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Takeaway: Lots of noise in 4Q, but tremendous set-up into 2015. Still our top idea.

There’s no shortage of moving parts in the RH print. Though the after-hours stock reaction suggests otherwise, we think that the story is squarely on track. Actually, we know it is. We’re making slight changes to our quarterly estimates, but are not making any material changes to our annual numbers, which remain materially above consensus. While the selloff is not much given the 10% run in the weeks leading up to the print, we’d still take advantage of whatever weakness we see tomorrow. Even if the stock closes up on the day, we’d still buy it here. The roadmap as to why we think this will be a $150 stock at the end of the year is outlined below. But like it or not, the real questions that the market wants/needs answered relate to the financial trajectory this year. They key issues are as follows…

ISSUE #1: 2015 Guidance

The Facts: This was RH’s first cut at guidance for the year. RH guided to EPS straddling the $3.00 consensus – with a range of $2.95-$3.10. RH guided to revenue growth of 14-16%, and operating margins up 100-130bps to 10.3%-10.6%.

The Concern: EPS and margins look fine, but that top line looks low. When we do the math – assuming 14.5% weighted average square footage growth for the year, 20-25% e-commerce growth, and 5% growth in outlets, and new store productivity starting the year at 10% and ramping to 60% by year-end, we need to model a comp approaching ZERO in order to justify sales growth of 14-16%. Keeping it real, if this company all of a sudden starts comping zero in its stores – it arguably does not deserve a 30x multiple.

Our Opinion: There are a few moving parts here.

a)      1Q Port Strike Push: First, there is the revenue push of $12mm due to the port strike (which is over). That accounts for about 3.3% of growth shifted from 1Q into 2Q. This is not unexpected, and not a major deal in the grand scheme of things. Other retailers are losing sales outright, while RH is just seeing a delay. We’ll take that.

b)      Guidance: RH is still trying to find its groove with giving guidance. Many people forget how new this company really is. Keep in mind that 2014 was really the first year that it even provided structured guidance. The company had some initial communication speedbumps with things like square footage growth and store openings. Also recall that this company has not been smoking expectations as one might expect from a hyper growth brand like RH. The results have been there, but expectations have been high.  Now our sense is that it is issuing 2015 guidance at the start of its fiscal year that it does not think it will miss come hell or high water. Friedman said on the call twice that it is conservative. Though we suspect that in conversations with the Street after the call, Karen Boone will reiterate something that sounds like “Our guidance is our guidance. It’s where we think we’ll come in.” We’re ok with that. If you’re going to be conservative with a guide, you need to be convincing in sticking to it. That might hurt the stock near-term, but it presents a great opportunity.

c)       Comp Trajectory Math: Think about the comp like this. RH put up a store comp of 12% in 2014, but that number accelerated throughout the year and ended up at 14% in 4Q. If we keep the 2-year run-rate of 15.6% flat into 2015, we get to an implied comp of 20%. We’re modeling 10%, which puts us 2 pennies (10%) ahead of consensus.

d)      2Q should be a big one. It benefits from…

  1. The $12mm push from the port strike out of 1Q. That’s 3%.
  2. RH anniversaries the sourcebook snafu in 2Q14 that cost the company $15-18m in revenue (about 4-5%)
  3. It benefits from separating the Outdoor sourcebook  from the 17-lb bundle, and dropping it a month early (so people could buy outdoor furniture in April/May instead of June/July (when nobody buys outdoor furniture at full price).

e)       New Store Productivity Ramp: We’re looking for New Store Productivity to ramp from 10% in 1Q to 60% by 4Q. A couple of key points.

  1. The Atlanta Design Gallery – perhaps the most impressive store we’ve seen in any concept – EVER – appears to be trending above plan. This is critical, in our opinion, as the initial read from this mega-store definitely will shape the consensus view about larger format stores. The conversion from the legacy store to the FLDG is putting up a direct lift in sales better than almost any gallery so far.
  2. Overall, few people will focus on this given the other moving parts like comps and guidance, but the fact that it is performing so well in such a short period of time is extremely bullish.
  3. The timing on this is critical. The store opened up at the end of November. Given the lag time of up to 12-weeks for delivery (and revenue recognition) that means that the first month’s worth of sales in the store won’t show up until Feb/March. Then we see a build throughout the year.

f)       New Concepts: Management noted two new concepts in the back half of the year.

  1. We were expecting one…the other was a surprise to us. We have some ideas, but will let them reveal when it’s time.
  2. This does NOT include RH Kitchens, which – if comes out in ’15 – would be incremental. This is a function of WHEN not IF. Keep in mind that there’s an expensive team cranking on the initiative that has, thus far, been a cost center. That will turn quickly once product hits the floor. We’re not banking on it in ’15, but it is a call option.
  3. The company has assets today that are sitting dark…such as the initial Beverly Design Gallery. Our sense is that is likely to be used by one of these new concepts.
  4. Management noted that the New York (FlatIron) remodel has not lived up to expectations. That came as a surprise to us. That said, the company is in the process of building its 80-90k square foot Flagship in the meatpacking district of NYC. Our sense is that the NY store will turn into turn into the new ‘Mystery Concept’, while the downtown Flagship will carry the RH Design Gallery torch.

ISSUE #2: Square Footage Growth

The Facts/Concern: Management talked down ‘low 30s’ to 27% square footage for this coming year.

Our Opinion:

  1. This is not new. We were modeled at 24% for the year. This is actually a positive surprise from our vantage point. The key point here is that there are fewer legacy stores closing than people generally expect. That’s been our contention all along. RH has already pared down its real estate portfolio such that it does not have anymore bad locations. Just stores that are too small. So when it opens a 60,000 foot store in place of a 10,000 foot store, we think that in roughly half the instances, RH may decide to keep the former store open and use it for one of the new concepts that are coming down the pike. Kitchens, Baby and Child, Mystery Concept X…whatever. That results in fewer stores being closed, and lower implied square footage growth due to a higher base when new stores are added.
  2. 7 Design Galleries in 2016. That exceeded our expectations for the year. The company noted that it had signed 9 leases for 2016 and beyond and were in discussions on another 25 sites. That compares to 4 deals wrapped up and 25 negotiations at the end of 3Q. We were previously only modeling 5 stores at 50,000 square feet each for the year. A nice surprise on the upside.



  • Management was cagey about the performance metrics, but we think the commentary surrounding the direct lift was very bullish for the market. The company needs to hit a $40mm sales number in year one ($875/ft) to hit the ROI targets which it sounds like the store is very much on track to do. Any additional lift from the direct buisiness is an added bonus and helps the company’s return metrics.

New York – Flat Iron

  • Let’s be clear up front, the New York store prior to the re-model was the best performing store in the fleet. So by no means is this store a stinker, though management did say that it has underperformed. We think that means it is still outperforming the company average, but we are also fully aware of the fact that company will be jumping ship from the Flat Iron to the Meat Packing district in 2016.

Source Books

  • As we expected the company will decouple both the Outdoor and Baby & Child Categories from the big once a year mailer while condensing the full Source Book and mailing to a more targeted audience. Two additional books will be mailed in the back half of the year for 2 yet to be announced categories/product extensions.


  • We estimate that the 17lb Source Book cost the company an incremental $35mm last year. The company will lap that this year and is the big reason why we will see muted SG&A growth (~12-13% for the year).


  • This isn’t exactly new disclosure, but Karen was more steadfast in the fact that the company would plan the capital budget on a deal by deal basis. Meaning that not all deals will be structured like Denver where the landlord is covering 77% of the build-out cost. The company will look at the return and margin implications going forward to figure out the best way to deploy capital from a balance sheet that is much healthier now than it was 12 months ago.



RH – Key Issues Into (And Out Of) The Qtr

Takeaway: Here's all the numbers we care about into the print -- and why we still think it a very big, very under appreciated idea.


Here are the key financial metrics we’re looking for into (and out of) the RH print. The quarter was already preannounced, so the announcement is all about guidance. As we’ve already stated, we think that there will likely be a revenue push from 1Q into 2Q associated with slower deliveries due to the port strike in the quarter. Unlike other retailers that will lose revenue forever, with RH it is simply delayed. Even if this does not actually materialize over the course of the quarter, RH is likely to guide conservatively – a) to play it safe, and b) because it can (other retailers did, and the market is expecting it).

In the end, RH remains our top idea in retail. People are finally starting to appreciate the square footage growth story – growing today for the first time in seven years. But we don’t think that they appreciate why. Yes, larger stores a) stimulate greater spending in new categories and b) allow RH to showcase product that previously was shown to consumers in an iPad look-book or a Source Book (physical catalogue). But the story is so much biggger than that. The fact of the matter is that RH is rapidly consolidating the high end home furnishings space not unlike what Ralph Lauren did to the high-end apparel space in 1990 – and virtually all of its competition is structurally unable to compete. On top of that, we think that people are really missing out on the Gross Margin upside in the model as the company halves its occupancy rate (from 12% to 6% of revenue in Denver, for example) as it rolls out its new stores.

In the end, we have earnings growing at a CAGR of 45% over the next three years. If our model is right, then the current 30x p/e – which most people tell us is too expensive – will turn out to look downright cheap. And unlike other fashion-driven retail stories (i.e. current concerns about KORS) – you never really have to worry about this business going out of style.

When all is said and done, by the end of this year, we think that people will be looking at $5.00 in earnings in 2016 – that’s 30% above the Street’s $3.84. If we assume no multiple expansion (despite the higher earnings CAGR) then we’re looking at a stock price of $150 in a year. A year after that over $200 ($7+ * 30x). The biggest problem we think people will have is modeling the dilution of the convertible debt when the stock breaks $190.

Key Details On The Quarter



Revenue/Comps - For the quarter we are at 21% revenue growth. That’s broken into a few parts, full details below.

  • Average sq. ft. growth of 10%, with no new openings scheduled for 1Q15.
  • New store productivity of 10%. We should start to see sales flow in from the newly opened stores in LA and Atlanta but given the timing of the openings in late 3Q14 and early 4Q14 respectively and the extended fulfillment window (8-10 weeks +) we should see that accelerate beginning in the 2nd quarter.
  • Retail store comp of 10%.
  • Direct revenue comp of 30%. Overall we like what we’ve seen out of the visitation statistics from rh.com. The chart below looks at the YY % change in traffic rank which takes into account both unique visitation and page visits per user and ranks each site relative to every other site on the internet. It doesn’t translate to an exact comp number, but directionally it’s a very good indicator as to how things are trending. We expect the new source books/product to be released in early to mid-April, which should lead to a reacceleration of the visitation metric.

RH - Tremendous Setup Into 2015 - rh traffic

  • That translates to a 21% combined brand comp. Down 400bps sequentially on a 2yr basis. Port issues could cause some revenue to be moved from 1Q into 2Q, but against weather impaired compares LY we like the set-up in the first quarter on the top line.

Port Disruptions: Our sense is that we will hear a little bit about the West Coast Port disruptions on the call. But, keep in mind that 95% of RH’s business is fulfilled from a DC, or put another way, only 5% is cash and carry (our estimate). Unlike WSM, and just about every other retailer on the planet RH doesn’t need product in its stores to conduct a sale. Could it push dollars from 1Q into 2Q? Of course – and it’s a strong possibility, but unlike WSM and apparel/general merchandise retailers, it’s far less likely those sales will be lost forever.

Outdoor – One of the big whiffs last year in the 2nd quarter was the company’s packaging of its Outdoor Source Book into the 3,200 page bundle that arrived in homes in June and July. The big problem with that is that consumers don’t buy Outdoor furniture in June, they’re sitting in it. The category refresh was unveiled on 3/13/2015, a month earlier than last year when it hit the internet on 4/10/2014 last year. The new collection is not in stores currently, but the e-comm presence should provide an extra boost in 1Q & 2Q this year. Management hasn’t articulated how it plans on handling it’s Source Book strategy this year, but our sense is that we will see 3 or 4 targeted mailings this year delivered at content appropriate times instead of a 17-pound shrink wrapped package that is 6x larger than the average phone book.

Full Year
There are still a lot of moving parts on the comp line heading into 2015. Here is a quick look at when the 4 newest Design Gallery’s/remodels will be entering the comp base. We don’t expect any additional Legacy Store closures outside of those closed when RH opens new Full Line Design Galleries in Chicago, Denver, Tampa, and Austin.

  • Greenwich, July 2015 (tail-end of 2Q15)
  • NYC Flat Iron, August 2015 (beginning of 3Q15)
  • Melrose Ave., December 2015 (middle of 4Q15)
  • Atlanta, February 2016 (late 4Q15, early 1Q16)

For the year we are at 27% revenue growth. That’s driven by 14% growth in average sq. ft., a 17% retail comp, 27% growth in DTC, which equals a 23% combined brand comp. We are modeling a sequential improvement throughout the year on a 2yr basis with the highest comp YY falling in 2Q as the company laps the Source Book hiccups in 2014.



  • Gross Margin - On the occupancy front the company is facing similar headwinds to start the year as it did in the 1st quarter LY. Additional details...
  • DC occupancy headwinds due to the opening of the new West Coast DC are similar to what we saw when the company dealt with the added cost of the Dallas DC and Ohio Shelf Facility last year.
  • Dead rent started to hit the P&L in 4Q and will continue to be a headwind until the company gets the 4 new doors planned for 2015 fully operational. It takes RH on average 6 months to turn a property once it gets the keys from the landlord. RH opened 4 stores in 2014 so the incremental cost in ’15 should be very slight on YY basis. The only difference here is the Beverly Boulevard store which is currently sitting dark while the landlord collects rent.
  • On the positive side, the company will see a benefit on the merch margin side as the price increases associated with the 2014 Source Book launch flow into the 1st quarter.
  • SG&A – The change in source book strategy will be a headwind in 1Q similar to the prior two quarters. On the positive side, there are no incremental costs associated with new store openings. Net/net we think it’s a positive. We’re modeling 45bps of leverage in the quarter.
  • EBIT Margin – For the quarter we are modeling operating margins at 5.3%, driven by 100bps of GM improvement and 45bps from SG&A leverage. 

Full Year

  • For the full year we are modeling 210 bps of EBIT margin improvement from 9.2% this year.
  • Gross Margin – The 70bps of GM improvement in 2015 is driven by a) occupancy leverage as the new Full Line Design Galleries start to make a meaningful impression on the top line and b) the once per year Source Book strategy continues to smooth out the product flow curve helping on the shipping side. We don’t expect a big benefit from mix (as in a larger percentage of non-furniture business) until some of these new categories hit critical mass and kitchens fully ramps up. That will be a 2016 event. Dead rent and DC occupancy will be a headwind for most of the year.
  • SG&A – Leverage on this line item should improve sequentially throughout the year as the company laps the increased marketing spend from last year driven by the 17lb Source Book. That coupled with G&A leverage on higher sales volume gets us 140bps of leverage for the year.