May 01, 2018 • 10:00 am ET

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Q & A
Operator
Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) And we'll go first to Steph Wissink with Jefferies.

Analyst
Stephanie Wissink

Hi. Good morning, everyone, and congrats, guys, on the progress. A lot going on. Well done.

Executive
Andrew Lacko

Thanks, Steph.

Executive
Hugh E. Sawyer

Thank you.

Analyst
Stephanie Wissink

So two questions. The first, I wanted to unpack the comp rate a little, if we could. I know there were some moving parts in the quarter with Easter and some accelerated product sales related to those closures and transfers. But could you just talk a little bit about how you see the progression of your comp?

And within the quarter and over the course of the next few months, should we start to see the residual base of stores delivering a slightly improved rate of comp, kind of above that flattish range? Or are you feeling like this is kind of the level we should use to project out in the model, kind of a flattish comp over the course of the year?

Executive
Andrew Lacko

Yeah, Steph, this is Andrew. As you pointed out, there were a number of moving pieces in the quarter. Specifically, the increased product sales as a result of the SmartStyle closures that we -- the 597 and the Easter shift. So on a net-net basis, we feel that the quarter was roughly a flat comp on a consolidated basis.

Certainly, we're going to have the Easter headwinds as we look into the fourth quarter. But we do think that we're starting to see some benefit from the investments that we're making around strategic digital investments, the MLB relationship and some of the overall productivity initiatives that we're -- we are -- have made over the past nine months.

Analyst
Stephanie Wissink

Okay. That's very helpful. And then, Hugh, you rattled off a number of different technology initiatives. Andrew just mentioned digital. But can you talk to us a little bit about how we should see the progression of those benefits? Particularly related to some of the site-level technology investments you're making, how should we could track and monitor those? How would you suggest we look for the improvements over the course of the next several quarters?

Executive
Hugh E. Sawyer

Thanks, Steph, for the question and thanks as well for your thoughtful comments as we started our discussion. I think -- when I think about the opportunity for the technology transformation at Regis, we're still in very early days. And we have initiated a number of, what I view as straightforward and largely customer and employee-focused initiatives that are designed to attract and retain stylists, particularly with the digital education platform, which will result in, we believe, a better customer experience. Better-trained stylists typically do a better job in cutting hair.

And so one of the initial investments that we targeted was to bring our training capabilities into the 21st century, as many service industries have already done, particularly the airlines and hospitality industries, so that our stylists can continue their education long after they join Regis. The education playground platform is robust, Steph, and has well over 200 training videos