Francesca's Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:FRAN) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Sep 10, 2019 • 08:30 am ET

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Francesca's Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:FRAN) Q2 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
Michael Prendergast

this by employing simplified planning and buying principles, conducting weekly sales meetings to analyze selling trends, maintaining approximately 50% open to buy available on a monthly basis to chase into strong selling merchandise and reducing lead times down to on average between one to 12 weeks. These measures have provided us with the knowledge, nimbleness and flexibility to successfully execute a fast fashion strategy. The teams consistently look at best and worst sellers of the sell-through, margin and inventory position level weekly. They then react to future on order by advancing, repurchasing, reducing and adjusting through cancellations of product based on deep data analytics.

Last quarter, we discussed three successful programs and incorporated these initiatives. New and Now, a short shop and the flawless dress. I'm very pleased to share that the results have exceeded our expectations. The merchant team efforts delivered significant improvement in both the clothing and jewelry classifications. For the quarter our dress in short subcategories posted positive comps after a long period of double-digit comp sales decline. In addition we saw strength in earrings and necklace category comp sales. Second, aligning our product offering with customer demand.

As I mentioned, we are leveraging our robust customer data and analytics to inform decisions around the product assortment. We're looking at a variety of factors to determine demand by category item, price point and fashion point of view. To succeed as a quick turn read and react model, it is critical to capture important selling and customer data in order to maintain an assortment that provides consistent newness and represents the latest trends. By creating a flatter organization we have also empowered our merchant teams to identify and swiftly react to insights they're gaining in the marketplace, through attending trade shows, leveraging trend services or in working with the vendor community to identify recent fashion trends. We have successfully reengaged our vendor partners and are leveraging their knowledge of successes, risks, trends and opportunities in the fashion markets. We have also made changes in product allocation to ensure the inventory shift is appropriately aligned with individual store volume, as well as local tastes. For example, we know our Northeast regional customer has a strong preference for brighter colors, while we skewed to more bohemian looks in our southern stores, all while maintaining Francesca's brand identity, regardless of where and how she chooses to shop.

Last week within the quarter, we began a robust analysis of our customer database and buying habits and have renovated our customer interface and marketing activities to enhance traffic and sales. As an example, we have expanded our ambassador and social media influencer programs based on engagement data and look forward to continued success in this area.

Third, reducing corporate expenses. We remain on track to achieve annualized savings of approximately $8 million in corporate overhead and third-party costs. We have also updated our daily, monthly and quarterly review processes, leading to strict corporate expense controls throughout the organization to ensure we operate a