

(0.01)

Weighted average shares outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

 

62,936,959

 

 

60,503,860

 

 

55,414,037

 

 

50,836,727

 

 

50,836,727

Diluted

 

 

66,299,646

 

 

63,712,003

 

 

56,892,183

 

 

51,732,752

 

 

50,836,727

Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

10,951

 

$

8,525

 

$

7,092

 

$

5,428

 

$

4,706

Inventories, net

 

 

382,023

 

 

269,844

 

 

243,795

 

 

176,388

 

 

142,256

Property and equipment, net

 

 

682,663

 

 

466,263

 

 

340,358

 

 

272,776

 

 

220,084

Total assets

 

 

1,726,206

 

 

1,374,241

 

 

1,214,471

 

 

1,055,639

 

 

969,074

Current portion of long-term debt and financing obligations

 

 

4,049

 

 

3,474

 

 

3,691

 

 

3,789

 

 

758

Long-term debt

 

 

336,435

 

 

289,902

 

 

299,606

 

 

422,610

 

 

369,990

Financing obligations

 

 

35,038

 

 

19,690

 

 

19,937

 

 

19,017

 

 

19,683

Total shareholders' equity

 

 

711,086

 

 

590,879

 

 

534,870

 

 

369,153

 

 

360,916

Operational Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total stores at end of period

 

 

180

 

 

149

 

 

123

 

 

100

 

 

81

New stores opened

 

 

34

 

 

28

 

 

24

 

 

20

 

 

16

Comparable store sales

 

 

2.7%

 

 

6.5%

 

 

3.7%

 

 

3.9%

 

 

8.3%

 

35


 

ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

This discussion and analysis of the financial condition and results of our operations should be read in conjunction with “Item 6. Selected Financial and Operating Data” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes of At Home Group Inc. included in Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should review “Item 1A. Risk Factors” section of this filing for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by any forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

 

We operate on a fiscal calendar widely used by the retail industry that results in a given fiscal year consisting of a 52- or 53-week period ending on the last Saturday in January. In a 52-week fiscal year, each quarter contains 13 weeks of operations; in a 53-week fiscal year, each of the first, second and third quarters includes 13 weeks of operations and the fourth quarter includes 14 weeks of operations. References to a fiscal year mean the year in which that fiscal year ends. References herein to “fiscal year 2019” relate to the 52 weeks ending January 26, 2019, references herein to “fiscal year 2018” relate to the 52 weeks ending January 27, 2018 and references herein to “fiscal year 2017” relate to the 52 weeks ended January 28, 2017.

 

Overview

 

At Home is the leading home décor superstore based on the number of our locations and our large format stores that we believe dedicate more space per store to home décor than any other player in the industry. We are focused on providing the broadest assortment of products for any room, in any style, for any budget. We utilize our space advantage to out-assort our competition, offering over 50,000 SKUs throughout our stores. Our differentiated merchandising strategy allows us to identify on-trend products and then value engineer those products to provide desirable aesthetics at attractive price points for our customers. Over 70% of our products are unbranded, private label or specifically designed for us. We believe that our broad and comprehensive offering and compelling value proposition combine to create a leading destination for home décor with the opportunity to continue taking market share in a highly fragmented and growing industry.

 

We were founded in 1979 in Garden Ridge, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio. After we were acquired in 2011 by a group of investors led by certain affiliates of AEA and Starr Investments, we began a series of strategic investments in our business that we believe have laid the foundation for continued profitable growth.

 

Our strengthened management team, new brand identity, improved real estate capabilities, upgraded and automated distribution center and enhanced information systems continue to enable us to expand our store base while maintaining our industry-leading profitability.

 

As of January 26, 2019, our store base is comprised of 180 large format stores across 37 states, averaging approximately 110,000 square feet per store. Over the past five completed fiscal years we have opened 122 new stores and we believe there is significant whitespace opportunity to increase our store count in both existing and new markets.

 

Trends and Other Factors Affecting Our Business

 

Various trends and other factors affect or have affected our operating results, including:

 

Overall economic trends. The overall economic environment and related changes in consumer behavior have a significant impact on our business. In general, positive conditions in the broader economy promote customer spending in our stores, while economic weakness results in a reduction of customer spending. Macroeconomic factors that can affect customer spending patterns, and thereby our results of operations, include employment rates, business conditions, changes in the housing market, the availability of credit, interest rates, tax rates and fuel and energy costs.

 

Consumer preferences and demand. Our ability to maintain our appeal to existing customers and attract new customers depends on our ability to originate, develop and offer a compelling product assortment responsive to customer

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preferences and design trends. If we misjudge the market for our products, we may be faced with excess inventories for some products and may be required to become more promotional in our selling activities, which would impact our net sales and gross profit.

 

New store openings. We expect new stores will be the key driver of the growth in our sales and operating profit in the future. Our results of operations have been and will continue to be materially affected by the timing and number of new store openings. The performance of new stores may vary depending on various factors such as the store opening date, the time of year of a particular opening, the amount of store opening costs, the amount of store occupancy costs and the location of the new store, including whether it is located in a new or existing market. For example, we typically incur higher than normal employee costs at the time of a new store opening associated with set-up and other opening costs. In addition, in response to the interest and excitement generated when we open a new store, the new stores generally experience higher net sales during the initial period of one to three months after which the new store’s net sales will begin to normalize as it reaches maturity within six months of opening, as further discussed below.

 

Our planned store expansion will place increased demands on our operational, managerial, administrative and other resources. Managing our growth effectively will require us to continue to enhance our inventory management and distribution systems, financial and management controls and information systems. We will also be required to hire, train and retain store management and store personnel which, together with increased marketing costs, can affect our operating margins.

 

A new store typically reaches maturity, meaning the store’s annualized targeted sales volume has been reached, within six months of opening. New stores are included in the comparable store base during the sixteenth full fiscal month following the store’s opening, which we believe represents the most appropriate comparison. We also periodically explore opportunities to relocate a limited number of existing stores to improve location, lease terms, store layout or customer experience. Relocated stores typically achieve a level of operating profitability comparable to our company-wide average for existing stores more quickly than new stores.

 

Infrastructure investment. Our historical operating results reflect the impact of our ongoing investments to support our growth. In the past six fiscal years, we have made significant investments in our business that we believe have laid the foundation for continued profitable growth. We believe that our strengthened management team, new brand identity, upgraded and automated distribution center and enhanced information systems, including our warehouse management and POS systems, enable us to replicate our profitable store format and differentiated shopping experience. In addition, we implemented a merchandise planning system and upgraded our inventory allocation system to better manage inventory for each store and corresponding customer base, and made investments relating to our second distribution center that we opened in the beginning of fiscal year 2020. We expect these infrastructure investments to support our successful operating model over a significantly expanded store base.

 

Pricing strategy. We are committed to providing our products at everyday low prices. We value engineer products in collaboration with our suppliers to recreate the “look” that we believe our customer wants while eliminating the costly construction elements that our customer does not value. We believe our customer views shopping At Home as an in-person experience through which our customer can see and feel the quality of our products and physically assemble a desired aesthetic. This design approach allows us to deliver an attractive value to our customer, as our products are typically less expensive than other branded products with a similar look. We employ a simple everyday low pricing strategy that consistently delivers savings to our customer without the need for extensive promotions, as evidenced by over 80% of our net sales occurring at full price.

 

Our ability to source and distribute products effectively. Our net sales and gross profit are affected by our ability to purchase our products in sufficient quantities at competitive prices. While we believe our vendors have adequate capacity to meet our current and anticipated demand, our level of net sales could be adversely affected in the event of constraints in our supply chain, including the inability of our vendors to produce sufficient quantities of some merchandise in a manner that is able to match market demand from our customers, leading to lost sales. Recently enacted tariffs could also impact our or our vendors’ ability to source product efficiently or create other supply chain disruptions. While we believe the direct effect of the recently enacted tariffs would not have a material impact on our business due to

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a combination of supplier negotiations, direct sourcing and strategic price increases, gross profit could be adversely affected if these initiatives are not successful or if new or proposed tariffs are adopted.

 

Fluctuation in quarterly results. Our quarterly results have historically varied depending upon a variety of factors, including our product offerings, promotional events, store openings and shifts in the timing of holidays, among other things. As a result of these factors, our working capital requirements and demands on our product distribution and delivery network may fluctuate during the year.

 

Inflation and deflation trends. Our financial results can be expected to be directly impacted by substantial increases in product costs due to commodity cost increases or general inflation, including with respect to freight costs, which could lead to a reduction in our sales as well as greater margin pressure as costs may not be able to be passed on to consumers. To date, changes in commodity prices and general inflation have not materially impacted our business. Currently, we are facing inflationary pressure on freight costs, which we believe are being heightened by tariff-related shipment surges and port congestion. In response to increasing commodity prices, freight costs or general inflation, we seek to minimize the impact of such events by sourcing our merchandise from different vendors, changing our product mix or increasing our pricing when necessary.

 

How We Assess the Performance of Our Business

 

In assessing our performance, we consider a variety of performance and financial measures. The key measures include net sales, gross profit and gross margin, and selling, general and administrative expenses. In addition, we also review other important metrics such as Adjusted EBITDA, Store-level Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income.

 

Net Sales

 

Net sales are derived from direct retail sales to customers in our stores, net of merchandise returns and discounts. Growth in net sales is impacted by opening new stores and increases in comparable store sales.

 

New store openings

 

The number of new store openings reflects the new stores opened during a particular reporting period, including any relocations of existing stores during such period. Before we open new stores, we incur pre-opening costs, as described below. The total number of new stores per year and the timing of store openings has, and will continue to have, an impact on our results as described above in “—Trends and Other Factors Affecting Our Business”.

 

Comparable store sales

 

A store is included in the comparable store sales calculation on the first day of the sixteenth full fiscal month following the store's opening, which is when we believe comparability is achieved. When a store is being relocated or remodeled, we exclude sales from that store in the calculation of comparable store sales until the first day of the sixteenth full fiscal month after it reopens. In addition, when applicable, we adjust for the effect of the 53rd week. There may be variations in the way in which some of our competitors and other retailers calculate comparable or “same store” sales. As a result, data in this report regarding our comparable store sales may not be comparable to similar data made available by other retailers.

 

Comparable store sales allow us to evaluate how our store base is performing by measuring the change in period-over-period net sales in stores that have been open for the applicable period. Various factors affect comparable store sales, including:

 

·

consumer preferences, buying trends and overall economic trends;

 

·

our ability to identify and respond effectively to customer preferences and trends;

 

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·

our ability to provide an assortment of high quality and trend-right product offerings that generate new and repeat visits to our stores;

 

·

the customer experience we provide in our stores;

 

·

our ability to source and receive products accurately and timely;

 

·

changes in product pricing, including promotional activities;

 

·

the number of items purchased per store visit;

 

·

weather; and

 

·

timing and length of holiday shopping periods.

 

Opening new stores is an important part of our growth strategy. As we continue to pursue our growth strategy, we anticipate that an increasing percentage of our net sales will come from stores not included in our comparable store sales calculation. Accordingly, comparable store sales are only one measure we use to assess the success of our growth strategy.

 

Gross Profit and Gross Margin

 

Gross profit is determined by subtracting cost of sales from our net sales. Gross margin measures gross profit as a percentage of net sales.

Cost of sales consists of various expenses related to the cost of selling our merchandise. Cost of sales consists of the following: (1) cost of merchandise, net of inventory shrinkage, damages and vendor allowances; (2) inbound freight and internal transportation costs such as distribution center-to-store freight costs; (3) costs of operating our distribution center, including labor, occupancy costs, supplies, and depreciation; and (4) store occupancy costs including rent, insurance, taxes, common area maintenance, utilities, repairs and maintenance and depreciation. The components of our cost of sales expenses may not be comparable to other retailers.

 

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses (“SG&A”) consist of various expenses related to supporting and facilitating the sale of merchandise in our stores. These costs include payroll, benefits and other personnel expenses for corporate and store employees, including stock-based compensation expense, consulting, legal and other professional services expenses, marketing and advertising expenses, occupancy costs for our corporate headquarters and various other expenses.

 

SG&A includes both fixed and variable components and, therefore, is not directly correlated with net sales. In addition, the components of our SG&A expenses may not be comparable to those of other retailers. We expect that our SG&A expenses will increase in future periods due to our continuing store growth. In particular, we have expanded our marketing and advertising spend as a percentage of net sales in each of the fiscal years since our initial public offering and expect that marketing and advertising spend will continue to increase as a percentage of net sales in future fiscal years. For fiscal year 2019, total marketing and advertising expense increased to approximately 3.1% of net sales.

 

In addition, any increase in future stock option or other stock-based grants or modifications will increase our stock-based compensation expense included in SG&A. In particular, the one-time bonus grant of stock options to certain members of our senior management in connection with our initial public offering resulted in incremental non-cash stock-based compensation expense of approximately $20.0 million, which was expensed over the derived service period beginning with the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 and continuing into the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.  Additionally, the one-time grant of stock options to our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer made in the second fiscal

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quarter 2019 resulted in incremental non-cash stock-based compensation expense of approximately $41.5 million, which vested immediately and was fully recognized in the second fiscal quarter 2019.

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

Adjusted EBITDA is a key metric used by management and our board of directors to assess our financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA is also the basis for performance evaluation under our current executive compensation programs. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA is frequently used by analysts, investors and other interested parties to evaluate companies in our industry. In addition to covenant compliance and executive performance evaluations, we use Adjusted EBITDA to supplement generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”) measures of performance to evaluate the effectiveness of our business strategies, to make budgeting decisions and to compare our performance against that of other peer companies using similar measures.

 

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income before net interest expense, loss from early extinguishment of debt, income tax provision and depreciation and amortization, adjusted for the impact of certain other items as defined in our debt agreements, including certain legal settlements and consulting and other professional fees, relocation and employee recruiting incentives, management fees and expenses, stock-based compensation expense, impairment of our trade name and non-cash rent. For a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, see “—Results of Operations”.

 

Store-level Adjusted EBITDA

 

We use Store-level Adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental measure of our performance, which represents our Adjusted EBITDA excluding the impact of costs associated with new store openings and certain corporate overhead expenses that we do not consider in our evaluation of the ongoing operating performance of our stores from period to period. Our calculation of Store-level Adjusted EBITDA is a supplemental measure of operating performance of our stores and may not be comparable to similar measures reported by other companies. We believe that Store-level Adjusted EBITDA is an important measure to evaluate the performance and profitability of each of our stores, individually and in the aggregate, especially given the level of investments we have made in our home office and infrastructure over the past five years to support future growth. We also believe that Store-level Adjusted EBITDA is a useful measure in evaluating our operating performance because it removes the impact of general and administrative expenses, which are not incurred at the store level, and the costs of opening new stores, which are non-recurring at the store level, and thereby enables the comparability of the operating performance of our stores during the period. We use Store-level Adjusted EBITDA information to benchmark our performance versus competitors. Store-level Adjusted EBITDA should not be used as a substitute for consolidated measures of profitability of performance because it does not reflect corporate overhead expenses that are necessary to allow us to effectively operate our stores and generate Store-level Adjusted EBITDA. For a reconciliation of Store-level Adjusted EBITDA to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, see “—Results of Operations”.

 

Adjusted Net Income

 

Adjusted Net Income represents our net income, adjusted for impairment charges, loss on extinguishment of debt, initial public offering related non-cash stock-based compensation expense and related payroll tax expenses and the income tax impact associated with the special one-time initial public offering bonus stock option exercises, non-cash stock-based compensation expense related to the special one-time grant of stock options to our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, costs associated with the resignation of our former Chief Financial Officer (the “CFO Transition”), transaction costs related to our initial public offering and the registration and sale of shares of our common stock on behalf of certain existing stockholders, losses incurred due to the modification of debt, loss on disposal of certain buildings and tax impacts associated with the Tax Act. We present Adjusted Net Income because we believe it assists investors and analysts in comparing our performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that we do not believe are indicative of our core operating performance. For a reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, see “—Results of Operations”.

 

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Results of Operations

 

The following tables summarize key components of our results of operations for the periods indicated in dollars (in thousands), as a percentage of our net sales and other operational data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

    

January 26, 2019

    

January 27, 2018

    

January 28, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

1,165,899

 

$

950,528

 

$

765,635

 

Cost of sales

 

 

780,048

 

 

643,570

 

 

518,155

 

Gross profit

 

 

385,851

 

 

306,958

 

 

247,480

 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

303,453

 

 

211,057

 

 

170,556

 

Impairment charges

 

 

 —

 

 

2,422

 

 

 —

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

6,363

 

 

6,118

 

 

4,247

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

309,816

 

 

219,597

 

 

174,803

 

Operating income

 

 

76,035

 

 

87,361

 

 

72,677

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

27,056

 

 

21,704

 

 

27,174

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

2,715

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

48,979

 

 

65,657

 

 

42,788

 

Income tax (benefit) provision

 

 

(17)

 

 

33,845

 

 

15,722

 

Net income

 

$

48,996

 

$

31,812

 

$

27,066

 

Percentage of Net Sales:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

 

100.0 %

 

 

100.0 %

 

 

100.0 %

 

Cost of sales

 

 

66.9 %

 

 

67.7 %

 

 

67.7 %

 

Gross profit

 

 

33.1 %

 

 

32.3 %

 

 

32.3 %

 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

26.0 %

 

 

22.2 %

 

 

22.3 %

 

Impairment charges

 

 

— %

 

 

0.3 %

 

 

— %

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

0.5 %

 

 

0.6 %

 

 

0.6 %

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

26.6 %

 

 

23.1 %

 

 

22.8 %

 

Operating income

 

 

6.5 %

 

 

9.2 %

 

 

9.5 %

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

2.3 %

 

 

2.3 %

 

 

3.5 %

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

— %

 

 

— %

 

 

0.4 %

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

4.2 %

 

 

6.9 %

 

 

5.6 %

 

Income tax (benefit) provision

 

 

(0.0)%

 

 

3.6 %

 

 

2.1 %

 

Net income

 

 

4.2 %

 

 

3.3 %

 

 

3.5 %

 

Operational Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total stores at end of period

 

 

180

 

 

149

 

 

123

 

New stores opened

 

 

34

 

 

28

 

 

24

 

Comparable store sales

 

 

2.7%

 

 

6.5%

 

 

3.7%

 

Non-GAAP Measures(1):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Store-level Adjusted EBITDA(2)

 

$

305,901

 

$

252,452

 

$

198,987

 

Store-level Adjusted EBITDA margin(2)

 

 

26.2%

 

 

26.6%

 

 

26.0%

 

Adjusted EBITDA(2)

 

$

196,406