On the top line, revenues rose 9.0% year/year to $163 million, but also fell short of expectations.
Net sales for the quarter felt the effects of having 14 weeks in the quarter, while last year's quarter had 13 weeks in it. Net sales increased due primarily to the extra week of sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 and contributions from the 12 new stores opened during fiscal year 2017.
Sales growth was partially offset by a decrease of 0.9% in consolidated same store sales and the closure of one store in the fourth quarter. Sales at sheplers.com declined in February and March when compared to fiscal year 2016 as a result of disruption from the conversion to a new e-commerce platform, resulting in sales below plan.
Moving a little further down the income statement... gross profit was $49.3 million, or 30.3% of net sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017, compared to gross profit of $42.4 million, or 28.4% of net sales, in the prior-year period.
Gross profit increased $5.4 million, or 12.4%, from adjusted gross profit of $43.9 million, or 29.4% of net sales, in the prior-year period.
Gross profit increased as a result of additional sales in the 14-week fourth quarter in fiscal year 2017, the opening of 12 new stores, and improvement in merchandise margin rate. As a percentage of sales, consolidated gross profit increased primarily due to merchandise margin expansion and occupancy leverage from the 14-week fourth quarter.
Looking ahead, the company expects to see fiscal year 2018 earnings of $0.52-0.57, which easily fell short of expectations. The company expects to open 12 new stores during the fiscal year as well and expects to see flat to slightly positive consolidated same store sales growth.
For the fiscal first quarter ending July 1, 2017 the company expects to see flat consolidated same store sales and break-even earnings per diluted share, in-line with current expectations, based on 27.1 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding.
The company said, "While we reported slightly negative consolidated same store sales for the quarter, we are pleased that comparable sales in our physical stores improved on a sequential basis, and we were able to achieve 30 basis points of improvement in our core merchandise margin. Unfortunately, our fourth quarter earnings per share fell short of our expectations due to lower than expected retail store sales, unanticipated operating expenses, and disruption in sales at sheplers.com arising from the transition of the e-commerce site to a new software platform. We are continuing to work to improve the site performance and return sheplers.com to positive sales growth."