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99%

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended February 3, 2024

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from to

Commission File Number 001-36107

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/7d0fae5544a49b6515bc07fbee14e18a-img211775621_0.jpg 

BURLINGTON STORES, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware

 

80-0895227

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

2006 Route 130 North

Burlington, New Jersey

 

08016

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(609) 387-7800

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per share

 

BURL

 

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-Accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on July 29, 2023, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $11,490,446,355. The aggregate market value was computed by reference to the closing price of the common stock on such date.

As of March 2, 2024, there were 63,919,382 shares of common stock of the registrant outstanding.

 

Documents Incorporated By Reference:

Certain provisions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed within 120 days of the close of the registrant’s 2023 fiscal year, are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K to the extent described herein.

 

 

Auditor Firm Id:

 

34
 

 

 

Auditor Name:

 

Deloitte & Touche LLP

 

 

Auditor Location:

 

Morristown, New Jersey

 

 


 

 


BURLINGTON STORES, INC.

INDEX TO REPORT ON FORM 10-K

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED FEBRUARY 3, 2024

 

 

 

PAGE

PART I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

1

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

6

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

18

Item 1C.

 

Cybersecurity

 

19

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

20

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

20

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

PART II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

21

Item 6.

 

Reserved

 

23

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

24

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

39

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

41

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

78

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

78

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

81

Item 9C.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

 

82

 

 

 

 

 

PART III.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

82

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

82

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

82

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

82

Item 14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

82

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

83

Item 16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

90

 

 

 

SIGNATURES

 

91

 

 

 


 

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report contains forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about us, the industry in which we operate and other matters, as well as management’s beliefs and assumptions. For example, when we use words such as “projects,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “should,” “would,” “could,” “will,” “opportunity,” “potential” or “may,” variations of such words or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes, or make any other statement that is not a historical fact, we are making “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). These forward-looking statements may relate to such matters as future impacts of current macroeconomic conditions, our future actions, including expected store openings and closings, ongoing strategic initiatives and the intended results of those initiatives, future performance or results, anticipated sales, expenses and interest rates, the effect of the adoption of recent or future accounting pronouncements and the outcome of contingencies such as legal proceedings. Our forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from the events or results anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including each of the factors discussed in Item 1A, Risk Factors as well as risks and uncertainties discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report. While we believe that our assumptions are reasonable, we caution that it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors, and it is impossible for us to anticipate all factors that could affect our actual future events or results. In light of these risks and uncertainties, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this Annual Report might not occur. In addition, as a result of these and other factors, our past financial performance should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. The cautionary statements referred to in this section also should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that may be issued by us or persons acting on our behalf. We do not undertake to publicly update or revise our forward-looking statements, except as required by law, even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied in such statements will not be realized. If we do update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be made that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.

 

PART I

Item 1. Business Overview

We are a nationally recognized off-price retailer of high-quality, branded merchandise at everyday low prices. We opened our first store in Burlington, New Jersey in 1972, selling primarily coats and outerwear. Since then, we have expanded our store base to 1007 stores as of February 3, 2024, in 46 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. We have diversified our product categories by offering an extensive selection of in-season, fashion-focused merchandise at up to 60% off other retailers’ prices, including: women’s ready-to-wear apparel, menswear, youth apparel, baby, beauty, footwear, accessories, home, toys, gifts and coats. We sell a broad selection of desirable, first-quality, current-brand, labeled merchandise acquired directly from nationally recognized manufacturers and other suppliers.

We continue to focus on a number of ongoing initiatives aimed at increasing our overall profitability by driving comparable store sales growth, expanding and enhancing our retail store base, and enhancing operating margins. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, those discussed under “Ongoing Initiatives for Fiscal 2024” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

As used in this Annual Report, the terms “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our” refer to Burlington Stores, Inc. and all of its subsidiaries.

Fiscal Year End

We define our fiscal year as the 52- or 53-week period ending on the Saturday closest to January 31. This Annual Report covers the 53-week fiscal year ended February 3, 2024 (Fiscal 2023) and the 52-week fiscal years ended January 28, 2023 (Fiscal 2022) and January 29, 2022 (Fiscal 2021). The fiscal year ending February 1, 2025 (“Fiscal 2024”) will have 52 weeks.

Our Stores

Over 99% of our net sales are derived from stores we operate as Burlington Stores. We believe that our customers are attracted to our stores principally by the availability of a large assortment of first-quality, current, brand-name merchandise at everyday low prices.

Burlington Stores offer customers a complete line of merchandise, including: women’s ready-to-wear apparel, menswear, youth apparel, baby, beauty, footwear, accessories, home, toys, gifts and coats. Our broad selection provides a wide range of apparel,

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accessories and furnishings for all ages. Our strategy to chase the sales trend allows us the flexibility to purchase less pre-season merchandise with the balance purchased in-season and opportunistically. It also provides us with the flexibility to shift purchases between suppliers and categories. This enables us to obtain better terms with our suppliers, which we expect to help offset any rising costs of goods. Furthermore, we believe the “treasure hunt” nature of the off-price buying experience drives frequent visits to our stores.

Our store base is geographically diversified with stores located in 46 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico as set forth below:

State

 

Number of Stores

 

 

State

 

Number of Stores

 

 

State

 

Number of Stores

AK

 

2

 

 

KY

 

8

 

 

NY

 

65

AL

 

13

 

 

LA

 

9

 

 

OH

 

30

AR

 

6

 

 

MA

 

24

 

 

OK

 

11

AZ

 

21

 

 

MD

 

22

 

 

OR

 

7

CA

 

108

 

 

ME

 

2

 

 

PA

 

42

CO

 

16

 

 

MI

 

27

 

 

PR

 

20

CT

 

15

 

 

MN

 

13

 

 

RI

 

6

DC

 

1

 

 

MO

 

12

 

 

SC

 

13

DE

 

3

 

 

MS

 

2

 

 

SD

 

2

FL

 

101

 

 

NC

 

27

 

 

TN

 

16

GA

 

35

 

 

ND

 

1

 

 

TX

 

113

IA

 

4

 

 

NE

 

4

 

 

UT

 

9

ID

 

3

 

 

NH

 

4

 

 

VA

 

28

IL

 

40

 

 

NJ

 

47

 

 

WA

 

18

IN

 

18

 

 

NM

 

5

 

 

WI

 

11

KS

 

8

 

 

NV

 

14

 

 

WV

 

1

Store Expansion and Real Estate Strategy

We continue to explore expansion opportunities both within our current market areas and in other regions. We believe that our ability to find satisfactory locations for our stores is essential for the continued growth of our business. The opening of stores generally is contingent upon a number of factors, including the availability of desirable locations with suitable structures and the negotiation of acceptable lease terms.

We have a proven track record of new store expansion. Our store base has grown from 13 stores in 1980 to 1007 stores as of February 3, 2024. Based on our smaller store prototype, as well as the ongoing opportunity presented by accelerating retail disruption and industry wide store closures, our long-term store target remains at 2,000 stores. If we identify appropriate locations, including locations that fit our smaller store prototype, we believe that we will be able to execute our growth strategy without significantly impacting our current stores. The table below shows our store openings and closings each of the last three fiscal years.

 

 

Fiscal 2023

 

 

Fiscal 2022

 

 

Fiscal 2021

 

Stores (beginning of period)

 

 

927

 

 

 

840

 

 

 

761

 

Stores opened(a)(b)

 

 

91

 

 

 

91

 

 

 

84

 

Stores closed(a)

 

 

(11

)

 

 

(4

)

 

 

(5

)

Stores (end of period)

 

 

1,007

 

 

 

927

 

 

 

840

 

 

(a)
Exclusive of relocations.
(b)
Stores opened during Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021 had an average size of approximately 27,000, 28,000 and 31,000 square feet, respectively.

The total gross square footage of all stores as of the end of Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022, and Fiscal 2021 were 51.5 million, 50.7 million, and 49.6 million, respectively. Of this total square footage, the area that represents the total selling square footage for all stores as of the end of Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022, and Fiscal 2021 were 31.5 million, 31.0 million, and 30.0 million respectively.

Distribution and Warehousing

We have five distribution centers that shipped more than 99% of merchandise units to our stores in Fiscal 2023. The remaining merchandise units are drop shipped by our vendors directly to our stores. Our two east coast distribution centers are located in Edgewater Park, New Jersey and Burlington, New Jersey. Our three west coast distribution centers are located in San Bernardino,

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California, Redlands, California, and Riverside, California. These five distribution centers occupy an aggregate of 4,106,000 square feet, and each includes processing, shipping and storage capabilities. In addition, we entered into a lease during Fiscal 2021 for an additional distribution center in Logan, New Jersey occupying approximately 1,029,000 square feet. This building was used for storage and basic manual processing during Fiscal 2023, and is expected to be fully operational during Fiscal 2024. Lastly, we entered into a lease with a purchase option during Fiscal 2023 for an additional distribution center in Ellabell, Georgia occupying approximately 2,057,000 square feet. This building is expected to be fully operational during Fiscal 2026.

We also operate warehousing facilities to support our distribution centers. The east coast has two supporting warehouses located in Burlington, New Jersey. The west coast has three supporting warehouses located in Redlands, California, Riverside, California, and San Bernardino, California. These five warehousing facilities occupy an aggregate of 2,383,000 square feet and primarily serve as storage facilities. We previously operated a third warehousing facility in Burlington, New Jersey, which was closed during Fiscal 2023.

 

 

Calendar
Year
Operational

 

 

Size
(sq. feet)

 

 

Leased
or
Owned

Primary Distribution Centers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edgewater Park, New Jersey (Route 130 South)(a)

 

 

2004

 

 

 

648,000

 

 

Owned

Burlington, New Jersey (Daniels Way)

 

 

2014

 

 

 

1,000,000

 

 

Leased

Logan, New Jersey

 

 

2022

 

 

 

1,029,000

 

 

Leased

San Bernardino, California (E. Mill St)

 

 

2006

 

 

 

758,000

 

 

Leased

Redlands, California (Pioneer Ave)

 

 

2014

 

 

 

800,000

 

 

Leased

Riverside, California (Cactus Ave)

 

 

2021

 

 

 

900,000

 

 

Leased

Ellabell, Georgia

 

 

2026

 

 

 

2,057,000

 

 

(b)

Warehousing Facilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burlington, New Jersey (Route 130 North)(a)

 

 

1987

 

 

 

525,000

 

 

Owned

Burlington, New Jersey (Richards Run)

 

 

2017

 

 

 

511,000

 

 

Leased

Redlands, California (River Bluff Ave)

 

 

2017

 

 

 

543,000

 

 

Leased

Riverside, California (Oleander Ave)

 

 

2023

 

 

 

410,000

 

 

Leased

San Bernardino, California (Waterman Ave)

 

 

2020

 

 

 

394,000

 

 

Leased

 

(a)
Inclusive of corporate offices.
(b)
We entered into a lease with a purchase option during Fiscal 2023 for an additional distribution center in Ellabell, Georgia. This building is expected to be fully operational during Fiscal 2026.

 

In addition to the distribution centers that we operate, we have arrangements with third parties for the use of pool point facilities, which we believe streamline and optimize our distribution network.

Customer Service

We are committed to providing our customers with an enjoyable shopping experience in stores that are clean, neat and easy to shop. In training our associates, our goal is to emphasize knowledgeable, friendly customer service and a sense of professional pride.

We have empowered our store teams to provide an outstanding customer experience for every customer in every store, every day. We have and continue to streamline processes and strive to create opportunities for fast and friendly customer interactions. Our goal is to facilitate a “treasure-hunt” experience for our customers with clean, organized merchandise presentations that highlight the brands, value and diversity of selection within our frequently refreshed assortments.

Our Off-Price Sourcing and Merchandising Model

We believe that our ability to chase sales within the off-price model enables us to provide our customers with products that are nationally branded, fashionable, high quality and priced right. We have an experienced team of General Merchandise Managers, Divisional Merchandise Managers and buyers that are continually focused on improving comparable store inventory turnover, inventory age and freshness of merchandise.

We continue to improve the quality of our brand portfolio, driven by the growth of our merchandising team, wide breadth of our product categories, and a vendor community increasingly committed to grow with Burlington. We carry many different brands, none of which accounted for more than 6% of our net purchases during Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022 or Fiscal 2021. We have no long-term purchase commitments or arrangements with any of our suppliers, and believe that we are not dependent on any one supplier. We continue to have good working relationships with our suppliers.

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We have designed our merchant organization so that buyers focus primarily on buying, planners focus primarily on planning, and information systems help inform data-driven decisions for both groups. Buyers are in the market each week and focus on purchasing great products for great value. We seek to purchase a majority of our merchandise in-season. Buyers spend time interacting face-to-face with new and existing vendors and continuously evaluating trends in the market to which we believe our customers would respond positively. Our buyers use a merchant scorecard that rates products across four key attributes—fashion, quality, brand and price—to help formalize a framework for buying decisions.

Our merchandising model allows us to provide our customers with a wide breadth of product categories. Sales percentage by major product category over the last three fiscal years was as follows:

Category

 

Fiscal 2023

 

 

Fiscal 2022

 

 

Fiscal 2021

 

Ladies apparel

 

 

21

%

 

 

22

%

 

 

23

%

Accessories and shoes

 

 

27

%

 

 

24

%

 

 

23

%

Home

 

 

20

%

 

 

21

%

 

 

20

%

Mens apparel

 

 

17

%

 

 

17

%

 

 

16

%

Kids apparel and baby

 

 

12

%

 

 

12

%

 

 

14

%

Outerwear

 

 

3

%

 

 

4

%

 

 

4

%

Human Capital Resources

 

Attracting, developing and retaining top talent is key to our growth, and our success depends on cultivating an engaged and motivated workforce. Our goal is to create a welcoming, diverse and inclusive environment where our associates can build a career for life.

 

Oversight and Management

 

Our Human Resources department is tasked with managing associate-related matters, including recruiting and hiring, compensation and benefits, performance management, and learning and development. In addition, our management and cross-functional teams also work closely to evaluate human capital management issues such as associate retention and workplace safety, as well as to implement measures to mitigate these risks. This process is informed by the results of our annual associate survey, which is discussed in further detail below.

 

Our Board of Directors and Board committees provide oversight on certain human capital matters. For example, our Compensation Committee is responsible for, among other things, developing and reviewing executive management succession plans and reviewing our compensation policies for executives and associates generally to assess (i) whether the compensation structure establishes appropriate incentives and (ii) the risks associated with such policies and practices. In addition, our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee reviews environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) trends, issues and concerns, including legislative and regulatory developments, that could significantly affect our public affairs. Our Audit Committee receives periodic reports from, and discusses related controls and procedures with, management regarding ESG reporting and disclosures. Our Board of Directors provides oversight of ESG matters.

 

Associates

 

As of February 3, 2024, we employed 71,049 associates, of which 76% were part-time or seasonal associates. Of our associates, 88% worked in our stores, 8% worked in our distribution centers and 4% worked in our corporate organization. As of February 3, 2024, 73% of our associates are female, and 78% of our associates have a racial or ethnic minority background.

 

Our staffing requirements fluctuate during the year as a result of the seasonality of our business. We hire additional associates and increase the hours of part-time associates during seasonal peak selling periods. As of February 3, 2024, associates at one of our stores were subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

 

Corporate Culture

 

We recognize the critical importance of talent and culture to our success. Our value proposition, “Our Burlington,” which defines who we are as an employer and what is important to us as a team, is based on five tenets:

 

We Are an Off-Price Retailer: We deliver great values to our customers every day.
We Live by Our Core Values: Drive Results. Trust & Respect Each Other. Build Teams & Partnerships.

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We Believe Everyone Matters: We listen to the individual viewpoints of our diverse workforce through open and honest communication.
We Win Together: We recognize those who make a difference. Great performance leads to exciting career opportunities.
We Are a Caring Company: We have a caring work environment, and the generosity of our associates and customers helps to improve the communities we live and work in and beyond.

 

We conduct an annual associate survey to measure associate engagement. The survey results help us understand the associate experience, evaluate our performance, identify our strengths and pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

 

As Burlington continues to grow, innovate, and thrive, we are integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion ("DEI") best practices across the entire spectrum of business functions. Our DEI strategy consists of five pillars that support all areas of the business:

 

Leadership & Workforce Diversity
Inclusive & Equitable Environments for Associates and Customers
Enhanced Education & Awareness
Product, Vendor & Supplier Diversity
Community Advocacy

 

Burlington has a DEI team that is further supported by an enhanced governance structure consisting of additional DEI councils to support corporate, merchandising, distribution centers, and field/store operations, along with expanded Associate Resource Groups, which gives associates more ways to participate in DEI efforts as members of an associate-led community.

 

Learning and Development

 

We support our associates’ career growth by offering a blended learning approach that includes online education, on-the-job training, coaching and career development. All associates, including full- and part-time, in our stores, distribution centers and corporate offices, are offered training and development opportunities. Our learning and development programs are integral to the development of our associates and enable them to take on new and expanded roles across our organization.

 

Compensation and Benefits

 

As part of our commitment to offer competitive wages, Burlington works to ensure that our pay structure aligns with industry standards. In addition to being merit based, Burlington reviews compensation for all associates at every level of the business based on market analysis, seeking to ensure associates are fairly and appropriately compensated. Through this process, we have increased the wages of our hourly associates every year since 2010. We also offer a wide array of benefits for our associates and their families, including health and wellness and retirement benefits.

Customer Demographic

Our core customer is 25-49 years old, has an average annual household income of $25,000-$100,000, and is more ethnically diverse than the general population. The core customer is educated, resides in mid- to large-sized metropolitan areas and shops for themselves, their family, and their home. We appeal to value seeking and brand conscious customers who understand the off-price model and love the thrill of the hunt.

Marketing and Advertising

We use a mix of broad-based and targeted marketing strategies to efficiently deliver the right message to our audience at the right time. Broad-based strategies include television and radio, while our digital and streaming audio strategies allow for more personalized and targeted messaging. Email reaches our best customers, while social marketing, including relationships with influencers, allows for authentic consumer engagement. Burlington.com highlights our great merchandise values, while encouraging customers to visit our stores to discover fantastic deals on the brands and products they love - from stylish apparel to everything they need and want for their entire family and home.

Competition

The U.S. retail apparel and home furnishings markets are highly fragmented and competitive. We compete on the basis of a combination of factors, including, among others, price, breadth, quality and style of merchandise offered, in-store experience, level of

5


 

customer service, ability to identify and respond to new and emerging fashion trends, brand image and scalability. We compete for business with department stores, off-price retailers, specialty stores, online retailers, discount stores, wholesale clubs, and outlet stores, as well as with certain traditional, full-price retail chains that have developed off-price concepts. At various times throughout the year, traditional full-price department store chains and specialty shops offer brand-name merchandise at substantial markdowns, which can result in prices approximating those offered by us at our stores.

Seasonality

Our business, like that of most retailers, is subject to seasonal influences. In the second half of the year, which includes the back-to-school and holiday seasons, we generally realize a higher level of sales and net income. Weather is also a contributing factor to the sale of our merchandise. Generally, our sales are higher if the weather is cold during the Fall and warm during the early Spring. Sales of cold weather clothing are increased by early cold weather during the Fall, while sales of warm weather clothing are improved by early warm weather conditions in the Spring. Although we have diversified our product offerings, we believe traffic to our stores is still driven, in part, by weather patterns.

Trademarks

We are the owner of certain registered and common law trademarks, service marks and tradenames (collectively referred to as the Marks) that we use in connection with our business. Our Marks include, but are not limited to, “Burlington Stores,” “BCF,” “Burlington,” “Burlington Coat Factory,” “Cohoes,” “B” and “Baby Depot.” We consider these Marks and the accompanying name recognition to be valuable to our business. We believe that our rights to these properties are adequately protected. Our rights in these Marks endure for as long as they are used.

Available Information

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. Therefore, we file reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, including us.

You can access financial and other information about us on the Investor Relations page of our website at www.burlingtoninvestors.com. We make available through our website, free of charge, copies of our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC under Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing or furnishing such material to the SEC.

 

Investors and others should note that we currently announce material information using SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts. In the future, we will continue to use these channels to distribute material information about the Company, and may also utilize our website and/or various social media sites to communicate important information about the Company, key personnel, new brands and services, trends, new marketing campaigns, corporate initiatives and other matters. Information that we post on our website or on social media channels could be deemed material; therefore, we encourage investors, the media, our customers, business partners and others interested in the Company to review the information posted on our website, as well as the following social media channels: Facebook (www.facebook.com/BurlingtonStores) and X (formerly Twitter) (www.twitter.com/burlington). Any updates to the list of social media channels we may use to communicate material information will be posted on the Investor Relations page of our website at www.burlingtoninvestors.com.

 

The information contained on, or accessible through, our website and these social media channels is not part of this Annual Report and is therefore not incorporated by reference. The references to our website and these social media channels are intended to be inactive textual references only.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

Set forth below are material risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows and cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements made by us. Although we believe that we have identified and discussed below the key risks and uncertainties affecting our business, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known or that are not currently believed to be material that may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with all of the other information included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report.

6


 

Macroeconomic, Industry and Business Risks

A downturn in general economic conditions or consumer spending or inflationary conditions could adversely affect our business.

Consumer spending levels and shopping behaviors are affected by various economic conditions, which can affect our business or the retail industry generally as a result. These factors include, among other things, prevailing global economic conditions, inflation (including the costs of basic necessities and other goods), levels of employment, salaries and wage rates, prevailing interest rates, housing costs, energy costs, commodities pricing, income tax rates and policies, consumer confidence and consumer perception of economic conditions. In addition, consumer purchasing patterns may be influenced by consumers’ disposable income, credit availability and debt levels. Slowdown in the U.S. economy, an uncertain global economic outlook, interest rate volatility, or a credit crisis could adversely affect consumer spending habits, resulting in lower net sales and profits than expected on a quarterly or annual basis. Consumer confidence is also affected by the domestic and international political situation and periods of social unrest. The occurrence of terrorist acts or other hostilities in or affecting the U.S. could lead to a decrease in spending by consumers. In addition, natural disasters, industrial accidents, acts of war or global international conflicts (such as the conflict in Ukraine or the Hamas-Israel war), and public health issues (such as pandemics or epidemics) could have the effect of disrupting supplies and raising prices globally which, in turn, may have adverse effects on the world and U.S. economies and lead to a downturn in consumer confidence and spending. Certain of these risks, such as risks arising from political volatility, may be enhanced in 2024 and other election years.

We have also experienced inflationary pressure in our supply chain and with respect to raw materials and finished goods to a greater extent than we have in recent years due to current economic conditions. There can be no assurance that we will be able to offset inflationary pressure and other fluctuations in costs in the future, or that consumer behavior or our business, operations, liquidity, and/or financial results, will not be negatively affected by continued inflation in the future. We may not be able to adequately increase our prices over time to offset increased costs, whether due to inflation or otherwise. Any decreases in consumer discretionary spending could result in a decrease in store traffic and same store sales, all of which could negatively affect the Company’s business, operations, liquidity, financial results and/or stock price, particularly if consumer spending levels are depressed for a prolonged period of time.

We face increased competition from other retailers that could adversely affect our business.

The retail sector is highly competitive, and retailers are constantly adjusting their business models, promotional activities and pricing strategies in response to changing conditions. We compete on the basis of a combination of factors, including, among others, price, breadth, quality and style of merchandise offered, in-store experience, level of customer service, ability to identify and respond to new and emerging fashion trends, brand image and scalability. We compete with a wide variety of retailers for customers, vendors, suitable store locations and personnel. Some of our competitors are larger than we are or have more experience than we do in selling certain product lines or through certain channels. Additionally, existing competitors may consolidate with other retailers, expand their merchandise offerings, expand their e-commerce capabilities, and/or add new sales channels, change their pricing strategies, or use technology more effectively than we do, including the use of artificial intelligence. More generally, consumer e-commerce spending may continue to increase, as it has in recent years, while our business is exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores. If we fail to compete effectively, our sales and results of operations could be adversely affected.

In order to increase traffic and drive consumer spending, competitors, including department stores, mass merchants and specialty apparel stores, have been offering brand-name merchandise at substantial markdowns. Continuation of this trend, or the possible effect on consumer buying patterns that improving economic conditions could have, may cause consumer demand to shift from off-price retailers to other retailers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Certain traditional, full-price retail chains have developed off-price concepts, which may directly compete with our business. Our competitors, including such retail chains, may seek to emulate facets of our business strategy, which could result in a reduction of any competitive advantage or special appeal that we might possess. In addition, most of our products are sold to us on a non-exclusive basis. As a result, our current and future competitors may be able to duplicate or improve on some or all of our product offerings that we believe are important in differentiating our stores. If our competitors were to duplicate or improve on some or all of our in-store experience or product offerings, obtaining the products we sell may become increasingly difficult, competition for customers may increase, and our competitive position and our business could suffer.

Our net sales, operating income and inventory levels fluctuate on a seasonal basis.

Our net sales and operating income fluctuate seasonally, with a higher level of our operating income typically realized during the second half of the year. Any decrease in sales or margins during this period could have a disproportionate effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Seasonal fluctuations also affect our inventory levels. We must carry a significant amount of inventory, especially before the holiday season selling period. If we are not successful in selling our inventory, we may have to write down our inventory or sell it at significantly reduced prices or we may not be able to sell such inventory at all, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

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A reduction in traffic to, or the closing of, the other destination retailers in the shopping areas where our stores are located could significantly reduce our sales.

Many of our stores are strategically located in off-mall shopping areas known as “power centers.” Power centers typically contain three to five big-box anchor stores along with a variety of smaller specialty tenants. Due to many of our stores being located in such shopping areas, our sales are derived, in part, from the volume of traffic generated by the other destination retailers and the anchor stores in power centers where our stores are located. Customer traffic to these shopping areas may be adversely affected by the closing of such destination retailers or anchor stores, or by a reduction in traffic to such stores resulting from a regional or global economic downturn, a general downturn in the local area where our store is located, increased competition from alternative retail options such as those accessible via the internet or a decline in the desirability of the shopping environment of a particular power center. Such a reduction in customer traffic would reduce our sales and leave us with excess inventory, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, profitability and cash flows. We may respond by increasing markdowns or transferring product to other stores to reduce excess inventory, which would further decrease our gross profits and net income.

Failure to identify customer trends and preferences to meet customer demand could negatively impact our performance and reputation.

Because our success depends on our ability to meet customer demand, we work to follow customer trends and preferences on an ongoing basis and to buy inventory in response to those trends and preferences. However, identifying consumer trends and preferences in the diverse product lines and many markets in which we do business and successfully meeting customer demand across those lines and for those markets on a timely basis is challenging. Although our flexible business model allows us to buy close to need and in response to consumer preferences and trends, and to expand and contract merchandise categories in response to consumers’ changing tastes, we may not do so successfully, which could adversely affect our sales and the markdowns required to move the resulting excess inventory will adversely affect our operating margins.

Customers may also have expectations about how they shop in stores, or more generally engage with businesses across different channels or media (through internet-based and other digital or mobile channels or particular forms of social media), which may vary across demographics and may evolve rapidly. Customers are increasingly using technology and mobile devices to rapidly compare products and prices and to purchase products. Failure to effectively meet these changing expectations and demands may adversely impact our reputation and our financial results.

We may be unable to meet our environmental, social or governance (“ESG”) goals or otherwise meet the expectations of our stakeholders with respect to ESG matters.

Many stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, consumers and others, have increasingly focused on ESG topics, including environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility matters such as climate change, packaging and waste reduction, energy consumption, and diversity, equity and inclusion in a variety of ways that are not necessarily consistent. We face pressures from certain constituencies to meet our goals related to, and to make significant advancements toward achievements in, these areas. Achievement of our goals is subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control, and it is possible that we may fail to achieve these goals or that these constituencies may not be satisfied with the goals we set or our efforts to achieve them. Our disclosure on these matters and our failure, or perceived failure, to meet our goals and otherwise effectively address these matters, could harm our reputation, which could negatively impact our business, our relationship with our various stakeholders, and our results of operations. In addition, we could be criticized for the scope of our ESG initiatives. Our failure to meet shifting stakeholder expectations could negatively impact our brand, image, reputation, credibility, and the willingness of our customers and suppliers to do business with us.

In addition, developing and acting on ESG initiatives, including collecting, measuring and reporting related data, can be costly, difficult and time consuming. Significant expenditures and commitment of time by management, employees and outside advisors may be involved in developing, implementing and overseeing policies, practices and internal controls related to ESG risk and performance, and we may undertake additional costs to control, assess and report on ESG metrics as the nature, scope and complexity of ESG reporting, diligence and disclosure requirements expand. For example, the State of California recently passed the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act and the Climate-Related Financial Risk Act that will impose broad climate-related disclosure obligations on companies doing business in California. In addition, the SEC has adopted final rulemaking on climate change disclosures that could increase compliance burdens and associated regulatory costs and complexity.

We also may face potential governmental enforcement actions or private litigation challenging our ESG and sustainability goals, or our disclosure of those goals and our metrics for measuring achievement of them, which may increase our costs of compliance, damage our reputation, or cause investors or consumers to lose confidence in us.

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Extreme and/or unseasonable weather conditions caused by climate change or otherwise, or natural disasters, could have a significant adverse effect on our business.

Our business is susceptible to risks associated with climate change, which may cause more frequent and extreme weather events. Extreme weather conditions in the areas in which our stores or distribution centers are located - especially in areas with a high concentration of our stores - could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, heavy snowfall or other extreme weather conditions over a prolonged period, caused by climate change or otherwise, might make it difficult for our customers or employees to travel to our stores. In addition, natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, and other extreme weather or climate conditions, or a combination of these or other factors, could severely damage or destroy one or more of our stores or distribution facilities located in the affected areas, or disrupt our computer systems, thereby disrupting our business operations. Any of these events or circumstances also could disrupt the operations of one or more of our vendors. Day-to-day operations, particularly our ability to receive products from our vendors or transport products to our stores, could be adversely affected, or we could be required to close stores.

Our business is also susceptible to unseasonable weather conditions. For example, extended periods of unseasonably warm temperatures during the Fall or Winter seasons or cool weather during the Spring or Summer seasons could render a portion of our inventory incompatible with those unseasonable conditions, particularly in light of our historical product mix. These prolonged unseasonable weather conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, because higher net sales historically have occurred during the second half of the year, unseasonably warm weather during these months could have a disproportionately large effect on our business and materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Public health crises, epidemics or pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic have had, and could in the future have, a negative impact on the Company’s business and operations.

Public health crises, epidemics or pandemics have had, and could in the future have, a negative impact on our business and operations, including Company sales and cash flow. Such public health crises, epidemics and pandemics have the potential to create significant volatility, uncertainty and worldwide economic disruption, resulting in an economic slowdown of potentially extended duration, as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Such public health crises, epidemics and pandemics, could adversely affect our business and financial results, they may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described throughout this Annual Report.

 

Strategic Risks

We may not be able to sustain our growth plans or successfully implement our long-range strategic goals.

Our growth largely depends on our ability to successfully open and operate new stores, as well as to expand our distribution capabilities in order to support that growth. While we have identified numerous market opportunities that we believe will allow us to operate 2,000 stores over the long term, the success of these strategies is dependent upon, among other things, the current retail environment, the identification of suitable markets and the availability of real estate that meets our criteria for traffic, square footage, co-tenancies, lease economics, demographics and other factors, the negotiation of acceptable lease terms, construction costs, the availability of financing, the hiring, training and retention of competent sales personnel, and the effective management of inventory to meet the needs of new and existing stores on a timely basis.

Notably, as we continue to evolve our off-price model, we plan on more effectively chasing the sales trend, making greater investments in our merchandising capabilities, operating with leaner inventories, improving operational flexibility, and challenging expenses, among other strategic initiatives. Executing these initiatives while also maintaining the current pace of our expansion may place increased demands on our operational, managerial and administrative resources. These initiatives may require us to increase the number of merchants and other associates we employ, modify how we manage our liquidity and inventory, as well as to monitor and upgrade our management information and other systems and our distribution infrastructure.

We may not be able to successfully execute our growth and other strategies on a timely basis or at all. If we fail to implement these strategies successfully, if we cannot keep up with the pace required for execution, or if these strategies do not yield the desired outcomes, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.

Failure to execute our opportunistic buying and inventory management process could adversely affect our business.

We purchase the majority of our inventory opportunistically, with our buyers purchasing close to need. Establishing the “treasure hunt” nature of the off-price buying experience to drive traffic to our stores requires us to offer changing assortments of merchandise in our stores. While opportunistic purchasing provides our buyers the ability to buy at desirable times and prices, in the

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quantities we need and into market trends, it places considerable discretion with our buyers, which subjects us to risks related to the pricing, quantity, nature and timing of inventory flowing to our stores. If we are unable to provide frequent replenishment of fresh, high quality, attractively priced merchandise in our stores, it could adversely affect traffic to our stores as well as our sales and margins. We base our purchases of inventory, in part, on our sales forecasts. If our sales forecasts do not match customer demand, we may experience higher inventory levels and need to mark down excess or slow-moving inventory, leading to decreased profit margins, or we may have insufficient inventory to meet customer demand, leading to lost sales, either of which could adversely affect our financial performance. We need to purchase inventory sufficiently below conventional retail to maintain our pricing differential to regular department and specialty store prices, and to attract customers and sustain our margins, which we may not achieve at various times and which could adversely affect our results.

In order to better serve our customers and maximize sales, we must properly execute our inventory management strategies by appropriately allocating merchandise among our stores, timely and efficiently distributing inventory to such locations, maintaining an appropriate mix and level of inventory in such locations, appropriately changing the allocation of floor space of stores among product categories to respond to customer demand, and effectively managing pricing and markdowns, and there is no assurance we will be able to do so. In addition, as we execute inventory localization initiatives, there could be disruptions in inventory flow and placement. Failure to effectively execute our opportunistic inventory buying and inventory management strategies could adversely affect our performance and our reputation.

In addition to our own execution, we may need to react to factors affecting inventory flow that are outside our control, such as adverse weather, natural disasters, epidemics or pandemics or other changes in conditions affecting our vendors and others in our supply chain, such as political instability, labor issues (including strikes or threats of strikes and scarcity of labor) and increased labor costs, reduced freight capacity and other transportation issues, or increasing cost of regulations. If we are not able to adjust appropriately to such factors, our inventory management may be affected, which could impact our performance and our reputation.

Operational Risks

If we cannot optimize our existing stores or maintain favorable lease terms, our growth strategy and profitability could be negatively impacted.

We lease substantially all of our store locations. Most of our current leases expire at various dates after ten-year terms, the majority of which are subject to our option to renew such leases for several additional five-year periods. While we have the right to terminate some of our leases under specified conditions, including by making specified payments, we may not be able to terminate a particular lease if or when we would like to close a particular store. If we decide to close stores, we are generally required to continue to perform obligations under the applicable leases, which generally include, among other things, paying rent and operating expenses for the balance of the lease term, or paying to exercise rights to terminate, and performing any of these obligations may be expensive. When we assign leases or sublease space to third parties, we may remain liable on the lease obligations, which could lead to significant expense if the assignee or sublessee does not perform. In addition, when the lease terms for the stores in our ongoing operations expire, our ability to renew such expiring leases on commercially acceptable terms or, if such leases cannot be renewed, our ability to lease a suitable alternative location, and our ability to enter into leases for new stores on favorable terms will each depend on many factors, some of which may not be within our control, such as conditions in the local real estate market, competition for desirable properties and our relationships with current and prospective lessors. As we renew and replace our store leases, we also strive to optimize the size of our existing stores to ensure maximum space utilization, which frequently means adjusting operations to accommodate smaller space through alternative floor plans and inventory turn optimization.

In addition, to the extent that our new store openings are in existing markets, we may experience reduced net sales volumes in existing stores in those markets. If we experience a decline in performance or lease payment allowances from our lessors become unavailable, we may slow or discontinue store openings, relocations, refreshes and/or remodels.

If any of the foregoing occurs, our growth and profitability may be negatively impacted.

If we are unable to purchase attractive brand name merchandise in sufficient quantities at competitive prices, we may be unable to offer an appealing merchandise mix and our sales may be harmed.

Our ability to purchase merchandise opportunistically from third party vendors depends upon the continuous, sufficient availability of high-quality merchandise that we can acquire at prices sufficiently below those paid by conventional retailers in order to achieve the value proposition we strive to provide to our customers. Some of our key vendors may limit the number of retail channels they use to sell their merchandise, which may result in intense competition among retailers to obtain and sell these goods. Moreover, we typically buy products from our vendors on a purchase order basis. We have no long-term purchase contracts with any of our vendors and, therefore, have no contractual assurances of continued supply, pricing or access to products, and any vendor could change the terms upon which they sell to us or discontinue selling to us at any time. Finally, if our vendors are better able to manage their inventory levels and reduce the amount of their excess inventory, the amount of high-quality merchandise available to us could be materially reduced.

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If our relationships with our vendors are disrupted, we may not be able to acquire the merchandise we require in sufficient quantities or on terms acceptable to us. Any inability to acquire high quality merchandise would have a negative effect on our business and operating results because we would be missing products from our merchandise mix unless and until alternative supply arrangements were made, resulting in deferred or lost sales. In addition, events that adversely affect our vendors could impair our ability to obtain desired merchandise in sufficient quantities. Such events include difficulties or problems associated with our vendors’ businesses, finances, labor, importation of products, costs, production, insurance and reputation.

Our failure to attract, train and retain quality employees and temporary personnel in sufficient numbers could adversely affect our business.

Our performance depends on recruiting, developing, training and retaining quality store, distribution center and other employees in large numbers as well as experienced buying and management personnel, and we invest significant resources in training and motivating them to maintain a high level of job satisfaction. Many of our store and distribution center employees are in entry level or part-time positions with historically high rates of turnover, which can lead to increased training and retention costs, particularly if employment opportunities increase. Availability and skill of employees may differ across markets in which we do business and in new markets we enter, and we need to manage our labor needs effectively.

In addition, because of the distinctive nature of our off-price model, we must provide significant internal training and development for key employees across the company, including within our buying organization. Similar to other retailers, we face challenges in securing and retaining sufficient talent in management and other key areas for many reasons, including competition in the retail industry generally and for talent in various geographic markets. If we do not continue to attract qualified individuals, train them in our business model, support their development and retain them, our performance could be adversely affected or our growth could be limited.

We are also dependent upon temporary personnel to adequately staff our distribution facilities, with heightened dependence during busy periods such as the holiday season. Although we strive to secure long-term contracts on favorable terms with our service providers and other vendors, we may not be able to avoid unexpected operating cost increases in the future, such as those associated with minimum wage increases or enhanced health care requirements. In addition, there can be no assurance that we will receive adequate assistance from our temporary personnel, or that there will be sufficient sources of suitable temporary personnel to meet our demand. Any such failure to meet our staffing needs or any material increases in associate turnover rates could have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations. Further, any negative publicity regarding the agencies from which we source temporary personnel, such as in connection with immigration issues or employment practices, could damage our reputation, disrupt our ability to obtain needed labor or result in financial harm to our business.

Labor costs, including healthcare costs, and other challenges from our large workforce may adversely affect our results and profitability.

We have a large workforce, and our ability to meet our labor needs while controlling costs, including costs of providing health, retirement and other associate benefits, is subject to various factors such as unemployment levels; prevailing wage rates and minimum wage requirements; participant benefit levels; economic conditions; interest rate changes; health and other insurance costs; and the regulatory environment, including health care legislation, and with respect to governmental labor and employment and associate benefits programs and requirements. When wage rates or benefit levels increase in the market or the unemployment rate is otherwise low, increasing our wages or benefits to compete for employees may cause our earnings to decrease, while failing to increase our wages or benefits competitively or reducing our wages or benefits could result in a decline in our ability to attract or retain employees or in the quality of our workforce, causing our customer service or performance to suffer, which could negatively impact our results.

Parties with whom we do business may be subject to insolvency risks or may otherwise become unable or unwilling to perform their obligations to us.

We are party to contracts, transactions and business relationships with various third parties, including vendors, suppliers, service providers and lenders, pursuant to which such third parties have performance, payment and other obligations to us. In some cases, we depend upon such third parties to provide essential leaseholds, products, services or other benefits, including with respect to store and distribution center locations, merchandise, advertising, software development and support, logistics, other agreements for goods and services in order to operate our business in the ordinary course, extensions of credit, hedging instruments and other vital matters. Economic, industry and market conditions could result in increased risks to us associated with the potential financial distress of such third parties.

If any of the third parties with which we do business become subject to bankruptcy, receivership or similar insolvency proceedings, our rights and benefits in relation to our contracts, transactions and business relationships with such third parties could be terminated, modified in a manner adverse to us, or otherwise impaired. We cannot make any assurances that we would be able to arrange for alternate or replacement contracts, transactions or business relationships on terms as favorable as our existing contracts,

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transactions or business relationships, if at all. Any inability on our part to do so could negatively affect our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.

Many of our vendors produce merchandise overseas, and our business is exposed to the risk of foreign and domestic operations and international tax policies and trade relations.

We do not own or operate any manufacturing facilities. As a result, we are dependent upon the timely receipt of quality merchandise from vendors, many of which produce merchandise overseas. Factors which affect overseas production could affect our vendors and, in turn, our ability to obtain inventory and the price levels at which they may be obtained. Factors that cause an increase in merchandise costs or a decrease in supply could lead to generally lower sales and gross margins in the retail industry.

Such factors include:

political or labor instability in countries where vendors are located or at foreign ports which could result in lengthy shipment delays, which, particularly if timed ahead of the Fall and Winter peak selling periods, could materially and adversely affect our ability to stock inventory on a timely basis;
disruptions in the operations of domestic ports through which we import our merchandise, including labor disputes involving work slowdowns, lockouts or strikes, which could require us and/or our vendors to ship merchandise to alternative ports in the United States or through the use of more expensive means, and shipping to alternative ports in the United States could result in increased lead times and transportation costs; disruptions at ports through which we import our goods could also result in unanticipated inventory shortages;
political or military conflict, which could cause a delay in the transportation of our products to us and an increase in transportation costs;
heightened terrorism security concerns, which could subject imported goods to additional, more frequent or more thorough inspections, leading to delays in deliveries or impoundment of goods for extended periods;
disease epidemics, pandemics, outbreaks and other health-related concerns, which could result in closed factories, reduced workforces, scarcity of raw materials and scrutiny or embargoing of goods produced in affected areas;
natural disasters and industrial accidents, which could have the effect of curtailing production and disrupting supplies;
increases in labor and production costs in goods-producing countries, which would result in an increase in our inventory costs;
the migration and development of manufacturers, which can affect where our products are or will be produced;
fluctuation in our vendors’ local currency against the dollar, which may increase our cost of goods sold; and
changes in import duties, taxes, charges, quotas, loss of “most favored nation” trading status with the United States for a particular foreign country and trade restrictions (including the United States imposing antidumping or countervailing duty orders, safeguards, remedies or compensation and retaliation due to illegal foreign trade practices).

Any of the foregoing factors, or a combination thereof, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Over the past few years, uncertainty has increased with respect to tax and trade policies, tariffs and government regulations affecting trade between the U.S. and other countries. Although we source the majority of our merchandise from third party vendors located in the U.S., the production of that merchandise occurs primarily overseas. As a result, we continue to evaluate the impact of currently effective tariffs, as well as any additional proposed tariffs, on our supply chain, costs, sales and profitability. We can provide no assurance that any strategies we implement to mitigate the impact of such tariffs or other trade actions will be successful.

In addition, other major developments in tax policy or trade relations, such as the disallowance of tax deductions for imported merchandise or the imposition of additional unilateral tariffs on imported products, could increase the cost of products purchased from suppliers in such countries or restrict the importation of products from such countries, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and liquidity.

Any disruption to our distribution network could cause disruptions in our business, a loss of sales and profits, increases in our expenses, and other material adverse effects.

Most of the merchandise we purchase is shipped directly to our distribution centers, where it is prepared for shipment to the appropriate stores. The success of our stores depends in part on their timely receipt of merchandise, and a strong, efficient and flexible distribution network is critical to our ability to grow and to maintain a low-cost operating structure. A disruption within our distribution network, including the shutdown of or loss of significant capacity by one or more of our current primary distribution centers could adversely affect our ability to deliver inventory in a timely manner and significantly disrupt our business. In addition,

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any failure to continue to add capacity to our existing distribution centers and build out planned additional distribution centers timely and cost effectively could adversely affect our business.

In addition to the distribution centers that we operate, we have arrangements with third parties for the use of pool point facilities, which we believe streamline and optimize our distribution network. If complications arise with a pool point facility or its operator, or if any such facility is severely damaged or destroyed, it may cause delays in the delivery of our merchandise to our stores. We also may be affected by disruptions in the global transportation network such as port strikes, weather conditions, work stoppages or other labor unrest, which may also adversely affect our ability to deliver inventory on a timely basis. We also depend upon third-party carriers for shipment of merchandise; any interruption in service by these carriers for any reason could cause disruptions in our business, a loss of sales and profits, and other material adverse effects.

If we are unable to protect our information systems against service interruption, misappropriation of data, breaches of security, or other cyber-related attacks, our operations could be disrupted, we may suffer financial losses and our reputation may be damaged.

We rely extensively on various information systems, including data centers, hardware, software and applications to manage many aspects of our business, including to process and record transactions in our stores, to enable effective communication systems, to plan and track inventory flow, to manage logistics and to generate performance and financial reports. In addition, some aspects of our business, like that of most retailers, involve the receipt, storage and transmission of customers’ personal information and consumer preferences, as well as confidential information about our employees, our vendors and our Company, some of which is entrusted to third-party service providers and vendors. We are dependent on the integrity, security and consistent operations of these systems and related back-up systems, software, tools (including encryption technology) and monitoring to provide security and oversight for processing, transmission, storage and the protection of such confidential information.

Like most major corporations, we, our customers and our third-party services providers face an evolving, increasing threat landscape in which cybercriminals, among others, employ a complex array of techniques designed to access personal and other information, including, for example, the use of fraudulent or stolen access credentials, malware, ransomware, phishing, denial of service and other types of attacks. Hardware, software or applications we develop or obtain from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture or other problems that are not presently known and could unexpectedly compromise information security. In addition, our employees, contractors or third parties with which we do business or to which we outsource business operations may attempt to circumvent our security measures in order to misappropriate such information, and may purposefully or inadvertently cause a breach involving such information or become subject to various other cyber-crimes. Further, our computer systems and the third-party systems of our vendors are also subject to damage or interruption from a number of non-criminal causes, including power outages; computer and telecommunications failures; computer viruses; and design or usage errors by our employees or contractors. Moreover, the rapid evolution and increased adoption of artificial intelligence technologies may intensify our cybersecurity risks.

If we or third parties with which we do business were to fall victim to successful cyber-attacks or experience other material cybersecurity incidents, including the loss of individually identifiable customer or other sensitive data, we may incur substantial costs and suffer other negative consequences, which may include:

remediation costs, such as liability for stolen assets or information, repairs of system damage or replacement of systems, and incentives to customers or business partners in an effort to maintain relationships after an attack;
increased cybersecurity protection costs, which may include the cost of continuing to make organizational changes, deploy additional personnel and protection technologies, train employees, and engage third party consultants;
lost revenues resulting from the unauthorized use of proprietary information or the failure to retain or attract customers following an attack;
litigation and legal risks, including regulatory actions by state and federal governmental authorities;
increased cybersecurity and other insurance premiums;
reputational damage that adversely affects customer or investor confidence; and
damage to our competitiveness, stock price, and long-term stockholder value.

We employ various security measures and technologies to actively monitor, prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks. Despite advances in security hardware, software, and encryption technologies, the methods and tools used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems are constantly changing and evolving, and may be difficult to anticipate or detect, and there is no guarantee that the proactive measures we put in place will be adequate to safeguard against all data security breaches or misuses of data. As many of our non-store associates continue to work remotely, we face an increased risk due to the potential interruptions to internal or external information technology infrastructure as well as ongoing threats and attempts to breach our security networks. The Company carries information security risk insurance that is designed to mitigate against certain potential losses

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arising from a cybersecurity incident. However, there is no guarantee that this insurance coverage will be sufficient to cover all possible claims and we could suffer losses that could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Although we endeavor to protect consumer identity and payment information through the implementation and modification of security technologies, processes and procedures, including training programs for employees to raise awareness about phishing, malware and other cyber risks, we could experience increased costs associated with maintaining these protections as threats of cyber-attacks increase in sophistication and complexity. In addition, there are inherent risks associated with modifying or replacing systems, and with new or changed relationships, including accurately capturing and maintaining data, realizing the expected benefit of the change and managing the potential disruption of the operation of the systems as the changes are implemented. Potential issues associated with implementing technology initiatives and the time and resources required to optimize the benefits of new elements of our systems and infrastructure could reduce the efficiency of our operations in the short term.

We are subject to payment-related risks that could increase our operating costs, expose us to fraud or theft, subject us to potential liability and potentially disrupt our business.

We accept payments using a variety of methods, including cash, checks, credit and debit cards, and gift cards, and we may offer new payment options over time. Acceptance of these payment methods subjects us to rules, regulations, contractual obligations and compliance requirements, including payment network rules and operating guidelines, data security standards and certification requirements, and rules governing electronic funds transfers. These requirements may change over time or be reinterpreted, making compliance more difficult or costly.

For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which may increase over time and raise our operating costs. We rely on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. If these companies become unable to provide these services to us, or if their systems are compromised, it could potentially disrupt our business. The payment methods that we offer also subject us to potential fraud and theft by criminals, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated, seeking to obtain unauthorized access to or exploit weaknesses that may exist in the payment systems. If we fail to comply with applicable rules or requirements for the payment methods we accept, or if payment-related data is compromised due to a breach or misuse of data, we may be liable for costs incurred by payment card issuing banks and other third parties or subject to fines and higher transaction fees, or our ability to accept or facilitate certain types of payments may be impaired. In addition, our customers could lose confidence in certain payment types, which may result in a shift to other payment types or potential changes to our payment systems that may result in higher costs. As a result, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.

Our future growth and profitability could be adversely affected if our advertising and marketing programs are not effective in generating sufficient levels of customer awareness and traffic.

We rely on advertising to increase consumer awareness of our product offerings and pricing to drive traffic to our stores. In addition, we rely and will increasingly rely on other forms of media advertising, including digital, social media and e-marketing. Our future growth and profitability will depend in part upon the effectiveness and efficiency of our advertising and marketing programs. Our advertising and marketing programs may not be successful if we do not:

manage advertising and marketing costs effectively in order to maintain acceptable operating margins and return on our marketing investment; and
convert customer awareness into actual store visits and product purchases.

Our planned advertising and marketing expenditures may not result in increased total or comparable store sales or generate sufficient levels of product awareness. Further, we may not be able to manage our advertising and marketing expenditures on a cost-effective basis. Additionally, some of our competitors may have substantially larger marketing budgets, which may provide them with a competitive advantage over us.

Damage to our corporate reputation or brand could adversely affect our sales and operating results.

Building brand reputation is important to our continuing success. Our reputation is partially based on perceptions of various subjective qualities and overall integrity. Any incident that erodes the trust or confidence of our customers or the general public could adversely affect our reputation and business, particularly if the incident results in significant adverse publicity or governmental inquiry. Such an incident could also include alleged acts or omissions by or situations involving our vendors (or their contractors or subcontractors), the landlords for our stores, or our associates outside of work, and may pertain to social or political issues or protests largely unrelated to our business. In addition, information concerning us, whether or not true, may be instantly and easily posted on social media platforms and similar devices at any time, which information may be adverse to our reputation or business.

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The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. Damage to our reputation in any form could result in declines in customer loyalty and sales, affect our vendor relationships, development opportunities and associate retention, and otherwise adversely affect our business.

The loss of executives or other key personnel may disrupt our business and adversely affect our financial results.

We depend on the contributions of key personnel in various functions for our continued success. These executives and other key personnel may be hired by our competitors, some of which have considerably more financial resources than we do. The loss of key personnel, or the inability to hire, train, motivate and retain qualified employees, or changes to our organizational structure, operating results, or business model that adversely affect morale or retention, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Effective succession planning is also a key factor for our success. Our failure to enable the effective transfer of knowledge and facilitate smooth transitions with regard to key personnel could adversely affect our strategic planning and execution and negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we fail to enable the effective transfer of knowledge and facilitate smooth transitions for key personnel, the operating results and future growth for our business could be adversely affected, and the morale and productivity of the workforce could be disrupted.

Legal, Regulatory, Compliance and Tax Risks

Difficulty complying with existing and changing laws, rules, regulations and local codes could negatively affect our business operations and financial performance.

We are subject to federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in the operation of our business. In addition to complying with current laws, rules and regulations, we must also comply with new and changing laws and regulations, new regulatory initiatives, evolving interpretation of existing laws by judicial and regulatory authorities, and reforms in jurisdictions where we do business. Complying with local zoning codes, real estate land use restrictions, employment-related laws, and other local laws across numerous jurisdictions is particularly challenging as we grow the number of our stores in new municipalities and need to stay abreast of changes in such local laws. The increasing proliferation of local laws, some of which may be conflicting, further complicates our efforts to comply with all of the various laws, rules and regulations that apply to our business. We could also be negatively impacted by changes in government regulations in areas including taxes, healthcare and environmental protection.

All of the above legal, regulatory and administrative requirements may, individually or collectively, affect multiple aspects of our business, including those involving labor and employment benefits; health, welfare and finance; real estate management; consumer protection and product safety; climate change, supply chain, energy and waste; electronic communications, data protection and privacy; protection of third-party intellectual property rights; and income taxes. Changes to these laws and regulations could increase our costs of compliance or of doing business, and could adversely affect our operating results. In addition, we require our vendors to adhere to various conduct, compliance and other requirements, including those relating to employment and labor (including wages and working conditions), health and safety, and anti-bribery standards. Although we have implemented policies and procedures to facilitate compliance with laws and regulations, this does not guarantee that vendors and other third parties with whom we do business will not violate such laws and regulations or our policies. If we or other third parties with whom we do business fail to comply with these laws, rules and regulations, we may be subject to judgments, fines or other costs or penalties, which could materially adversely affect our business operations and financial performance.

The insurance we carry may not always pay, or be sufficient to pay or reimburse us, for our losses.

We are primarily self-insured and we purchase insurance only for catastrophic types of events for such risks as workers’ compensation, employment practices liability, employee health benefits, product and other general liability claims, among others. If we suffer a substantial loss that is not covered by commercial insurance or our self-insurance reserves, the loss and related expenses could harm our business and operating results.

Issues with safety and merchandise shrinkage could damage our sales and financial results.

Various governmental authorities in the jurisdictions where we do business regulate the safety of the merchandise we sell to consumers. Regulations and standards in this area, including those related to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, state regulations like California’s Proposition 65, and similar legislation, impose restrictions and requirements on the merchandise we sell in our stores. These regulations change from time to time as new federal, state or local regulations are enacted. If we or our merchandise vendors are unable to comply with regulatory requirements on a timely basis or at all, or to adequately monitor new regulations that may apply to existing or new merchandise categories, significant fines or penalties could be incurred or we could have to curtail some aspects of our sales or operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

We rely on our vendors to provide quality merchandise that complies with applicable product safety laws and other applicable laws, but they may not comply with their obligations to do so. Although our arrangements with our vendors frequently provide for

15


 

indemnification for product liabilities, the vendors may fail to honor those obligations to an extent we consider sufficient or at all. Issues with the safety of merchandise, and issues with the authenticity of merchandise, or customer concerns about such issues, regardless of our fault, could cause damage to our reputation and could result in lost sales, uninsured product liability claims or losses, merchandise recalls and increased costs, and regulatory, civil or criminal fines or penalties, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

An unfavorable, uncertain or volatile economic environment, as we have experienced recently as a result of inflation, rising interest rates and supply chain disruptions, among other things, has and may continue to cause an increase in inventory shrinkage. Risk of loss or theft of assets, including inventory shrinkage, is inherent in the retail business, and we experienced increased shrinkage, as well as increased loss prevention costs, in recent years. Loss or theft may be caused by error or misconduct of associates, customers, vendors, organized retail theft, or other third parties. Our inability to effectively prevent and/or minimize the loss or theft of assets, or to effectively reduce the impact of those losses, could adversely affect our financial performance. Additionally, acts of violence at, or threatened against, our stores, including active shooter situations, may, in addition to other operational impact, result in damage and restricted access to our stores and/or store closures for short or extended periods of time, all of which could materially adversely affect our financial performance.

Compliance with increasingly rigorous privacy and data security regulations could be costly, affect or limit our business opportunities and how we collect and/or use data, and potentially subject us to fines and lawsuits.

As described above, the protection of customer, employee, vendor and Company data is critical to our business. As the regulatory environment relating to retailers’ and other companies’ obligation to protect such sensitive data becomes increasingly rigorous, with new and evolving requirements applicable to our business, compliance with those requirements could result in additional costs and could have a significant impact on our current and planned privacy, data protection and information security-related practices, our collection, use, sharing, retention and safeguarding of customer and/or employee information, and some of our current or future business plans. A material failure on our part to comply could subject us to fines or other regulatory sanctions and potentially to lawsuits.

In recent years, there has been increasing regulatory enforcement and litigation activity in the areas of privacy, data protection and information security in various states in which we operate. Compliance with the evolving privacy regulatory landscape will likely increase the costs of doing business, especially if we face differing regulatory requirements across multiple jurisdictions and/or a lack of adequate regulatory guidance. New legislation or regulations, including any potential comprehensive federal privacy legislation, as well as any associated inquiries or investigations or any other government actions, could also result in negative publicity, require significant management time and attention, and subject us to remedies that may harm our business, including fines or demands or orders that we modify or cease existing business practices.

Legal and regulatory proceedings could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

We are subject to various legal and regulatory proceedings relating to our business, certain of which may involve jurisdictions with reputations for aggressive application of laws and procedures against corporate defendants. We are impacted by trends in litigation, such as representative claims under the California Private Attorneys’ General Act and class action litigation brought under various consumer protection, employment, and privacy and information security laws. Accruals are established based on our best estimates of our potential liability. However, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation. Regardless of the outcome or whether the claims are meritorious, legal and regulatory proceedings may require that we devote substantial time and expense to defend our Company. Unfavorable rulings could result in a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Use of social media by the Company or third parties at our direction in violation of applicable laws and regulations may adversely impact our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.

There has been a substantial increase in the use of social media platforms and other forms of internet-based communications, which allow individuals access to a broad audience of consumers and other interested persons. We have increasingly utilized social media in our marketing and employment recruiting efforts in order to reach as many current and potential new customers and potential employment candidates as efficiently and cost effectively as possible, and have also retained third parties, such as influencers, with expertise and distinction in the social media realm to bolster our social media efforts and our perceived affiliation with these individuals could cause us brand or reputational damage in the event they are perceived to be or take actions inconsistent with our brands and values. As laws and regulations rapidly evolve to govern the use of these platforms, the failure by us, our employees or third parties acting at our direction to abide by applicable laws and regulations in the use of these platforms could adversely impact our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.

 

16


 

Risk Related to Our Substantial Indebtedness and Corporate Structure

Our ability to generate sufficient cash depends on numerous factors beyond our control, and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt obligations.

As of February 3, 2024, our obligations include (i) $933.4 million, inclusive of original issue discount, under our $1,200.0 million senior secured term loan facility (Term Loan Facility) and (ii) $156.2 million under our 2.25% Convertible Notes due April 15, 2025 and $297.1 million under our 1.25% Convertible Notes due December 15, 2027 (collectively, our “Convertible Notes”). We had no outstanding balance on our $900.0 million asset-based lending facility (ABL Line of Credit) as of February 3, 2024. Our debt obligations also include $29.1 million of finance lease obligations as of February 3, 2024. Estimated cash required to make interest payments for these debt obligations, net of the impact of our interest rate swap, amounts to approximately $63.1 million in the aggregate for the fiscal year ending February 1, 2025.

Our ability to make payments on and to refinance our debt, and to fund planned capital expenditures, will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future, which is to some extent subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt and meet our other commitments, we will be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as refinancing all or a portion of our debt, selling material assets or operations or raising additional debt or equity capital. We may not be able to successfully carry out any of these actions on a timely basis, on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or be assured that these actions would be sufficient to meet our capital requirements. In addition, the terms of our existing or future debt agreements may restrict us from affecting any of these alternatives.

Our failure to comply with the agreements relating to our outstanding indebtedness, including as a result of events beyond our control, could result in an event of default that could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and our financial condition.

If an event of default under any of the agreements relating to our outstanding indebtedness occurred, the holders of the defaulted debt could cause all amounts outstanding with respect to that debt to be due and payable immediately. Our assets or cash flow may not be sufficient to fully repay borrowings under our outstanding debt instruments if accelerated upon an event of default, resulting in a need for an alternate source of funding. We cannot make any assurances that we would be able to obtain such an alternate source of funding on satisfactory terms, if at all, and our inability to do so could cause the holders of our securities to experience a partial or total loss of their investments in the Company. Further, if we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our secured indebtedness, the holders of such debt could proceed against the collateral securing that indebtedness through foreclosure proceedings and/or by forcing us into bankruptcy or liquidation. In addition, any event of default or acceleration under one debt instrument could also result in an event of default under one or more of our other debt instruments.

The conditional conversion feature of the Convertible Notes, if triggered, may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.

In the event the conditional conversion feature of our Convertible Notes is triggered, holders of the Convertible Notes will be entitled to convert their notes at any time during specified periods at their option. If one or more holders elect to convert their Convertible Notes, we would be required to settle the principal portion of our conversion obligation in cash, which could adversely affect our liquidity. In addition, even if holders of Convertible Notes do not elect to convert their notes, we could be required under applicable accounting rules to reclassify all or a portion of the outstanding principal of the Convertible Notes as a current rather than long-term liability, which would result in a material reduction of our net working capital.

Conversion of the Convertible Notes will dilute the ownership interest of existing stockholders, including holders who had previously converted their Convertible Notes, or may otherwise depress the price of our common stock.

The conversion of some or all of the Convertible Notes will dilute the ownership interests of existing stockholders, as we will deliver shares of our common stock with respect to any excess over principal upon conversion of any of the Convertible Notes. The Convertible Notes may from time to time in the future be convertible at the option of their holders prior to their scheduled terms under certain circumstances. Any sales in the public market of the common stock issuable upon such conversion could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common stock. In addition, the existence of the Convertible Notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of the Convertible Notes could be used to satisfy short positions, or anticipated conversion of the Convertible Notes into shares of our common stock could depress the price of our common stock.

We are a holding company and rely on dividends, distributions and other payments, advances and transfers of funds from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations.

We are a holding company that does not conduct any business operations of our own. As a result, we are largely dependent upon cash dividends and distributions and other transfers from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations. The deterioration of income from,

17


 

or other available assets of, our subsidiaries for any reason could limit or impair their ability to pay dividends or other distributions to us.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

Our stock price has been and may continue to be volatile.

The market price of our common stock has fluctuated substantially in the past and may continue to fluctuate significantly. For example, in Fiscal 2023, our stock price fluctuated from a high of $239.94 to a low of $115.66. Future announcements or disclosures concerning us or any of our competitors, our strategic initiatives, our sales and profitability, our financial condition, any quarterly variations in actual or anticipated operating results or comparable sales, any failure to meet analysts’ expectations and sales of large blocks of our common stock, among other factors, could cause the market price of our common stock to fluctuate substantially. In addition, the stock market has experienced price and volume fluctuations that have affected the market price of many retail and other stocks that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of these companies.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that stockholders might consider favorable.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make the acquisition of the Company more difficult without the approval of our Board of Directors. These provisions:

authorize the issuance of undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend, or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of common stock;
prohibit stockholder action by written consent, requiring all stockholder actions be taken at a meeting of our stockholders;
establish advance notice requirements for nominations for elections to our Board of Directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings;
establish a classified Board of Directors, as a result of which our Board of Directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving for staggered three-year terms, which prevents stockholders from electing an entirely new Board of Directors at an annual meeting;
limit the ability of stockholders to remove directors only for cause and only upon the affirmative vote of at least 75% of the outstanding shares of our common stock;
prohibit stockholders from calling special meetings of stockholders;
provide that the Board of Directors is expressly authorized to alter or repeal our amended and restated bylaws; and
require the approval of holders of at least 75% of the outstanding shares of our voting common stock to amend the amended and restated bylaws and certain provisions of the amended and restated certificate of incorporation.

These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions under Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of the Company, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for stockholders to elect directors they choose or to cause us to take other corporate actions they desire.

Our business could be impacted as a result of actions by activist stockholders or others.

From time to time, we may be subject to legal and business challenges in the operation of our Company due to stockholder proposals, media campaigns, proxy contests, and other such actions instituted by activist stockholders or others. Responding to such actions could be costly and time-consuming, disrupt our operations, may not align with our business strategies and could divert the attention of our Board of Directors and senior management from the pursuit of current business strategies. Perceived uncertainties as to our future direction as a result of stockholder activism or potential changes to the composition of the Board of Directors may lead to the perception of a change in the direction of the business or other instability, and may affect our stock price or may make it more difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel and business partners.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not Applicable.

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Item 1C. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity represents an important component of the Company’s overall cross-functional approach to risk management. Our cybersecurity practices are integrated into the Company’s enterprise risk management (“ERM”) approach, and cybersecurity risks are among the core enterprise risks identified for oversight by the Board through our annual ERM assessment. While the Board is ultimately responsible for risk oversight, the Audit Committee oversees the overall review of our policies and procedures with respect to risk assessment and risk management, and has oversight of information technology and security matters, which includes cybersecurity strategies and risks, as well as data privacy and data protection (“Information Security”). The Audit Committee oversees the management of risks from cybersecurity threats, including the policies, processes, and practices that the Company’s management implements to address risks from cybersecurity threats.

On a quarterly basis, our Chief Information Officer reports to the Audit Committee on our Information Security program, including presentations and reports on cybersecurity risks, which address a wide range of topics including, for example, recent developments, security initiatives, vulnerability assessments, the threat environment, technological trends, and information security considerations arising with respect to the Company’s peers and vendors; recent cybersecurity-related developments; strategic activities; and the execution of our cybersecurity awareness training. In turn, the chair of the Audit Committee reports out to the full Board on a quarterly basis regarding these matters, among other matters addressed by the Audit Committee.

Ongoing internal and external cybersecurity assessments are conducted, which include the evaluation of certain tools, procedures, and policies to measure the program’s overall maturity based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity (“NIST”) Framework and annual compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard to protect customer credit card data.

Our cybersecurity program includes:

Vigilance: The Company maintains a cybersecurity threat operation that endeavors to detect, contain and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents in a prompt and effective manner with the goal of minimizing disruptions to the business.
Partnerships: The Company has established partnerships with a number of third parties, including service providers, to identify and assess cybersecurity risks.
Systems Safeguards: The Company deploys technical safeguards that are designed to protect the Company’s information systems from cybersecurity threats, including firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection systems, anti-malware functionality, access controls and ongoing vulnerability assessments.
Third-Party Management: The Company maintains a risk-based approach to identifying and overseeing cybersecurity risks presented by third parties, such as vendors and service providers. The Company performs due diligence on third parties that have access to our systems, data or facilities that house such systems or data. Additionally, the Company generally requires those third parties that could introduce significant cybersecurity risk to us to agree by contract to manage their cybersecurity risks in specified ways.
Education: The Company provides periodic awareness training for personnel regarding cybersecurity best practices. Routine security bulletins are sent to personnel throughout the year to enhance awareness of responsibility regarding security risks and we conduct regular phishing exercises. “Security Awareness Month” activities also occur on an annual basis and include sessions with guest speakers, relevant communication, and additional educational opportunities related to security risks.
Incident Response Planning: The Company has established and maintains a written incident response plan that addresses the Company’s response to a cybersecurity incident, and such plan is tested periodically with tabletop exercises.
Communication and Coordination: The Company utilizes a cross-functional approach to address the risk from cybersecurity threats, involving senior management personnel from the technology, operations, legal, risk management, internal audit and other key business functions (the “cybersecurity team”), as well as members of the Company’s Board and the Audit Committee of the Board.
Insurance: The Company carries information security risk insurance that is designed to mitigate against certain potential losses arising from a cybersecurity incident.

 

A key part of the Company’s strategy for managing risks from cybersecurity threats is the ongoing assessment and testing of the Company’s processes and practices through assessments, tabletop exercises and other exercises focused on evaluating effectiveness, including regular network and endpoint monitoring, vulnerability scanning and penetration testing. The Company also engages third parties to perform assessments on our cybersecurity measures, including information security maturity assessments and independent reviews of our information security control environment and operating effectiveness. The results of such assessments and reviews are

19


 

reported to the Company’s Chief Information Officer and Audit Committee, and the Company considers adjustments to its cybersecurity processes and practices as appropriate based on the information provided by the third-party assessments and reviews.

The Company’s Chief Information Officer, who has many years of relevant experience, with support from the other members of the cybersecurity team, is the member of the Company’s management that is principally responsible for overseeing the Company’s cybersecurity risk management program. We believe our cybersecurity team has the appropriate expertise, background and depth of experience to manage risks arising from cybersecurity threats.

The Company’s Chief Information Officer, in coordination with the cybersecurity team, works to implement a program designed to protect the Company’s information systems from cybersecurity threats and to promptly respond to cybersecurity incidents. To facilitate the success of this program, the cybersecurity team addresses cybersecurity threats and responds to cybersecurity incidents in accordance with the Company’s written incident response plan. The Chief Information Officer and cybersecurity team regularly meet to monitor the prevention, detection, mitigation and remediation of cybersecurity incidents, and the Chief Information Officer consults with executive management, including the CEO, to report such incidents to the Audit Committee and the Board and initiate a response to incidents when appropriate.

To date, we have not identified any risks from cybersecurity threats, including as a result of any previous cybersecurity incidents, that have materially affected or are likely to materially affect the Company, including its business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition; however, as further discussed in Item 1A, Risk Factors, if we are unable to protect our information systems against service interruption, misappropriation of data, breaches of security, or other cyber-related attacks, our operations could be disrupted, we may suffer financial losses and our reputation may be damaged.

Item 2. Properties

We own the land and/or buildings for 26 of our stores and have leases for 981 of our stores. Our new stores are generally leased for an initial term of ten years, the majority of which are subject to our option to renew such leases for several additional five-year periods. Store leases generally provide for fixed monthly rental payments, plus the payment, in most cases, of real estate taxes and other charges with escalation clauses. In some locations, our store leases contain formulas providing for the payment of additional rent based on sales. Some of our stores are freestanding or located in regional power centers, strip shopping centers or in malls.

We own approximately 235 acres of land in Burlington and Florence, New Jersey on which we have constructed our corporate campus, which includes our corporate headquarters and the Burlington, New Jersey (Route 130 North) warehousing facility. We own approximately 43 acres of land in Edgewater Park, New Jersey on which we have constructed our Edgewater Park, New Jersey (Route 130 South) distribution center and an office facility. We lease approximately 103,000 square feet of office space in New York City (east coast buying office), and 50,000 square feet of office space in Los Angeles, California (west coast buying office).

As described in Item 1, Business, we currently operate multiple distribution centers and warehousing facilities.

 

In the course of business, the Company is party to class or collective actions alleging violations of federal and state wage and hour and other labor statutes, representative claims under the California Private Attorneys’ General Act and various other lawsuits and regulatory proceedings from time to time including, among others, commercial, product, employee, customer, intellectual property and other claims. Actions against us are in various procedural stages. Many of these proceedings raise factual and legal issues and are subject to uncertainties. Refer to Note 16, "Commitments and Contingencies," to our Consolidated Financial Statements for further detail.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

20


 

PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BURL.”

Holders

As of March 2, 2024, we had one holder of record of our common stock. This figure does not include the significantly greater number of beneficial holders of our common stock.

Dividends

We have not declared, and do not anticipate declaring in the near term, dividends on shares of our common stock. We currently do, and intend to continue to, retain all available funds and any future earnings to fund all of the Company's capital expenditures, business initiatives, and to support any potential opportunistic capital structure initiatives. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend upon results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, including those under agreements governing our existing indebtedness, or any potential future indebtedness we may incur, restrictions imposed by applicable law, capital requirements and other factors our Board of Directors deems relevant.

In addition, since we are a holding company, substantially all of the assets shown on our consolidated balance sheets are held by our subsidiaries. Accordingly, our earnings, cash flow and ability to pay dividends are largely dependent upon the earnings and cash flows of our subsidiaries and the distribution or other payment of such earnings to us in the form of dividends.

Stock Performance Graph

The performance graph below and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.

The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock from the closing prices as of the end of each fiscal year from February 2, 2019 through February 3, 2024, with the return on the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index and the Dow Jones United States Apparel Retailers Index over the same period. This graph assumes an initial investment of $100 and

21


 

assumes the reinvestment of dividends, if any. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.

https://cdn.kscope.io/7d0fae5544a49b6515bc07fbee14e18a-img211775621_1.jpg 

 

 

Base Period

 

 

Indexed Returns for Fiscal Years Ended

 

Company / Index

 

February 2,
2019

 

 

February 1,
2020

 

 

January 30,
2021

 

 

January 29,
2022

 

 

January 28,
2023

 

 

February 3,
2024

 

Burlington Stores, Inc.

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

126.53

 

 

$

144.82

 

 

$

133.99

 

 

$

131.72

 

 

$

114.46

 

S&P 500 Index

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

119.18

 

 

$

137.23

 

 

$

163.75

 

 

$

150.40

 

 

$

183.21

 

Dow Jones U.S. Apparel Retailers Index

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

110.85

 

 

$

117.75

 

 

$

127.23

 

 

$

138.11

 

 

$

156.55

 

 

22


 

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

The following table provides information regarding our purchases of common stock during the three fiscal months ended February 3, 2024:

Month

 

Total Number
of Shares
Purchased

 

 

Average Price
Paid Per
Share(1)

 

 

Total Number
of Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs(2)

 

 

Approximate
Dollar Value
of Shares
That May Yet
Be Purchased
Under the
Plans or
Programs
(in thousands)

 

October 29, 2023 through November 25, 2023

 

 

76,490

 

 

$

127.91

 

 

 

76,490

 

 

$

708,186

 

November 26, 2023 through December 30, 2023

 

 

468,668

 

 

$

173.04

 

 

 

468,668

 

 

$

627,085

 

December 31, 2023 through February 3, 2024

 

 

60,153

 

 

$

194.39

 

 

 

60,153

 

 

$

615,393

 

Total

 

 

605,311

 

 

 

 

 

 

605,311

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)
Includes commissions for the shares repurchased under our publicly announced share repurchase programs.
(2)
On February 16, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $500 million of common stock, which was authorized to be executed through February 2024. On August 15, 2023, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $500 million of common stock, which is authorized to be executed through August 2025. For a further discussion of our share repurchase program, see “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Share Repurchase Program.”

 

Item 6. Reserved

 

 

23


 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion summarizes the significant factors affecting our consolidated operating results, financial condition, liquidity and cash flows as of and for the periods presented below. The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements, including the notes thereto, appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report.

In addition to historical information, this discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions, such as our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions as further described under the caption above entitled “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” Our actual results or other events and the timing of events may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth in Item 1A, Risk Factors and elsewhere in this Annual Report.

General

We are a nationally recognized off-price retailer of high-quality, branded merchandise at everyday low prices. We opened our first store in Burlington, New Jersey in 1972, selling primarily coats and outerwear. Since then, we have expanded our store base to 1007 stores as of February 3, 2024 in 46 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. We have diversified our product categories by offering an extensive selection of in-season, fashion-focused merchandise at up to 60% off other retailers’ prices, including: women’s ready-to-wear apparel, menswear, youth apparel, baby, beauty, footwear, accessories, home, toys, gifts and coats. We sell a broad selection of desirable, first-quality, current-brand, labeled merchandise acquired directly from nationally-recognized manufacturers and other suppliers.

Executive Summary

 

Store Openings, Closings and Relocations

During Fiscal 2023, we opened 104 new stores, inclusive of 13 relocations, and closed 11 stores, exclusive of the aforementioned relocations, bringing our store count as of February 3, 2024 to 1007 stores. We continue to pursue our growth plans and invest in capital projects that meet our financial requirements. During the fiscal year ending February 1, 2025 (Fiscal 2024), we plan to open approximately 100 net new stores.

Fiscal Year Ended

Our fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31. We report fiscal years under a 52/53-week format and as a result, certain fiscal years will contain 53 weeks. The fiscal year ended February 3, 2024 (“Fiscal 2023”) included 53 weeks, while the fiscal years ended January 28, 2023 (“Fiscal 2022”) and January 29, 2022 (“Fiscal 2021”) each included 52 weeks. The fiscal year ending February 1, 2025 (“Fiscal 2024”) will have 52 weeks.

Ongoing Initiatives for Fiscal 2024

We continue to focus on a number of ongoing initiatives aimed at increasing our overall profitability. These initiatives include, but are not limited to:

Driving Comparable Store Sales Growth.

We strive to increase comparable store sales through the following initiatives:

More Effectively Chasing the Sales Trend. We plan sales using conservative comparable store sales growth, holding and controlling liquidity, closely analyzing the sales trend by business, and remaining ready to chase that trend. We believe that these actions will also allow us to take more advantage of great opportunistic buys.
Operating with Leaner Inventories. We are planning to carry less inventory in our stores going forward compared to historical levels, which we believe should result in the customer finding a higher mix of fresh receipts and great merchandise values. We believe that this should drive faster turns and lower markdowns, while simultaneously improving our customers’ shopping experience.
Investment in Merchandising Capabilities. We plan to continue investing in training and coaching, improved tools and reporting, incremental headcount, especially in growing or under-developed businesses, and other forms of

24


 

merchant support. We believe that these investments should improve our ability to strengthen vendor relationships, source great merchandise buys, more accurately assess value, and better forecast and chase the sales trend.
Enhancing Existing Categories and Introducing New Categories. We have opportunities to expand our offerings in certain existing categories, such as ladies’ apparel, beauty, and home merchandise, and maintain the flexibility to introduce new categories as we expand our merchandising capabilities.
Expanding and Enhancing Our Retail Store Base.

We intend to expand and enhance our retail store base through the following initiatives:

Adhering to a Market Focused and Financially Disciplined Real Estate Strategy. We have grown our store base consistently since our founding in 1972. We believe there is significant opportunity to expand our retail store base in the United States. As a result of our smaller store prototype, we have identified numerous market opportunities that we believe will allow us to operate 2,000 stores over the long term. Beginning in Fiscal 2024, we expect to average about 100 net new stores per year through Fiscal 2028, for a total of 500 net new stores over the five-year period.
Enhancing the Store Experience. We continue to invest in select store relocations and downsizes to improve the customer experience, taking into consideration the age, size, sales, and location of a store. Relocations provide an opportunity, upon lease expirations, to right-size our stores, improve our competitive positioning, incorporate our new prototype store designs and reduce occupancy costs. Downsizes provide an opportunity to right-size our stores, within our existing space, improve co-tenancy, incorporate our new store designs and reduce occupancy costs.
Enhancing Operating Margins.

We intend to increase our operating margins through the following initiatives:

Improving Operational Flexibility. Our store and supply chain teams must continue to respond to the sales chase, enhancing their ability at flexing up and down based on trends, and allowing us to maximize leverage on sales.
Optimizing Markdowns. We believe that our markdown system allows us to maximize sales and gross margin dollars based on forward-looking sales forecasts, sell-through targets and exit dates. Additionally, as we plan to carry less inventory in our stores compared to historical levels, we expect to drive faster turns, which should reduce the amount of markdowns taken compared to historical levels.
Optimizing the Supply Chain. We believe that our transportation initiatives will lead to lower freight costs compared to recent levels, and that our efficiency and labor productivity initiatives will result in lower supply chain costs over the next several years. We also believe there are longer-term supply chain opportunities through investments in automation.
Challenging Expenses to Drive Operating Leverage. We believe sales growth will drive fixed cost operating leverage. In addition, by more conservatively planning our comparable store sales growth, we are forcing even tighter expense control throughout all areas of our business. We believe that this should put us in a strong position to drive favorable operating leverage on any sales ahead of the plan. Additionally, we plan to continue challenging the processes and operating norms throughout the organization with the belief that this will lead to incremental efficiency improvements and savings.

Uncertainties and Challenges

As we strive to increase profitability, there are uncertainties and challenges that we face that could have a material impact on our revenues or income.

General Economic Conditions. There remains a high level of uncertainty in the current macroeconomic and geopolitical environments, and prolonged inflationary pressures continue to negatively impact the discretionary spending of the low-income shopper, our core customer. In addition to inflation, consumer spending habits, including spending for the merchandise that we sell, are affected by, among other things, prevailing global economic conditions, the costs of basic necessities and other goods, levels of employment, salaries and wage rates, prevailing interest rates, reductions in government benefits and lower tax refunds, housing costs, energy costs, commodities pricing, income tax rates and policies, consumer confidence and consumer perception of economic conditions. In addition, consumer purchasing patterns are generally influenced by consumers’ disposable income, credit availability and debt levels.

25


 

A broad, protracted slowdown or downturn in the U.S. economy, an extended period of high unemployment or inflation rates, an uncertain domestic or global economic outlook or a financial crisis could adversely affect consumer spending habits resulting in lower net sales and profits than expected on a quarterly or annual basis. Conversely, if inflation continues to decline next year, it could benefit our core customers who have been impacted by the higher cost of living since early 2022, and if economic growth slows, it could cause moderate and higher-income shoppers to become more value conscious. Both of these developments, if they occur, would be expected to improve our business. Consumer confidence is also affected by the domestic and international political situation. Our financial condition and operations could be impacted by changes in government regulations in areas including, but not limited to, taxes and healthcare. Ongoing international trade and tariff negotiations could have a direct impact on our income and an indirect impact on consumer prices. The outbreak or escalation of war, or the occurrence of terrorist acts or other hostilities in or affecting the U.S., or public health issues such as pandemics or epidemics, could lead to a decrease in spending by consumers. In addition, natural disasters, public health issues, industrial accidents and acts of war or conflicts in various parts of the world (such as the conflict in Ukraine or the Hamas-Israel war), could have the effect of disrupting supplies and raising prices globally which, in turn, may have adverse effects on the world and U.S. economies and lead to a downturn in consumer confidence and spending.

We closely monitor our net sales, gross margin and expenses. We have performed scenario planning such that if our net sales decline for an extended period of time, we have identified variable costs that could be reduced to partially mitigate the impact of these declines. If we were to experience adverse economic trends and/or if our efforts to counteract the impacts of these trends are not sufficiently effective, there could be a negative impact on our financial performance and position in future fiscal periods.

Seasonality of Sales and Weather Conditions. Our business, like that of most retailers, is subject to seasonal influences. In the second half of the year, which includes the back-to-school and holiday seasons, we generally realize a higher level of sales and net income.

Weather continues to be a contributing factor to the sale of our merchandise. Generally, our sales are higher if the weather is cold during the Fall and warm during the early Spring. Sales of cold weather clothing are generally increased by early cold weather during the Fall, while sales of warm weather clothing are generally increased by early warm weather conditions in the Spring. Although we have diversified our product offerings, we believe traffic to our stores is still driven, in part, by weather patterns.

Competition and Margin Pressure. We believe that in order to remain competitive with retailers, including off-price retailers and discount stores, we must continue to offer brand-name merchandise at a discount to prices offered by other retailers as well as an assortment of merchandise that is appealing to our customers.

The U.S. retail apparel and home furnishings markets are highly fragmented and competitive. We compete for business with department stores, off-price retailers, internet retailers, specialty stores, discount stores, wholesale clubs, and outlet stores as well as with certain traditional, full-price retail chains that have developed off-price concepts. At various times throughout the year, traditional full-price department store chains and specialty shops offer brand-name merchandise at substantial markdowns, which can result in prices approximating those offered by us at our Burlington Stores. We anticipate that competition will increase in the future. Therefore, we will continue to look for ways to differentiate our stores from those of our competitors.

The U.S. retail industry continues to face increased pressure on margins as overall challenging retail conditions have led consumers to be more value conscious. Additionally, lower-to-moderate income shoppers continue to face economic pressure due to higher cost of living. Our strategy to chase the sales trend allows us the flexibility to purchase less pre-season merchandise with the balance purchased in-season and opportunistically. It also provides us with the flexibility to shift purchases between suppliers and categories. We believe that this enables us to obtain better terms with our suppliers, which we expect will help offset any rising costs of goods.

While freight rates are now moderating compared to Fiscals 2022 and 2021, we have experienced inflationary pressure in our supply chain and with respect to raw materials and finished goods, as well as in occupancy and other operating costs. There can be no assurance that we will be able to offset inflationary pressure in the future by increasing prices or through other means, or that our business will not be negatively affected by continued inflation in the future.

Key Performance and Non-GAAP Measures

We consider numerous factors in assessing our performance. Key performance and non-GAAP measures used by management include net income, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBIT, comparable store sales, gross margin, inventory, store payroll and liquidity.

26


 

Net income. We earned net income of $339.6 million during Fiscal 2023 compared with $230.1 million during Fiscal 2022. This increase was primarily driven by higher sales and increased gross margin rate. Refer to the section below entitled “Results of Operations” for further explanation.

Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBIT: Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBIT are non-GAAP financial measures of our performance.

We define Adjusted Net Income as net income, exclusive of the following items, if applicable: (i) net favorable lease costs; (ii) loss on extinguishment of debt; (iii) costs related to debt amendments; (iv) impairment charges; (v) amounts related to certain litigation matters; and (vi) other unusual or non-recurring expenses, losses, charges or gains, all of which are tax effected to arrive at Adjusted Net Income.

We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income, exclusive of the following items, if applicable: (i) interest expense; (ii) interest income; (iii) loss on extinguishment of debt; (iv) costs related to debt amendments; (v) income tax expense; (vi) depreciation and amortization; (vii) net favorable lease costs; (viii) impairment charges; (ix) amounts related to certain litigation matters; and (x) other unusual or non-recurring expenses, losses, charges or gains

We define Adjusted EBIT as net income, exclusive of the following items, if applicable: (i) interest expense; (ii) interest income; (iii) loss on extinguishment of debt; (iv) costs related to debt amendments; (v) income tax expense; (vi) impairment charges; (vii) net favorable lease costs; (viii) amounts related to certain litigation matters; and (ix) other unusual or non-recurring expenses, losses, charges or gains.

We present Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBIT because we believe they are useful supplemental measures in evaluating the performance of our business and provide greater transparency into our results of operations. In particular, we believe that excluding certain items that may vary substantially in frequency and magnitude from what we consider to be our core operating results are useful supplemental measures that assist investors and management in evaluating our ability to generate earnings and leverage sales, and to more readily compare core operating results between past and future periods.

We believe that these non-GAAP measures provide investors helpful information with respect to our operations and financial condition. Other companies in the retail industry may calculate these non-GAAP measures differently such that our calculation may not be directly comparable.

Adjusted Net Income has limitations as an analytical tool, and should not be considered either in isolation or as a substitute for net income or other data prepared in accordance with GAAP. Among other limitations, Adjusted Net Income does not reflect the following items, net of their tax effect:

net favorable lease costs;
losses on extinguishment of debt;
costs related to debt amendments;
impairment charges on long-lived assets;
amounts charged for certain litigation matters; and
other unusual or non-recurring expenses, losses, charges or gains.

During Fiscal 2023, Adjusted Net Income improved $112.6 million to $393.4 million. This increase was primarily driven by higher sales and increased gross margin rate. Refer to the section below entitled “Results of Operations” for further explanation.

27


 

The following table shows our reconciliation of net income to Adjusted Net Income for Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021:

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

February 3,

 

 

January 28,

 

 

January 29,

 

 

 

2024

 

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

 

 

(53 Weeks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reconciliation of net income to Adjusted Net Income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

339,649

 

 

$

230,123

 

 

$

408,839

 

Net favorable lease costs (a)

 

 

15,263

 

 

 

18,591

 

 

 

21,914

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt (b)

 

 

38,274

 

 

 

14,657

 

 

 

156,020

 

Costs related to debt amendments (c)

 

 

97

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,419

 

Impairment charges - long-lived assets

 

 

6,367

 

 

 

21,402

 

 

 

7,748

 

Litigation matters (d)

 

 

1,500

 

 

 

10,500

 

 

 

 

Tax effect (e)

 

 

(7,770

)

 

 

(14,503

)

 

 

(24,741

)

Adjusted Net Income

 

$

393,380

 

 

$

280,770

 

 

$

573,199

 

 

 

(a)
Net favorable lease costs represent the non-cash expense associated with favorable and unfavorable leases that were recorded as a result of purchase accounting related to the April 13, 2006 Bain Capital acquisition of Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation (the Merger Transaction). These expenses are recorded in the line item “Selling, general and administrative expenses” in our Consolidated Statements of Income.
(b)
Amounts relate to the partial repurchases of the 2.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2025 (2025 Convertible Notes) in Fiscal 2023 and Fiscal 2022, the exchange of a portion of the 2025 Convertible Notes in Fiscal 2023, and the redemption of the Secured Notes in Fiscal 2021.
(c)
Fiscal 2023 amount relates to the Term Loan Credit Agreement amendment in the second quarter of Fiscal 2023 changing one of the reference rates under the Term Loan Credit Agreement from the Adjusted LIBOR Rate to the Adjusted Term SOFR Rate. Fiscal 2021 amount represents costs incurred in connection with the review and execution of refinancing opportunities.
(d)
Represents amounts charged for certain litigation matters.
(e)
Tax effect is calculated based on the effective tax rates (before discrete items) for the respective periods, adjusted for the tax effect for the impact of items (a) through (d).

Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools, and should not be considered either in isolation or as a substitute for net income or other data prepared in accordance with GAAP. Among other limitations, Adjusted EBIT does not reflect:

net interest expense;
net favorable lease costs;
losses on the extinguishment of debt;
costs related to debt issuances and amendments;
amounts charged for certain litigation matters;
impairment charges on long-lived assets;
income tax expense; and
other unusual or non-recurring expenses, losses, charges or gains.

Adjusted EBITDA is further adjusted for cash requirements for replacement of assets. Although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will likely have to be replaced in the future

During Fiscal 2023, Adjusted EBIT improved $150.7 million to $581.0 million. During Fiscal 2023, Adjusted EBITDA improved $187.4 million to $888.1 million. These increases were primarily driven by higher sales and increased gross margin rate. Refer to the section below entitled “Results of Operations” for further explanation.

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The following table shows our reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBITDA for Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021:

 

 

(unaudited)

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

February 3,

 

 

January 28,

 

 

January 29,

 

 

 

2024

 

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

 

 

(53 Weeks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBITDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

339,649

 

 

$

230,123

 

 

$

408,839

 

Interest expense

 

 

78,399

 

 

 

66,474

 

 

 

67,502

 

Interest income

 

 

(24,633

)

 

 

(8,799

)

 

 

(189

)

Net favorable lease costs (a)

 

 

15,263

 

 

 

18,591

 

 

 

21,914

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt (b)

 

 

38,274

 

 

 

14,657

 

 

 

156,020

 

Costs related to debt amendments (c)

 

 

97

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,419

 

Impairment charges - long-lived assets

 

 

6,367

 

 

 

21,402

 

 

 

7,748

 

Litigation matters (d)

 

 

1,500

 

 

 

10,500

 

 

 

 

Income tax expense

 

 

126,124

 

 

 

77,386

 

 

 

136,459

 

Adjusted EBIT

 

 

581,040

 

 

 

430,334

 

 

 

801,712

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

307,064

 

 

 

270,398

 

 

 

249,217

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

888,104

 

 

$

700,732

 

 

$

1,050,929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)
Net favorable lease costs represent the non-cash expense associated with favorable and unfavorable leases that were recorded as a result of purchase accounting related to the Merger Transaction. These expenses are recorded in the line item “Selling, general and administrative expenses” in our Consolidated Statements of Income.
(b)
Amounts relate to the partial repurchases of the 2025 Convertible Notes in Fiscal 2023 and Fiscal 2022, the exchange of a portion of the 2025 Convertible Notes in Fiscal 2023, and the redemption of the Secured Notes in Fiscal 2021.
(c)
Fiscal 2023 amount relates to the Term Loan Credit Agreement amendment in the second quarter of Fiscal 2023 changing one of the reference rates under the Term Loan Credit Agreement from the Adjusted LIBOR Rate to the Adjusted Term SOFR Rate. Fiscal 2021 amount represents costs incurred in connection with the review and execution of refinancing opportunities.
(d)
Represents amounts charged for certain litigation matters.

Comparable Store Sales. Comparable store sales measure performance of a store during the current reporting period against the performance of the same store in the corresponding period of a prior year. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Fiscal 2020, we are using Fiscal 2019 as the comparable previous year period when calculating comparable store sales for Fiscal 2021. The method of calculating comparable store sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, our definition of comparable store sales may differ from other retailers.

We define comparable store sales as merchandise sales of those stores commencing on the first day of the fiscal month one year after the end of their grand opening activities, which normally conclude within the first two months of operations. If a store is closed for seven or more days during a month, our policy is to remove that store from our calculation of comparable store sales for any such month, as well as during the month(s) of their grand re-opening activities. The table below depicts the change in our comparable store sales during Fiscal 2023, Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021, all of which are calculated on a 52-week basis.

Fiscal Year Ended

 

Change in Comparable Store Sales

February 3, 2024

 

4%

January 28, 2023

 

-13%

January 29, 2022

 

15%

 

Various factors affect comparable store sales, including, but not limited to, weather conditions, current economic conditions, the timing of our releases of new merchandise and promotional events, the general retail sales environment, consumer preferences and buying trends, changes in sales mix among distribution channels, competition, and the success of marketing programs.

Gross Margin. Gross margin is the difference between net sales and the cost of sales. Our cost of sales and gross margin may not be comparable to those of other entities, since some entities may include all of the costs related to their buying and distribution

29


 

functions, certain store-related costs and other costs, in cost of sales. We include certain of these costs in the line items “Selling, general and administrative expenses” and “Depreciation and amortization” in our Consolidated Statements of Income. We include in our “Cost of sales” line item all costs of merchandise (net of purchase discounts and certain vendor allowances), inbound freight, distribution center outbound freight and certain merchandise acquisition costs, primarily commissions and import fees. Gross margin as a percentage of net sales expanded to 42.5% during Fiscal 2023, compared with 40.4% during Fiscal 2022, driven primarily by higher merchandise margins and improved freight costs. Product sourcing costs, which are included in selling, general and administrative expenses, increased approximately 20 basis points as a percentage of net sales.

Inventory. Inventory at February 3, 2024 decreased to $1,087.8 million from $1,182.0 million at January 28, 2023. This decrease primarily relates to a decrease in reserve inventory and a decrease in comparable store inventory, partially offset by 80 net new stores since the end of Fiscal 2022.

Reserve inventory includes all inventory that is being stored for release either later in the season, or in a subsequent season. We intend to use our reserve merchandise to effectively chase sales trends.

In order to better serve our customers and maximize sales, we continue to refine our merchandising mix and inventory levels within our stores. By appropriately managing our inventories, we believe we will be better able to deliver a continual flow of fresh merchandise to our customers.

Store Payroll as a Percentage of Net Sales. Store payroll as a percentage of net sales measures our ability to manage our payroll in accordance with increases or decreases in net sales. The method of calculating store payroll varies across the retail industry. As a result, our store payroll as a percentage of net sales may differ from other retailers. We define store payroll as regular and overtime payroll for all store personnel as well as regional and territory personnel, exclusive of payroll charges related to corporate and warehouse employees. Store payroll as a percentage of net sales was 8.2% and 8.0% during Fiscal 2023 and Fiscal 2022, respectively.

Liquidity. Liquidity measures our ability to generate cash. Management measures liquidity through cash flow, which is the measure of cash generated from or used in operating, financing, and investing activities. Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash and cash equivalents, increased $46.2 million during Fiscal 2023, compared with a decrease of $218.5 million during Fiscal 2022. Refer to the section below entitled “Liquidity and Capital Resources” for further explanation.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth certain items in the Consolidated Statements of Income as a percentage of net sales for the periods indicated.

 

 

Percentage of Net Sales

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

February 3,

 

 

January 28,

 

 

January 29,

 

 

 

2024

 

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

Net sales

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Other revenue

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

0.2

 

Total revenue

 

 

100.2

 

 

 

100.2

 

 

 

100.2

 

Cost of sales

 

 

57.5

 

 

 

59.6

 

 

 

58.4

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

33.9

 

 

 

33.1

 

 

 

30.8

 

Costs related to debt amendments

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.0

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

3.2

 

 

 

3.1

 

 

 

2.7

 

Impairment charges - long-lived assets

 

 

0.1

 

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

0.1

 

Other income - net

 

 

(0.4

)

 

 

(0.3

)

 

 

(0.1

)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

1.7

 

Interest expense

 

 

0.8

 

 

 

0.8

 

 

 

0.7

 

Total costs and expenses

 

 

95.5

 

 

 

96.7

 

 

 

94.3

 

Income before income tax expense

 

 

4.7

 

 

 

3.5

 

 

 

5.9

 

Income tax expense

 

 

1.3

 

 

 

0.9

 

 

 

1.5

 

Net income

 

 

3.4

%

 

 

2.6

%

 

 

4.4

%

 

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Performance for Fiscal Year Ended February 3, 2024 (Fiscal 2023) Compared with Fiscal Year Ended January 28, 2023 (Fiscal 2022)

Net sales

Net sales improved $1,024.4 million, or 11.8%, to $9,709.0 million, primarily driven by 80 net new stores since the end of Fiscal 2022, an increase of 4% in comparable store sales during Fiscal 2023, and additional sales of $138.0 million from the 53rd week in Fiscal 2023.

Cost of sales

Cost of sales as a percentage of net sales decreased to 57.5% during Fiscal 2023, primarily driven by higher merchandise margins and improved freight costs. On a dollar basis, cost of sales increased $412.3 million, or 8.0%, primarily driven by our overall increase in sales.

Selling, general and administrative expenses

The following table details selling, general and administrative expenses for Fiscal 2023 compared with Fiscal 2022.

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

February 3, 2024

 

 

Percentage
of
Net Sales

 

 

January 28, 2023

 

 

Percentage
of
Net Sales

 

 

$ Variance

 

 

% Change

 

Store related costs

 

$

1,972.6

 

 

 

20.3

%

 

$

1,739.7

 

 

 

20.0

%

 

$

232.9

 

 

 

13.4

%

Product sourcing costs

 

 

780.3

 

 

 

8.0

 

 

 

677.8

 

 

 

7.8

 

 

 

102.5

 

 

 

15.1

 

Corporate costs

 

 

353.4

 

 

 

3.6

 

 

 

300.7

 

 

 

3.5

 

 

 

52.7

 

 

 

17.5

 

Marketing and strategy costs

 

 

53.7

 

 

 

0.6

 

 

 

47.0

 

 

 

0.5

 

 

 

6.7

 

 

 

14.3

 

Other selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

128.3

 

 

 

1.4

 

 

 

112.2

 

 

 

1.3

 

 

 

16.1

 

 

 

14.3

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

$

3,288.3

 

 

 

33.9

%

 

$

2,877.4

 

 

 

33.1

%

 

$

410.9

 

 

 

14.3

%

The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales was primarily driven by increased incentive compensation, store payroll, product sourcing costs, and a 20 basis point impact for costs related to acquiring store leases from Bed, Bath & Beyond (as described below). The dollar basis increase was primarily due to the same drivers listed above as well as costs incurred during the 53rd week of Fiscal 2023.

 

During Fiscal 2023, we acquired 64 store leases directly from Bed, Bath & Beyond. We started paying rent immediately upon acquisition for all of the stores. 32 of these stores were opened during Fiscal 2023, with the remaining planned to be open during the first half of Fiscal 2024. This transaction resulted in $18.4 million of selling, general and administrative expenses related to occupancy of unopened stores during Fiscal 2023.

Depreciation and amortization

Depreciation and amortization expense amounted to $307.1 million during Fiscal 2023, compared with $270.4 million during Fiscal 2022. The increase in depreciation and amortization expense was primarily driven by capital expenditures related to new and non-comparable stores, our supply chain investments, and costs incurred during the 53rd week of Fiscal 2023.

Impairment charges—long-lived assets

Impairment charges related to long-lived assets were $6.4 million and $21.4 million during Fiscal 2023 and Fiscal 2022, respectively, related to unrecoverable fixed assets at eleven underperforming stores and unrecoverable lease assets at three of those stores during Fiscal 2023, compared to four stores sold below carrying value as well as impairment of store-level assets and lease assets at twelve stores during Fiscal 2022.

The recoverability assessment related to these store-level assets requires various judgments and estimates, including estimates related to future revenues, gross margin rates, store expenses and other assumptions. We base these estimates upon our past and expected future performance. We believe our estimates are appropriate in light of current market conditions. However, future

31


 

impairment charges could be required if we do not achieve our current revenue or cash flow projections for each store. Refer to Note 6, “Impairment Charges,” for further discussion.

Other income, net

Other income, net improved $14.0 million to $40.9 million during Fiscal 2023. The improvement in other income was primarily driven by increased interest income from higher interest rates, the sale of certain state tax credits, and income earned during the 53rd week of Fiscal 2023, partially offset by gains on real estate sales in Fiscal 2022 as well as insurance claims in Fiscal 2022.

 

Loss on Extinguishment of Debt

During Fiscal 2023, we entered into separate, privately negotiated exchange agreements with certain holders of the 2025 Convertible Notes, whereby the holders exchanged $241.2 million in aggregate principal amount of 2025 Convertible Notes held by them for $255.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 2027 Convertible Notes, as well as $110.3 million in aggregate principal amount of 2025 Convertible Notes held by them for $133.3 million in cash. These exchanges resulted in aggregate pre-tax debt extinguishment charges of $38.3 million. During Fiscal 2022, we entered into separate, privately negotiated exchange agreements with certain holders of the 2025 Convertible Notes, whereby the holders exchanged $64.6 million in aggregate principal amount of 2025 Convertible Notes held by them for $78.2 million in cash. These exchanges resulted in aggregate pre-tax debt extinguishment charges of $14.7 million. Refer to Note 7, “Long Term Debt,” for further discussion regarding our debt transactions.

Interest expense

Interest expense increased $11.9 million to $78.4 million. The increase was driven by a higher interest rate on the unhedged portion of the term loan, as well as costs incurred during the 53rd week, partially offset by a lower average balance of 2025 Convertible Notes and a lower interest rate on the 2027 Convertible Notes compared to the 2025 Convertible Notes that were extinguished.

Our average interest rates and average balances related to our variable rate debt for Fiscal 2023 compared with Fiscal 2022 are summarized in the table below:

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

 

February 3,

 

 

 

January 28,

 

 

 

 

2024

 

 

 

2023