Five Below Inc (FIVE) Q3 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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Five Below Inc (NASDAQ: FIVE)
Q3 2019 Earnings Call
Dec 4, 2019, 4:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Five Below Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to Christiane Pelz, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Christiane PelzVice President of Investor Relations

Thank you, Gary. Good afternoon, everyone and thanks for joining us today for Five Below’s third quarter 2019 financial results conference call. On today’s call are Joel Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Ken Bull, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. After management has made their formal remarks, we will open the call to questions.

I need to remind you that certain comments made during this call may constitute forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to and within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as amended. Such forward-looking statements are subject to both known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. Those risks and uncertainties are described in the press release and our SEC filings.

The forward-looking statements made today are as of the date of this call and we do not undertake any obligation to update our forward-looking statements. If you do not have a copy of today’s press release, you may obtain one by visiting the Investor Relations page of our website at fivebelow.com.

I will now turn the call over to Joel.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Christiane, and thanks everyone for joining us for our third quarter earnings call. I will review the highlights of the quarter before handing it over to Ken to discuss our financials and our outlook and then we will open the call up for questions.

We are pleased to have delivered a strong Q3. Sales came in above our outlook, increasing 21% to $377 million and earnings per share of $0.18 beat our guidance range by a penny. We saw continued outperformance of our new stores and comp growth of 2.9% driven by increases in both basket and transactions.

New store performance was again a highlight of our third quarter results. During Q3, we opened 61 new stores which is six more than planned and the most stores we’ve ever opened in a single quarter. Our new store count to over 144 stores at the end of Q3 and we have sense open six more to complete our planned 150 new stores for the year. We opened in diverse markets across 24 states and seven of these Q3 new stores made our top 25 all-time ball grand opening list. New markets, range from Lincoln, Nebraska to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as Fresno, California, illustrating yet again the breadth of Five Below’s appeal. With an industry-leading less than one-year average payback period on our new store investment. New stores remain the best use of our capital.

During the third quarter we once again experienced broad-based performance across our eight worlds led by Style, Tech, Candy and Room. In addition to a strong back-to-school season, a variety of trends contributed to our results, including journaling and gaming, as well as movie related trends. We set our Frozen 2 displays at the beginning of October and preparation for the much-anticipated movie release on November 22. Our merchandising teams did an excellent job sourcing this assortment with exclusive items and incredible deals and the displays are truly impressive.

The range of products is quite broad, with kids Tees, styling accessories and jewelry as well as blush. We are different company since the last movie debuted in 2013. We have tripled our size generating substantial scale benefits. Our merchandising group led by Michael Romanko has developed a direct relationship with Disney with access to exclusive products and we have increased brand awareness through targeted marketing including social media. All of this has enabled our teams to prepare for and capitalize on this exciting trend.

Moving on to pricing on October 18, our tech world pricing went from $5 to $5.55 the most tech products. As we previously mentioned breaking the $5 price point was a decision we did not take lightly. We tested the idea and three major metro markets for several months before rolling it out to the chain. As we discussed on the second quarter call during the testing period, we listen to our customers and based on their feedback we made additional changes to be as transparent as possible. While prices have gone up slightly by cents not dollars, the vast majority of SKUs remain at $5 and below. And the elasticity results have been in line with our expectations. Our goal remains to continue to source and deliver extreme value products to our customers, without compromising on quality. Our growing scale expanding vendor relationships and strong sourcing teams further strengthen our ability to do this.

In addition we are continuing to execute against our key strategic initiatives, namely marketing, people, systems and infrastructure as we continue to ensure we have a solid foundation to support future growth. We are also focused on elevating the customer and associate experience through innovation, which is a top priority for us. Several of our innovation initiatives are focused on the store experience, namely the remodel program, the reimagined front-end or RFE. The Ten Below test as well as our recent investment in a gaming company called Nerd Street Gamers. First with regards to our remodel program we are on track to complete 50 remodels for 2019.

The feedback from our customers in the store teams about the difference in the shopping experience continues to be very positive and our remodels have generated a mid-single digit comp lift in their first full year post remodel. We still expect to remodel a total of approximately 300 stores over the next few years with a higher number of remodels next year as compared to this year. Second the reimagined front-end experience is now in about 160 stores. Including most of the new stores and remodels the benefits of the new RFE include shorter lines and expanded impulse section and better associate engagement, which all combined should translate into an improved customer experience during the upcoming peak holiday shopping weeks.

The third area of innovation, we are developing is Ten Below. Our in-store test providing extreme value merchandise at price points above $5 and up to $10. The concept is now in about 25 stores. The customers are responding very positively to this test as they see the extreme value Ten Below provides. The higher price points create an opportunity to expand our offering and provide even more value to our customers. In addition this test has generated valuable learnings that we used to develop the chain wide Ten Below gift shop for holiday that I will discuss in a moment.

Fourth and our newest innovation is our investment in nursery gamers. This is an example of how we continuously look for opportunities to enhance the store experience. I’ve enjoyed getting to know John Fazio their CEO, and I’m excited about the many capabilities nursery gamers offers as we begin to position ourselves to capture this growing gaming trends. There are over 64 million gamers under the age of 17 in the United States and we believe nursery gamers has the real potential to be not only a longer-term traffic driver to our stores, but also a stand-alone leader in eSports. We plan to test a handful of Nerd Street local host and our store and store format next year. The space will be available for gamers to play on pro-level equipment and will also include an assortment of relevant Five Below products for sale such as gaming headphones and snacks. We will have more to share on this exciting new partnership after we open the pilot stores next year.

On to the all important Q4, those of you who know our business well know that the largest volume weeks lie ahead. We believe we are well positioned with our assortment and marketing plan heading into these peak holiday weeks. In addition to the Frozen 2 offering I discussed earlier at the beginning of the fourth quarter, we added an eight foot holiday 10 Below gift shop and the new and now area to all of our stores for the first time ever. This new WOW wall [Phonetic] as we call it displays a dozen or so incredible brand new products and unbeatable quality and value in the $6 to $10 range.

The items are perfect for gift giving and are largely toys and games focus with branded items from several of our key vendors, which we showcased in our Black Friday ad last week. While we are very excited to offer these new high value items which we previously would not have been able to sell at $5 and below. We also have a great lineup of $1 to $5 toys and games, including items exclusive to Five Below. We are constantly thinking of ways to wow our customer even further and believe this new offering reinforces Five Below as the go-to destination for amazing holiday gifts and stocking stuffers at unbeatable values.

On the marketing front, we’ve extended our TV reach to over 60% of our stores, adding 12 new markets. We also broaden our digital presence and are running campaigns across more markets. Part of our digital strategy includes testing social influencers, and we are thrilled to announce our new holiday influencer no a snap from Stranger Things. So to summarize, we feel great about our product assortment, our marketing plan in the store experience we will provide customers in the fourth quarter.

In closing we are very pleased with our third quarter performance on many fronts including exceeding our sales and EPS outlook while executing our pricing changes and preparing for the all important Q4. While we are anniversarying the first holiday season without Toys “R” Us which benefited our traffic and sales last year. Our merchants have done a phenomenal job maturing we have new exciting and even exclusive product for Q4 to continue to wow our customers. I want to thank our entire organization and vendor partners for their hard work and commitment to providing fresh, high quality, trend-right products at amazing values day in and day out, as well as their critical contributions to our tariff mitigation strategies. Through their efforts we have been able to deliver offsets to mitigate the dollar impact of tariffs and we expect to continue to do so. I also want to thank our customers for their continued support as we evolved our approach to pricing. We are deeply appreciative of their loyalty and want them to know that what will never change of Five Below because our unwavering commitment to overriding our customers extreme value on fresh high quality trend-right products in a fun differentiated shopping experience.

With that, I’ll turn it over to Ken. Ken?

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Thanks, Joel, and good afternoon, everyone. I will begin my remarks with a review of our third quarter results and then discuss our outlook for the fourth quarter and full year. As a reminder, we adopted the new lease accounting standard at the beginning of this year, which requires us to now record operating leases on our balance sheet and also requires us to expense certain architectural and legal fees, which we previously capitalized.

Our sales in the third quarter of 2019 were $377.4 million, up 20.7% from $312.8 million reported in the third quarter of 2018. We opened one new stores during the quarter with over half completed in the last five weeks of Q3, compared to 53 new stores opened in the third quarter of 2018. We ended the quarter with 894 stores, an increase of 149 stores or 20% versus 745 stores at the end of the third quarter of 2018.

Comparable sales increased by 2.9% with an increase in comp ticket of 1.9% and a comp transaction increase of 1%. As I mentioned on our last earnings call, we expected approximately 175 basis points of operating margin deleverage in the third third quarter. Our actual operating margin for the third quarter declined by approximately 160 basis points over the third quarter of 2018. Gross profit for the third quarter increased 16.3% to $118.7 million from $102.1 million reported in the third quarter of 2018. Gross margin decreased approximately 120 basis points to 31.4% primarily due to net unmitigated tariff costs and the shift of certain other merchandise costs from Q2 to Q3.

As a percentage of sales, SG&A for the third quarter of 2019 increased approximately 40 basis points to 21%, I’m sorry, 28.1%. SG&A expenses as a percent of sales were higher than last year due primarily to depreciation costs of our new Southeast distribution center and the new lease accounting standard impact. Labor and signage costs related to the pricing changes we implemented as part of our tariff mitigation strategy were offset by corporate expense savings. As a result, operating income decreased 18.4% to $12.7 million versus $15.5 million in the third quarter of 2018.

Our effective tax rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 24.2% compared to 18.6% in the third quarter of 2018. Our tax rate last year was favorably impacted by share based accounting. Net income decreased 24.6% to $10.2 million versus $13.5 million last year. Earnings per diluted share for the third quarter was $0.18 compared to last year’s $0.24 per diluted share, driven primarily by the margin factors I just described. Last year’s third quarter had a share based accounting benefit of approximately $0.02.

We ended the third quarter with $132 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments and no debt. We repurchased approximately 191,000 of our shares at a cost of $20.3 million during the third quarter. To date in 2019, we have repurchased approximately 338,000 shares at a total cost of $36.9 million. Inventory at the end of the third quarter was $490 million as compared to $340 million at the end of the third quarter last year. Average inventory on a per store basis increased 2.8% versus the third quarter last year. Due primarily to the timing of fourth quarter merchandise receipts. We are pleased with the level and quality of our inventory exiting the third quarter and heading into the holiday selling season.

Now I would like to turn to our guidance. As a reminder, our guidance does not include any future impact from share based accounting or share repurchases. We will update our guidance quarterly with actual reported results, but as is our practice, we will not guide to the potential future impact from these items. Based on our year-to-date performance we are raising the low end of our guidance range for fiscal 2019. Our guidance includes all announced tariffs as detailed in our press release and also includes the benefits of our mitigation efforts.

For fiscal 2019, we expect sales to be in the range of $1.877 to $1.892 million an increase of 20.4% to 21.3%. The comparable sales increase is expected to be approximately 2.5%. We have now completed our planned 150 new store openings for 2019 and expect to end the year with 900 stores or unit growth of 20%. The majority of these new stores were opened in existing markets. Our full year guidance still assumes a slight operating margin decline due primarily to the cost of opening our new owned Southeast distribution center and the new lease accounting standard, both of which impact SG&A. We expect a full year effective tax rate for 2019 of approximately 22% which reflects the year-to-date benefit from share based accounting through the third quarter.

Net income is expected to be in the range of $175.4 million to $179.9 million representing a growth rate of approximately 17.2% to 20.2% over 2018 with diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.11 to $3.19. Diluted earnings per share are expected to grow by 16.9% to 19.9%. With respect to capex, we plan to spend in total approximately $210 million in 2019 in gross capex excluding the impact of tenant allowances. This reflects the investment in the new Southeast distribution center, payments on the new Texas distribution center and the cost of opening 150 new stores, 50 remodels and investments in systems and infrastructure.

For the fourth quarter ending February 1, 2020 net sales are expected to be in the range of $717 million to $732 million, an increase of 19% to 21.5%. We are assuming a Q4 comp sales increase of 2% to 3% versus the 4.4% comp increase in Q4, 2018. Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 is expected to be in the range of $110.7 million to $115.2 million. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 is expected to be in the range of $1.97 to $2.05 versus $1.59 in diluted earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2018. The fourth quarter of 2018 had a $0.01 benefit to EPS from share based accounting. Our fourth quarter outlook assumes an operating margin increase of over 100 basis points, driven by improved merchandise margin on toy product versus last year slight leverage from the new distribution center and the benefit of our tariff mitigation efforts including reduced corporate expenses. These benefits will be offset in part by the depreciation of our new Southeast distribution center and the new lease accounting standard. For all other details related to our results and guidance, please refer to our earnings press release.

And with that, I would like to turn the call back over to Joel to provide some closing comments before we open it up for questions. Joel?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Ken. We successfully made a lot of changes and progress this year and are very pleased with the position we are in to execute this holiday season. We are confident that our business model and the flexibility of our eight worlds as well as the strength and agility of our leadership team will drive continued success. I’m proud to lead a team that is committed to achieving the impossible and whiling our customers and I’m so grateful for their efforts. We remain focused on providing our customers with extreme value and an amazing shopping experience and continue to innovate our customer and associate experience. We believe that with all the work we have done throughout 2019, Five Below has become an even stronger retailer and brand. We remain committed to our long-term strategy of delivering 20/20 [Phonetic] through 2020.

With that, I’d like to turn the call back over to the operator for questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] The first question is from Jeremy Hamblin with Craig-Hallum. Please go ahead.

Jeremy HamblinCraig-Hallum — Analyst

Thank you. So I wanted to just come back to the price increases for a second you’ve taken several steps as you mentioned, some of it’s on the $1 to $4, some of it’s on the $5 to $5.55 items and then you have the Below gift shop as you mentioned. In terms of thinking about which has been the most helpful in terms of sales margin, can you give any additional color on those various pricing changes that you’ve taken and which ones have maybe been the least helpful.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thanks, Jeremy. I would say that of the three listed the tech change from $5 to $5.5 probably has the biggest impact of the three. The gift shop in perspective isn’t a margin accretive initiatives that’s more about the opportunity to sell different product that we’ve never been able to sell in the past and in fact I think I even mentioned my prepared remarks that a lot of what we learned in the 25, 10 Below tests helped inform as we rolled out that gift shop to the entire chain, but that’s kind of how it breaks out. Thanks, Jeremy.

Jeremy HamblinCraig-Hallum — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Next question is from Simeon Gutman with Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Simeon GutmanMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Thanks. Good afternoon, everyone. Can you give us some sense on the initial uptake from the Frozen merchandise, I know you mentioned the product looks great. And then whether you the way you think about your guidance for the fourth quarter, whether you’re already running with the net range, I don’t know if you can comment on that or not? Thank you.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, thanks, Simeon. As far as Frozen goes, as we said we — we said it in October when the street date had hit, but the reality like most movies you don’t see a huge uptick in the product until the movie breaks and so that movie just broke a little over 10 days ago or so, and I think the best way to think about it, it’s pretty much right on plan for us, we think there is the bulk of the frozen sales are largely in front of us though. And then as far as range, I mean as we gave guidance really our guidance factors in what we’ve seen to date in the quarter and how we’re forecasting it for the — for the rest of the year. And just a reminder to everybody this was a — a late Thanksgiving as opposed to other years. So clearly, you would expect November to be lower and December to be higher and that was our plan going into the — into the quarter and it’s still our plan in the guidance we gave, everybody. Thanks, Simeon.

Simeon GutmanMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Thank you. Good luck.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Thank you.

Operator

Excuse me. The next question is from Matthew Boss with JP Morgan. Please go ahead.

Matthew BossJP Morgan — Analyst

Great. Thanks and congrats on the nice quarter.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Matt.

Matthew BossJP Morgan — Analyst

Joel, so can you speak to the breadth of strength that you continue to see across your worlds. And I guess maybe just circle back with pricing elasticity in line with expectations unlike you said Frozen on plan. Is it fair to say the change in the 4Q comp forecast is more primarily just driven by the volume of business that remains on tap rather than any real change in underlying business confidence that you have?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Look, on the — I think those are kind of all interrelated there, and I think the breadth of strength that you referred to is, again it goes back to the strength of the business model of eight worlds and I think as every trend emerges a different world post customers into our stores and as they, like what they see, they tend to pick up candy, it’s really the flexibility that the eight worlds provides us. And then I think — you’re asking Matt about the — the sales in the quarter?

Matthew BossJP Morgan — Analyst

Yes, so basically the 4Q comp forecast of 2% to 3% versus it was a little bit higher before, but Frozen is on plan pricing at elasticities in line. Is it just the volume of business that remains ahead? Or is there any change in your confidence?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

No change at all. In fact, we didn’t — we didn’t change the full year from what we guided at the beginning of Q3 and in fact I think the signal I give you is the fact that we took the low end up says that’s just continuing to say we’ve got confidence in the pricing strategy we implemented. And I think when you start looking at two and three year stacks. This is going to be one of the best Q4 as we’ve had in a long time and at the same time if you look at Q4 is in general, it’s a pretty tight bandwidth between, somewhere in that 3% to 4% range when you start looking at those two and three years stacks, you know, if you break it into an average annual, but thanks, Matt.

Matthew BossJP Morgan — Analyst

That’s great.

Operator

The next question is from Judah Frommer with Credit Suisse. Please go ahead.

Judah FrommerCredit Suisse — Analyst

Hi, thanks for taking my question. Maybe first, just circling back on elasticity is there any further color you can give us there are clearly traffic was positive in Q3 anyway you could break it down by price test for us, and furthermore, is there any chance that the holiday $6 to $10 test for tech and toys potentially stays in stores or last longer than the holiday season, if it goes well.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Judah, thanks. Look, I think the elasticity it’s really hard to break the quarter down. How much traffic it was driven because of the price changes. It’s just kind of all kind of melts together there but look the elasticity of the rollout to the chain was right there in line with what we saw when we did the three test markets and so no surprises to us on that and you know as far as six to 10 goes. I think like anything we do with Five Below we’re going to anytime when we do something new we’re going to test it. But what we’ve got out there right now is specifically designed for holiday, so that will go away after holiday, but I think you should expect us to see us try another test in 2020 and as long as those tests continue to really resonate with the customer and we can deliver extreme value you’ll start to see us do more and more of it, but at this point in time, especially given I — our biggest weeks are still in front of us really too early to speculate on how much more will do in 2020. But there’ll be some sort of test in 2020 for sure. Thanks, Judah.

Judah FrommerCredit Suisse — Analyst

Thanks.

Operator

The next question is from Chuck Grom with Gordon Haskett. Please go ahead.

Chuck GromGordon Haskett — Analyst

Hi guys. You guys on thoughtful in laying out all the self-help [Phonetic] comp drivers that you have at your disposal, just curious, when you look ahead to 2020, I guess how would you force rank some of the best opportunities in terms of the remodels, which look like they’re going to be uptick RFE Ten Below loyalty e-commerce, I guess, anything else out there that you guys want to point to? Thanks.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, thanks, Chuck. I think — the ones you pointed to, I think you just, you got to go back and put it in the category of innovation, as we’ve talked about several times on our calls. And I don’t think there’s any one single one that’s a driver property one you missed was product. I mean we still are merchandise driven company and so Michael’s team does a great job of staying on trend and you’re going to see us continue to test and learn, but all the ones you just called out especially the RFE the Ten Below tests and the remodels all great headwinds as we, as we head into 2020 and beyond. But I think what’s what we continue to do is deliver more and more new ideas and you put them all together and it continues to drive positive comps.

Chuck GromGordon Haskett — Analyst

Thanks, Joel.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Chuck.

Operator

The next question is from Michael Lasser with UBS. Please go ahead.

Michael LasserUBS — Analyst

Hey, Joel. Thanks a lot for taking my question. So with the third quarter — sorry with the second quarter, you guided to a 3% comp for the year in a 2% to 3% comp for the third quarter it is a 2.9%. So that was in line with what you thought, and now you’re guiding to a full-year comp no longer 3% but a 2.5%. So implicitly the guidance for the fourth quarter is lower than what you had previously expected. So can you give us a sense for what’s different now than what you anticipated 90 days ago?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I think what’s — I’ll answer your question, but I think you got to put it in a perspective, Michael, of the bigger picture. And that you know the bigger picture is that over 80% of our growth continues to come from new stores. And so what hasn’t changed is our overall total sales that we guided to at the end of Q3 and what we’re guiding to at the end of Q4. So that hasn’t changed does implicitly approximately 3% and now to 2.5%, we were probably on the lower end of the approximately three back in summer time. And I think the only visibility, we didn’t have then that we do now is we knew there’d be headwinds from cycling the closing of Toys “R” Us is that was, if you recall last year we twice took up before once in guide and then a second time when we actually be, I think we called out that are be in Q4 last year was attributed to the success we had in toys you know the outperformance.

And so I think as we’ve gotten into Q4 here and we know how big toys are we can see the quarter that’s where there is a slight impact to comp, but at the end of the day, we’re talking about a quarter that’s $700 million and we probably move the comp down $3 million or $4 million. So it’s a really small — small number overall and the total didn’t change. And Ken anything to that?

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Yes — the only other piece Michael is to Joel’s point again we didn’t move the top end of our full year sales guidance the comp moved a little bit on a full year basis, but it also does reflect and you’ve heard it in our prepared remarks the strength of our new stores and how that continues to perform. So we factored that into to the guidance also, as we kind of move forward here through to the fourth quarter.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

New stores don’t have any impact on the Toys “R” Us impact from a year ago, because they weren’t open.

Michael LasserUBS — Analyst

So based on the Toys “R” Us impact, is it fair to say that it’s just a bit, a little slower to start the fourth quarter than you expected.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

No, it’s not, there has been slower. I think we just didn’t, we didn’t have a trend line to look out and it’s why we only give guidance a quarter at a time. And back in August, we were only at kind of a month past the Toys “R” Us closings from a year ago. So it’s more of that than anything else and we just have more visibility now then — then we did a little over 90 days ago.

Michael LasserUBS — Analyst

That’s very helpful. Thank you and have a good holiday.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, thank you, Michael.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Thanks, Michael.

Operator

The next question is from Paul Trussell with Deutsche Bank. Please go ahead.

Paul TrussellDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Good evening. On margins, Ken there’s obviously a lot of moving parts this year quarter-to-quarter. Maybe just circle back and take a bit more into the details as we think about the puts and takes in your third quarter results versus your expectations. And what we should be thinking about and keep it in mind in 4Q on both gross margins and on the expense front? Thank you.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Sure. Thanks, Paul. If you go to Q3 as I noted, we finished at about 160 basis points of deleverage in our guidance for the third quarter, we had estimated 175 basis points. So we — we performed a little bit better than our guidance. The breakdown between gross margin and SG&A was pretty much in line with what we expected, if you remember, we guided to about 75% of that deleverage was going to incur in gross margin and it did. And really the two key drivers there was the impact of those tariff costs that we didn’t have the ability to mitigate, because the pricing increases had not gone into effect yet. We also had some other merchandise costs that shifted out of Q2 into Q3, that we spoke about on our Q2 call.

If you go into SG&A, we’ve been saying this for the most part of the year or the two key drivers there are depreciation around the new Southeast distribution center, and the new lease accounting standard and we also had some other costs related to our pricing increased labor costs and signage costs in the third quarter, they were though — they were offset though by reduced corporate expenses. So again, the overwhelming majority, about three quarters of the deleverage in Q3 was happening at the gross margin line.

And if you move forward quickly to Q4. As I mentioned, we would expect to see greater than a 100 basis points of leverage in operating margin. And again, the majority of that will come in at the gross margin level and a small maybe slight leverage in SG&A. The key drivers there, the toy margin improvement given the opportunity buys that we placed last year. So we expect to see merch [Phonetic] margin improve. We do expect to see some DC efficiency, which is all included up in cost of goods sold in the fourth quarter. And then again for the most part in SG&A, it’s the depreciation deleverage for the Atlanta distribution center and the new lease accounting impact. So those are kind of the puts and takes in Q3 and Q4.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Paul.

Paul TrussellDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

The next question is from Michael Montani with Evercore ISI. Please go ahead.

Michael MontaniEvercore ISI — Analyst

Hey guys, thanks for taking the question. So first off, just on the elasticity side. Wanted to ask from our survey work we saw almost two thirds of the consumers seem to say that there will be just as likely or more likely to shop at Five and when we thought about the product that was impacted. We were thinking probably 10% raised above five bucks. And then another 10% that would have been mixed up under five. So kind of 20% assortment. I’m wondering if you can comment on either of those two pieces. And then it ties into the tariffs, which we are hearing that 4B may not take hold December 15th. So if that’s in fact the case, does that provide upside to guidance and also does it change in any way, your desire to potentially hold the price increases that you’ve already taken.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thanks, Michael. I think you got it about right on the — on the breakdown of 10% and the 10% and then honestly I’m not being start speculating on what tariffs are going in and what aren’t — I mean, I never guess we see stuff at the 25% and that really continued to have — continued to move forward and then you specifically asked about 4B and I think it’s just important to remind everybody that 4B is not material to 2019 as the large majority of what we’re bringing in and we’ll sell in 2019 is already here that’s more of a 2020 discussion. And so I think at this point what’s factored in our guide is really have — doesn’t really have much to do with 4B either way. And we’re not ready to speculate on where that’s going to be held off or not but that’s kind of where we’re at. Thanks, Michael.

Operator

The next question is from Scot Ciccarelli with RBC Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Scot CiccarelliRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey guys, Scot Ciccarelli. I know that in general efficacy has been in the range of your expectations, you guys have commented about this. But I guess, I was curious if there is any examples of SKUs where the elasticity did prove to be higher than you’d expected or more negative. And then how did you react to that. In other words, did you just run with it because you need to protect margin or would you pulled back on the price increase, because of the demand destruction?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Honestly, where we saw — performed differently than we expected, it was largely in certain branded product. And I think in those cases where we didn’t like the elasticity results, we rolled back the pricing, but most of that we discovered Scot during the testing periods of those the three markets that we’ve been testing for several months prior to rolling out to the chain. We didn’t see anything different when we rolled out to the chain. So we pretty much worked through all that way back earlier this summer, but it was largely in branded stuff where there is a lot of visibility out there to what the price is in the marketplace.

Scot CiccarelliRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Got it.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Scot.

Scot CiccarelliRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

All right. Thanks.

Operator

The next question is from Paul Lejuez with Citi Research. Please go ahead.

Paul LejuezCiti Research — Analyst

Hey, thanks guys. Just curious, can you talk about your thoughts about your thoughts about number of stores, you are planning to open next year. And then also just curious, what happened to the overall sales trajectory in the business in 3Q what you did rollout the pricing to the entire chain. I guess, I think it was October 18 that it all rolled out. So just curious what you saw kind of the first part of the quarter versus the last couple of weeks and beyond?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, look, we aren’t thinking about on this call anyways, guiding for 2020. But what I did say my prepared remarks is that — there is, we see no signs of — I’m not following through on our long-term strategy of 20% top line and 20% bottom line through 2020. So that includes next year. And so I think with that, it’s pretty easy to kind of back into the range you should see for new stores for us. And then I think on the elasticity in general we see a slight decline in unit demand, but that’s more than offset by the price increase that we put through and it was in line and expected as we saw as I said earlier in the test stores, and we saw the same thing happen when we rolled it out to the chain.

Paul LejuezCiti Research — Analyst

Thanks, Paul. So that means sales accelerated after you adjusted the prices up?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Did what accelerate?

Paul LejuezCiti Research — Analyst

Did you say that — does that mean sales accelerated once you took prices up, did you say that the unit [Speech Overlap] more…

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

No, no I was just —

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

I was talking about, I think the question you asked me was about what impact I saw on the product we took prices to and on any given product, you’d see a slight decline in the unit demand and then that was offset by the price increase. So it was net positive. But overall that was factored into our Q3 guide and as you can see we came in at the high end of our guide both in total sales beating and then comp at 2.9% [Phonetic].

Paul LejuezCiti Research — Analyst

Thanks. Good luck.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thank, Paul.

Operator

The next question is from John Heinbockel with Guggenheim Securities. Please go ahead.

John HeinbockelGuggenheim Securities — Analyst

So maybe Joel, can you speak to remind us the relative importance of 4B relative to the other lists. And then how you would attack that mitigation differently right then, this past year, particularly, are you and you more wary about taking pricing on 4B items because of some of the modest backlash on some of the other items in the last couple of months.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, John, I’ll take the first piece of that around the costs associated with tariffs. If you look at 4B — you got to look at it on an annualized basis, right, because you’ve given the difference in timing and then obviously there’s different rate rates related to the various list, but if you look at List one, two three, if you look at for 4A and you look at 4B and the rates in the rules that are currently in effect when you look at our business, it’s pretty much split in terms of the tariff cost impact across those three, so probably about a third each for List one, two, three 4A and then 4B.

John HeinbockelGuggenheim Securities — Analyst

Yes. And then — then often then John in terms of mitigating 4B we’re taking the same approach on 4B as we did on the others. We’ve actually had a lot longer lead-time to prepare for that one. Whereas on some of the other ones they got implemented pretty quick and so that’s why there was a lot of shifts this year we were behind in Q3 were actually catching up in here — in Q4, to have a full year mitigation. But a lot of 4B we already been working on mitigating through vendor negotiations, we brought in a lot of product early and then the reality is the price increases we’ve already taken will start to cover some of 4B in 2020 as well. So we still believe we are on a path that will fully mitigate 4B as well, based on what we’ve already seen from vendor negotiations and the like. So we’re in a good shape.

Okay. Thanks.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Thanks, John.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John.

Operator

The next question is from Karen Short with Barclays. Please go ahead.

Karen ShortBarclays — Analyst

Hi, I had one clarification and then the real question. Just in terms of 2020, I think you made the comment that was — you are still clear or you are still committed to the 20% top line 20% bottom line, but I thought there was maybe a little gray in that specifically 2020. As it relates to tariffs. So maybe just clarify. But then specific question is on the comp waterfall you’ve had obviously many stores open up much — well, to be the strongest openings that you’ve had. How do you think about — how should we think about the comp waterfall on those very, very strong store openings are they kind of the same as some of the other like the average chain or just some color there?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, look if I implied any gray area in 2020, I didn’t intend to — we’re fully see the top line of 20% and on the bottom line of 20% growth. So I’m not sure what I said said, Karen, but no gray area on our side for the next year. And then, I look on the comp waterfall it’s a little too early to speculate the class of a large portion of the class of 2018 is in, in comp yet even and in the course 2019 none is in comp yet, but you know I think that’s why what’s so unique and different about this. This model is we have such a quick payback seven months. But what we don’t have as a more traditional comp maturation curve that traditional retailers have of high teens, mid teens, low teens and then so on and so forth.

It’s these stores open pretty close to the average of the chain and this continues to be a low single digit comping model. And with that we’ve actually had an incredible consistency throughout the years and only one quarter with a negative comps since we went public, and in fact when you start looking at three years stacks it’s amazing the — on an annual basis, for the last five years the lowest three year average stack has been 3% and the highest would be this year in the low fours, so it’s a pretty consistent path. And I think is certainly ’18 starts to the comp and we get into ’19 — in the class 19 we’ll have more clarity on it, but certainly with them opening stronger, I wouldn’t expect them to have a stronger comp maturity curve than previous classes.

Karen ShortBarclays — Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Karen. You bet.

Operator

The next question is from Edward Kelly with Wells Fargo. Please go ahead.

Edward KellyWells Fargo — Analyst

Hi guys, good afternoon. Joel, I wanted to ask you just about customer response to the pricing, I mean obviously if the postal Instagram kind of costs on people’s attention. Can you talk about maybe what went wrong on that portion — maybe that’s not even right way to talk about or ask about it, but the decision to put something out in hindsight, would you have done anything different. Is there anything incrementally a concern from your standpoint about the pricing with the five brand and including sort of like, how does any of this impact the way you would think about initiatives like Ten Below?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No, good question, Ed. And look, I said it on the Q3 and I’ll say it again, here we are committed being transparent with our customer and we are committed to bringing them along with us on the journey. I think as it relates specifically the social media posts that you asked, where we saw some confusion and what was different with the chain rollout that wasn’t there with the test rollouts, is that after we put in the Ten Below, WOW wall the gift shop. We just saw some customers kind of getting it wrong. And so, look, we thought it was important to you know kind of clarify for the customers what we — what our intention was and that’s the reason we put the social media post out.

But in terms of the actual reaction from the customers, it quickly dissipated right after we put that social media post out and it’s just another sign of us. We’re not going to shy away from being just transparent with the customer but hindsight, it’s tough to guess on that one, but I think when we — when we did roll out the $6 to $10 gift shop few customers just actually thought we are raising prices on stuff we had prior to $6 to $10 and it was actually new product that we’ve never had. And quite honestly the performance we’re seeing in the — in the gift shop wall has been amazing, we’re really pleased with it and customers have recognized the value and have just had a lot of positive things to say with it. And you also got to remember, you’re just reading the social media post, what we hear in the stores is at a much bigger scale than what’s out on social media, and the overwhelming part has been very positive.

Edward KellyWells Fargo — Analyst

That’s great to hear. Thank you.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. You bet.

Operator

The next question is from David Buckley with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Please go ahead.

David BuckleyBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Hi guys, thanks for taking my question. So across your urban, suburban and semi-rural markets. What differences are you seeing in new store productivity in traffic levels and where do you see the greatest growth opportunity moving forward?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, honestly, it is part of the reason, David that — well I don’t know, I have to go back to what quarter we haven’t called out some stores opening in our respective top 25, we look at three seasons, spring, summer and fall and we always measure the top 25 and the fact that a store keeps opening in the top 25 it means that the, the bar is getting higher. And if you’ll notice in the ones we call out sometimes we’re calling our rural, sometimes we’re calling out urban, sometimes we’re calling out suburban and the the message we’re trying to get across the year is this concepts working in all three and I will tell you from my side if I go back five years ago when I was here, I’m just starting, I didn’t think we build a push of Five Below into some of the smaller markets that we have, you know, call these county seats and we’ve called out a lot of county seats in the last couple of years that have been successful. So, and that’s why I’ve been the biggest surprise for me personally, but I think the bigger message has been that it works in all three.

David BuckleyBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Thanks, Joel.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, David.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

You bet.

Operator

The next question is from Joseph Feldman with Telsey Group. Please go ahead.

Joseph FeldmanTelsey Group — Analyst

Yes, thanks guys. Kind of more capital question, you guys have been buying back a little more consistently it seems buying back shares. And I was just wondering how we should think about that near fourth quarter and really even into 2020, is that something that is just going to become now more stable part of the business as we go forward?

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, thanks, Joe. If as I mentioned it in the prepared remarks, we did purchase over $35 million for this year in terms of repurchases. Actually, the majority of that was done earlier in the year, we had opened up a program a couple of years back, multi-year program that we spoke about, but we still continue to be opportunistic in terms of the purchases that we’re making. So we’re not on any type of prescribed plan, but we’re going to maintain flexibility there and the key is being opportunistic in any buys repurchases go forward.

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

We really just been buying back the dilution, I think that’s been the big commitment there.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Right.

Joseph FeldmanTelsey Group — Analyst

Thanks, Joel.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Joe.

Operator

This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Joel Anderson for any closing remarks.

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you and thanks everyone for joining us today. We look forward to speaking with you again at ICR in early January and of course as always I encourage you to get out and visit our stores. We’ve got a great holiday season in front of us. These next three weeks are big weeks. So get out there and enjoy yourself and thanks again for the support. Have a great evening.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 57 minutes

Call participants:

Christiane PelzVice President of Investor Relations

Joel D. AndersonPresident and Chief Executive Officer

Kenneth R. BullChief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Jeremy HamblinCraig-Hallum — Analyst

Simeon GutmanMorgan Stanley — Analyst

Matthew BossJP Morgan — Analyst

Judah FrommerCredit Suisse — Analyst

Chuck GromGordon Haskett — Analyst

Michael LasserUBS — Analyst

Paul TrussellDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Michael MontaniEvercore ISI — Analyst

Scot CiccarelliRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Paul LejuezCiti Research — Analyst

John HeinbockelGuggenheim Securities — Analyst

Karen ShortBarclays — Analyst

Edward KellyWells Fargo — Analyst

David BuckleyBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Joseph FeldmanTelsey Group — Analyst

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