LL Flooring Holdings, Inc., a specialty retailer of hard-surface flooring in North America, announced net sales decreased 1.6% to $279.0 million from the first quarter of 2021, which ended March 31, 2022. The company reported record sales to pro customers and a 4.1% increase in net services sales, which partially offset a decrease in sales to homeowners.Comparable store sales decreased 3.6% from the first quarter of 2021, but increased 3.3% on a two-year stack basis. The decrease in comparable store sales primarily reflected the same drivers as the change in net sales.
“Our first quarter financial results were in line with our expectations, with comparable store sales down 3.6%, marking a sequential improvement from the fourth quarter of 2021 and a 3.3% increase on a two-year stack basis," said President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Tyson. "We faced macroeconomic headwinds from inflation and a shift in consumer spending to travel and leisure this year compared to stimulus and nesting spending in the first quarter of 2021. In addition, much of the increase in our total inventories to $319 million remained in transit throughout the quarter. Finally, in January, we experienced significant store closures related to a COVID-19 variant. We reported operating margin of 1.8%, also in line with our expectations, as we continued to navigate gross margin headwinds as well as make increased investments in our long-term growth strategies.”
The company reported opening seven new stores during the first quarter of 2022. The new stores opened in Burlington, North Carolina; Framingham, Massachusetts; Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; Muncie, Indiana; Rapid City, South Dakota; St. Augustine, Florida, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The new locations bring LL Flooring’s national retail footprint to 431 stores.
The new stores feature a team of flooring experts to help guide retail customers and pros throughout their flooring journey. LL Flooring’s retail locations display a wide sampling of the Company’s 500-plus offerings presented through large sample boards, including waterproof vinyl plank, solid and engineered hardwood, laminate, porcelain tile, bamboo and cork. Each store is stocked with inventory available for immediate delivery. Customers can also view our quality on-trend flooring assortment and order free samples online at LLFlooring.com.
The new stores also include Design Centers, which provide video capability where store associates can collaborate with customers to find the best floor for any vision or project and envision how it will look using the Picture It floor visualizer. This online tool allows customers to upload a photo of any room and select from hundreds of LL floors to preview how floors will look in their space.