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The Honest Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:HNST) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

The Honest Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:HNST) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript November 8, 2023

The Honest Company, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $-0.09, expectations were $-0.12.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to The Honest Company's Third 2023 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers' presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over Mr. Steve Austenfeld Vice President of Investor Relations of The Honest Company. Please go ahead, sir.

Steve Austenfeld: Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for joining our second quarter 2023 conference call. Joining me today are Carla Vernon, our Chief Executive Officer; and Dave Loretta, our Chief Financial Officer. Before we start, I'd like to remind you that we will be making certain statements today that are forward-looking within the meaning of the Federal Securities Laws, including statements about the outlook of our business and other matters referenced in our earnings release issued today. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Please refer to our earnings release issued today as well as our SEC filings for a more detailed description of the risk factors that may affect our results.


Please also note that these forward-looking statements reflect our opinions only as of the date of this call, and we undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events, except as required by law. Also, during this call, we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures, which adjust our GAAP results to eliminate the impact of certain items. You will find additional information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures and a reconciliation of these non-GAAP to GAAP measures in the financial results section of today's earnings release. A live broadcast of this call is also available on the Investor Relations section of our website at

With that, I will turn the call over to Carla.

Carla Vernon: Thanks, Steve. Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for joining us today. It's a pleasure to be with you to share our results for the third quarter of 2023. This is the third consecutive quarter we have increased our revenue outlook, and the second consecutive quarter we've improved our outlook for adjusted EBITDA. Earlier this year, we committed to transforming the financial and consumer health of the business. And I'm pleased with the meaningful progress we've made in a short period of time. This is a result of our collaborative and hard working Honest team coming together to execute the transformation initiative, and the strength the Honest brand continues to show in market. Our focus is always to keep the Honest community of consumers at the heart of everything we do.

Even in these uncertain economic times, we see that consumers have high standards for the products they bring home for themselves and their families. We're committed to providing a wide array of products from sustainably designed wipes, onesies and diapers to cleanly formulated mama care, beauty and household products. Our community expects our product to live up to the unique and rigorous Honest standard for clean, effective and trustworthy. And this year, we've done this while improving the efficiency of our business model. Let's turn to our third quarter results to see how this intentionality comes together, beginning with revenue. This quarter we delivered all time record revenue with third quarter revenue up 2% and our year-to-date revenue up 10%.

Revenue growth was led by strong track and channel consumption, double digit growth in the digital channel and the positive benefits of our recent pricing actions. Our gross margin was 32% for the quarter, which is our highest in two years. This improved performance is an outcome of the three key pillars we introduced as we laid out our transformation initiative earlier this year. Each of the three pillars, brand maximization, margin enhancement and operating discipline contributed to our improved performance, including successful execution of pricing actions to restore Honest to our traditional premium position across our categories. Margin improvement through SKU rationalization, cost savings, and the prioritization of our higher margin hero items, and disciplined management of our working capital, leading to a second consecutive quarter of positive operating cash flow.

As we enter the fourth quarter and continue to advance our transformation initiative, we anticipate continued year-over-year revenue growth and margin improvement. In addition to sharing these promising results, I'm delighted to introduce Dave Loretta, who recently joined Honest as our CFO. Dave brings a robust track record of driving financial strength. With his depth of experience he is a strong addition to our management team. And I'm confident in Dave's ability to drive our transformation forward and help build a stronger Honest

A close up of different packs of diapers and wipes, demonstrating the company's main product range.
A close up of different packs of diapers and wipes, demonstrating the company's main product range.

Dave Loretta : Thank you, Carla. And welcome, everyone. Let me start by saying how pleased I am to be on the call with you today. I joined Honest nearly two months ago, with a strong belief in the potential of the Honest brand, the significant opportunities to drive margin improvement and our commitment to generate positive cash flow, and maintain a healthy balance sheet. In the current dynamic consumer environment, Honest as well positioned to expand market presence, while solidifying our operating discipline, building on what the team has already demonstrated this year on improved financial results. Turning to our performance, this quarter, revenue was $86 million, an all time record for the company. We grew 2% on top of a record quarter last year, when we saw a high level of pipeline shipments associated with significant retail expansion.

This top line strength in the quarter reflects healthy track channel consumption trends in the retail channel, which continues to reflect more than 20% growth. Strong results in the digital channel, including robust consumption at Amazon, and pricing actions implemented over the course of 2023. Looking at consumption, we continue to grow revenue through both volume and pricing with our elasticities remaining healthy. Having revenue exceed expectations underscores the deep trust and appreciation that our Honest community has for our clean and sustainably designed products. Turning to key drivers by product category. First, our diapers and wipes business declined 5% due to comparisons against a year ago volume, which reflected pipeline shipments for expanded retail distribution.

While shipments were down in the quarter, track channel consumption increased 32%, significantly outpacing the category growth rate of 4%. We're pleased Honest continues to lead growth in this category. Notably, our newly launched flushable wipes are already one of our top selling items on Amazon. Next, our skin and personal care business declined 4% as we scaled back low margin products in the club channel, consistent with our focus on margin enhancement, as part of our transformation initiatives. This club channel revenue will continue to unwind over the next two quarters, but will result in a significant margin improvement. In the digital channel, skin and personal care grew strong double digits. And finally our household and wellness business increased 68% reflecting both the underlying growth and expanded retail distribution of our baby clothing business.

Now turning to results by channel, digital channel revenue increased 19% while retail decreased 9%. During the last year, our digital channel has experienced meaningful growth driven by strong performance with Amazon. Looking at the retail channel, we continue to benefit from significantly expanded distribution reflected in higher ACV which has increased from over 50% to over 80% versus the prior year. This was offset by exiting our low margin offerings in the club channel as well as lapping pipeline shipments in the year ago quarter to support expanded distribution. Some highlights this quarter include continued strong consumption at Target, which saw double digit growth versus last year. Double digit sales growth across diapers, wipes, skin and personal care items at Amazon and Walmart consumption continues to remain strong throughout transition to inline shelf set.

Now turning to gross margin. Gross margin was 32% in the third quarter compared to 30% in the third quarter of 2022. Gross margin has improved during each quarter of the year, reflecting the discipline and focus driven by the transformation initiatives. Gross margin versus the year ago quarter reflects approximately 425 basis points of pricing benefit and trade promotion efficiencies, 125 basis points of cost savings and 100 basis points of favorable mix offset by roughly 450 basis points of higher input and supply chain costs. And 75 basis points of cost related to the transformation initiatives. Operating expenses decreased $2 million in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the third quarter of last year, leveraging 330 basis points overall, reflecting improved marketing efficiency.

Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2023 was negative $1 million, which included $2 million in costs related to the transformation initiatives. Turning to the balance sheet, we ended the quarter with $23 million in cash and cash equivalents, an increase of $5 million versus last quarter. Our cash position improved from continued discipline in managing working capital, including our third consecutive quarter of reducing inventory levels. Year-to-date, we've reduced inventory by 31% or $36 million, significantly exceeding our initial goal of reducing inventory by $20 million, while also supporting 10% year-to-date revenue growth. Our balance sheet remains strong, as we've been increasing our cash balance and continue to carry no debt. This is an important consideration in today's bank loan market.

Now turning to our outlook for 2023. Behind strong Q3 results, we are increasing our full year revenue outlook for the third consecutive quarter and our adjusted EBITDA outlook for the second consecutive quarter. Looking solely at Q4, we now expect revenue to increase low single digits and expect adjusted EBITDA to be in a range of flat to down $3 million, which includes an expected $1 million to $2 million in transformation costs. Both our revenue and adjusted EBITDA outlook are better than earlier expectations, reflecting the strong momentum of the business. With that, let me turn it back to Carla before we open it up for questions.

Carla Vernon: Thanks, Dave. Before I wrap up my remarks, I want to set the stage for what is ahead. In addition to strengthening our financial foundation, our Honest team has been engaged in the development of a long term strategic plan to carry Honest forward into our next phase of growth. We look forward to sharing that vision with you all this spring. As we round the corner on the close of 2023. I remain excited about the trajectory we're on. As evidenced by our improved revenue and adjusted EBITDA outlook, our transformation initiative continues to help us deliver improved business fundamentals. And while we continue to monitor the impact of economic factors, such as sustained high interest rates and pressure on consumer spending, we are optimistic about the value the honest brand provides.

Premium purpose led brands continued to hold up well despite economic pressures. And this has shown to be true for Honest. And as we look ahead, I remain confident in our path to make a larger, more vibrant and more financially sound Honest. With that. I'll turn the call over to the Operator and we look forward to answering your questions.

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