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TILE SHOP HOLDINGS, INC. FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
The Tile Shop, LLC (“The Tile Shop”) was founded in 1985 and Tile Shop Holdings, Inc. (“Holdings,” and together with its wholly owned subsidiaries, including The Tile Shop, the “Company” or “we”) was incorporated in Delaware in June 2012. We are a specialty retailer of natural stone and man-made tiles, setting and maintenance materials, and related accessories in the United States. Our assortment includes over 6,000 products from around the world. Natural stone products include marble, travertine, granite, quartz, sandstone, slate, and onyx tiles. Man-made products include ceramic, porcelain, glass, cement, wood look, and metal tiles. The majority of our tile products are sold under our proprietary Rush River and Fired Earth brand names. We purchase our tile products, accessories and tools directly from our global network of suppliers. We manufacture our own setting and maintenance materials, such as thinset, grout and sealer, under our Superior brand name, as well as work with other suppliers to manufacture private label products. As of December 31, 2020, we operated 142 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia, with an average size of approximately 20,000 square feet.
We believe that our long-term vendor relationships, together with our design, manufacturing and distribution capabilities, enable us to offer a broad assortment of high-quality products to our customers, who are primarily homeowners and professionals, at competitive prices. We have invested significant resources to develop our proprietary brands and product sources and believe that we are a leading retailer of natural stone and man-made tiles, setting and maintenance materials, and related accessories in the United States.
In 2020, we reported net sales and income from operations of $325.1 million and $6.4 million, respectively. During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on our sales and operating income. See further discussion surrounding the impact COVID-19 had on us in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. Our 2019 and 2018 net sales were $340.4 million and $357.3 million, respectively, and our 2019 and 2018 (loss)/income from operations was $(1.4) million and $18.1 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, we had total assets of $342.7 million and $399.8 million, respectively.
We believe that the following factors differentiate us from our competitors and position us to continue to grow our specialty retailer business.
Broad Product Assortment at Attractive Prices – We offer over 6,000 natural stone and man-made tile products, setting and maintenance materials, accessories, and tools. We are able to maintain competitive prices by purchasing tile and accessories directly from producers and manufacturing our own setting and maintenance materials.
Customer Service and Satisfaction – Our sales personnel are highly-trained and knowledgeable about the technical and design aspects of our products. In addition, we provide one-on-one installation training as required to meet customer needs. We accept returns up to three months following the date of the sale, with no restocking fees.
Inspiring Customer Experience – In each store, our products are brought to life by showcasing a broad array of the items we offer in up to 50 different vignettes of bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, foyers, and other distinct spaces. Our stores are spacious, well-lit, and organized by product type to simplify our customers’ shopping experience.
Global Sourcing Capabilities – We have long-standing relationships with our tile suppliers throughout the world and work with them to design products exclusively for us. We believe that these direct relationships differentiate us from our competitors.
Proprietary Branding – We sell the majority of our products under our proprietary brand names, which helps us to differentiate our products from those of our competitors. We offer products across a range of price points and quality levels, which allows us to target discrete market segments and to appeal to diverse groups of customers.
Centralized Distribution System – We service our store locations from five distribution centers. Our distribution centers, located in Michigan, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin, are located to cost effectively service our existing stores.
We are committed to carrying the best assortment, offering the best service, and showcasing the best presentation in our industry. These principles have always been core to our strategy and will continue to be as we move into 2021.
Key elements of our 2021 strategy include:
Focused Retail Execution – We continue to believe that our biggest opportunity for sales growth and EBITDA expansion is tied to our ability to improve productivity in each of our stores. We have defined critical success measures for each of our stores, tactics to drive improvement in each area of focus, and reporting processes to monitor progress. We are investing in our training initiatives to help accelerate the improvement in store productivity and develop our next generation of store leaders.
Enhance Online Customer Experience – We recognize that our customer’s path to purchase frequently starts online. Our website is designed to meet our customers’ needs by providing inspirational content, educational resources, and the option to buy online or to schedule a design consultation in our store. We believe that we have a number of opportunities to enhance our current website to achieve our goal of creating an integrated experience and delivering the best in class service online that we consistently deliver in our stores.
Supply Chain and Assortment Management – Over the last year, we have made significant progress reducing inventory levels. Toward the end of 2020, increased demand combined with production delays, due in part to the impact of COVID-19, have resulted in a number of product shortages. We are refining our approach to manage inventory levels and order activity to ensure we maintain adequate supply and appropriate inventory turnover. Additionally, refining an industry leading assortment is a foundational aspect of our strategy. Our assortment includes good, better, and best options for our customers within each of the product categories we carry in our stores and online. We continue to focus on maintaining an assortment that differentiates our brand.
We principally sell our products directly to homeowners and professionals. With regard to individual customers, we believe that due to the average cost and relative infrequency of a tile purchase, many of our individual customers conduct extensive research using multiple channels before making a purchase decision. Our sales strategy emphasizes customer service by providing comprehensive and convenient educational tools on our website and in our stores for our customers to learn about our products and the tile installation process. Our website contains a broad range of information regarding our tile products, setting and maintenance materials, and accessories. Customers can order samples, view catalogs, or purchase products from our stores. Customers can choose to have their purchases delivered or picked up at one of our stores. We believe this strategy also positions us well with professional customers who are influenced by the preferences of individual homeowners.
Our stores are designed to emphasize our products in a visually appealing showroom format. Our average store is approximately 20,000 square feet, with a majority of the square footage devoted to the showroom. Several thousand square feet is used for warehouse space, which is used primarily to hold customer orders waiting to be picked up or delivered. Our stores are typically accessible from major roadways and have significant visibility to passing traffic. We can adapt to a range of existing buildings, whether free-standing or in shopping centers. All of our stores are leased.
Unlike many of our competitors, we devote a substantial portion of our store space to showrooms, including samples of our products and up to 50 different vignettes of bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, foyers, and other distinct spaces that showcase our products. Our showrooms are designed to provide our customers with a better understanding of how to integrate various types of tile in order to create an attractive presentation in their homes. Many stores are also equipped with a training center designed to teach customers how to properly install tile.
A staffing model for a typical store consists of a manager, an assistant manager, sales associates, and a warehouse leader. Our store managers are responsible for store operations and for overseeing our customers’ shopping experience. We offer financing to customers through a branded credit card provided by a third-party consumer finance company.
We utilize a variety of marketing strategies and programs to acquire and retain customers, including both consumers and trade professionals. Our advertising primarily consists of digital media, direct marketing, including email and postal mail, in store events, and mobile advertisements. We continually test and learn from new media and adjust our programs based on performance.
Our website, TileShop.com, supports desktop, tablet, and mobile devices and is designed for consumers, trade professionals and industry stakeholders to learn about our brand, our value propositions, and our product assortment and installation techniques, and to look up our store locations and account information. On social media, #TheTileShop provides current and prospective customers a high level of brand engagement and enables customers to share their finished projects in our inspiration gallery.
We offer an extensive and complete assortment of natural stone and man-made tile products, sourced directly from our suppliers. Natural stone products include marble, travertine, granite, quartz, sandstone, slate, and onyx tiles. Man-made products include ceramic, porcelain, glass, cement, wood look, and metal tiles. Our wide assortment of accessories, including trim pieces, mosaics, pencils, listellos, and other unique products, encourages our customers to make a fashion statement with their tile project and helps us to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction and drive repeat business. We also offer a broad range of setting and maintenance materials, such as thinset, grout, sealers, and accessories, including installation tools, shower and bath shelves, drains, and similar products. We also offer customers delivery service through third-party freight providers. We sell most of our products under our proprietary brand names, including Superior Adhesives & Chemicals, Superior Tools & Supplies, Rush River, and Fired Earth. In total, we offer over 6,000 different tile products, setting and maintenance materials, and accessory products. The percentage of our net sales represented by each product category was as follows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Years Ended December 31,
Natural stone tiles
Setting and maintenance materials
We have long-standing relationships with our suppliers throughout the world and work with them to design and manufacture products exclusively for us. We believe that these direct relationships differentiate us from our competitors.
We currently purchase tile products from approximately 180 different suppliers. Our top ten tile suppliers accounted for 52% of our tile purchases in 2020. Our largest supplier accounted for 15% of our total purchases in 2020. We believe that alternative and competitive suppliers are available for many of our products. The percentage of our total purchases from the following continents was as follows for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019:
Years Ended December 31,
Distribution and Order Fulfillment
We take possession of our products in the country of origin and arrange for transportation to our five distribution centers located in Michigan, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Virginia and Wisconsin. We also manufacture many of our setting and maintenance materials in Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wisconsin. We maintain a large inventory of products in order to quickly fulfill customer orders.
We fulfill customer orders primarily by shipping our products to our stores where customers can either pick them up or arrange for home delivery. We continue to evaluate logistics alternatives to best serve our store base and our customers.
The retail tile market is highly-fragmented. We compete directly with regional and local specialty retailers of tile, factory-direct stores, a large number of privately-owned, single-site stores, and online-only competitors. In addition, we compete with large national home improvement centers that offer a wide range of home improvement products, including flooring. We also compete indirectly with companies that sell other types of floor coverings, including wood floors, carpet, and vinyl. The barriers of entry into the retail tile industry are relatively low and new or existing tile retailers could enter our markets and increase the competition that we face. Many of our competitors enjoy competitive advantages over us, such as greater name recognition, longer operating histories, more varied product offerings, and greater financial, technical, and other resources.
We believe that the key competitive factors in the retail tile industry include:
availability of inventory; and
We believe that we compete favorably with respect to each of these factors by providing a highly diverse selection of products to our customers, at an attractive value, in appealing and convenient store locations, with exceptional customer service and on-site instructional opportunities. Further, while some larger factory-direct competitors manufacture their own products, many of our competitors do not maintain their own inventory and instead purchase their tile from domestic manufacturers or distributors when they receive an order from a customer. We also believe that we offer a broader range of products and stronger in-store customer support than these competitors.
We believe that our employees are our strongest competitive advantage and the high-quality service that they provide sets us apart from others in our industry. As of December 31, 2020, we had 1,149 employees, 1,097 of whom were full-time and none who were represented by a union. This includes 870 employees who work in our stores, 77 who work in corporate, store support, infrastructure or similar functions, and 202 who work in our distribution and manufacturing facilities.
Our principal human capital objectives are to attract, develop and retain people who are committed to our goal of providing the best service in our industry. To support these objectives, our human resources programs seek to:
Reward our employees through highly competitive total compensation and benefit programs designed to reward exceptional performance, promote teamwork and support our employees’ total wellbeing.
Provide development opportunities to enhance sales skills, product knowledge, exposure to the latest design trends, safety, teamwork and leadership.
Enhance our culture through efforts aimed at making our workplace more diverse, engaging, equitable and inclusive.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we established a task force to develop a series of safety measures in an effort to protect our employees and our customers. The measures introduced include enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing, temperature screenings, cloth facemasks and hand sanitizers. We have also created programs to notify our employees of a potential COVID-19 exposure and instituted a temporary leave policy.
We believe that building a strong and diverse workforce is a significant contributor to our success. Creating a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion is the key to a collaborative and winning team culture. To achieve this goal, we seek diverse talent internally and externally in an effort to achieve broader diverse representation throughout our organization. We also promote inclusion through our training and development programs.
Intellectual Property and Trademarks
We have registered and unregistered trademarks for all of our brands, including 25 registered trademarks. We regard our intellectual property as having significant value and our brands are an important factor in the marketing of our products. Accordingly, we have taken, and continue to take, appropriate steps to protect our intellectual property.
We are subject to extensive and varied federal, state and local government regulation in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including laws and regulations relating to our relationships with our employees, public health and safety, zoning, and fire codes. We operate each of our stores, offices, and distribution and manufacturing facilities in accordance with standards and procedures designed to comply with applicable laws, codes, and regulations.
Our operations and properties are also subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, handling, generation, transportation, treatment, emission, release, discharge and disposal of hazardous materials, substances, and wastes and relating to the investigation and cleanup of contaminated properties, including off-site disposal locations. We do not incur significant costs complying with environmental laws and regulations. However, we could be subject to material costs, liabilities, or claims
relating to environmental compliance in the future, especially in the event of changes in existing laws and regulations or in their interpretation.
Products that we import into the United States are subject to laws and regulations imposed in conjunction with such importation, including those issued and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations in these areas.
Financial Information about Geographic Areas
A majority of our revenues and profits are generated within the United States and nearly all of our long-lived assets are located within the United States as well. We have also established a sourcing office based in China.
We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The Exchange Act requires us to file periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. These materials may be obtained electronically by accessing the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
We maintain a website at www.tileshop.com, the contents of which are not part of or incorporated by reference into this report. We make our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports available on our website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports have been filed with or furnished to the SEC. Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, as well as any waivers from and amendments to the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, is also posted on our website.
We intend to use our website, investors.tileshop.com, as a means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under SEC Regulation FD. Such disclosures will be included on our website under the heading News and Events. Accordingly, investors should monitor such portions of our website, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The following are material factors known to us that could adversely affect our business, financial condition, or operating results, as well as adversely affect the value of an investment in our common stock. These risks could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historical experience and from results predicted by forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made by us are qualified by the risks described below. There may be additional risks that are not presently material or known. You should carefully consider each of the following risks and all other information set forth in this report.
Risks Related to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted, and we anticipate will continue to adversely affect, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, and our ability to maintain compliance with our current, or obtain new, lending facilities.
The novel strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, was first identified in China in late 2019. It has since spread globally and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has materially adversely affected our business, and we anticipate we will continue to be negatively impacted at least throughout the duration of the pandemic. Due to the inherent uncertainty of the unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, the full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and financial performance remains uncertain. The United States has entered a recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may prolong and exacerbate the negative impact on us. Although we expect the availability of vaccines and various treatments with respect to COVID-19 to have an overall positive impact on business conditions in the aggregate over time, the exact timing of these positive developments is uncertain. In December 2020, the United States began distributing two vaccines that, in addition to other vaccines under development, are expected to help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 once they are widely distributed. If the vaccines prove less effective than currently understood by the scientific community and the United States Food and Drug Administration, or if there are problems with the acceptance, availability, timing or other difficulties with widely distributing the vaccines, the pandemic may last longer, and could continue to impact our business for longer, than we currently expect.
In response to COVID-19, governmental authorities have implemented numerous measures to try to contain the virus, such as travel bans and restrictions, prohibitions on group events and gatherings, shutdowns of certain businesses, curfews, shelter in place orders
and recommendations to practice social distancing. Although many governmental measures have had specific expiration dates, some of those measures have already been extended more than once, and there is considerable uncertainty regarding the duration of such measures and the implementation of any potential future measures, especially if cases increase across the United States, with the potential for additional challenges resulting from the emergence of new variants of COVID-19, some of which may be more transmissible than the initial strain. Such measures have impacted, and may continue to affect, our workforce, operations, suppliers and customers. For instance, several of our stores were required to limit their hours or close entirely, and our store traffic and sales decreased by approximately 50% during the initial weeks following the end of the first quarter of 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. While many retailers elected to expand their hours as state and local restrictions started to ease, we maintained a reduced hours schedule, which we began to adjust during the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021. The decision to limit the number of hours our stores were open had an adverse impact on customer traffic and sales. We also experienced an elevated level of product outages during the second half of 2020 due to vendor production delays and other disruptions in our supply chain. In many instances, vendor plants were forced to close or operate at a reduced capacity pursuant to a government mandate following the onset of COVID-19. While most vendors have been able to resume normal operations, many continue to work through large backlogs, and we could be materially adversely affected by any product shortages resulting from such backlogs.
We reduced the size of our workforce following the onset of COVID-19 and may need to take additional actions to further reduce the size of our workforce in the future; such reductions incur costs, and we can provide no assurance that we will be able to rehire our workforce in the event our business experiences a subsequent recovery. Furthermore, while we have implemented work from home policies for a portion of our workforce, our store-based workforce comes into close contact with our customers as part of their day-to-day responsibilities, which increases the likelihood that they could contract COVID-19, which could potentially adversely affect our ability to adequately staff our stores and require us to incur additional costs to sanitize the impacted location. When a health risk is identified, we continue to follow a practice to close our stores, quarantine affected staff and complete a rigorous cleaning process before reopening the store, which process can take two to three days to complete and has had an adverse impact on our sales. In addition, employees working remotely may not have the resources available to enable them to maintain the same level of productivity and efficiency, and increased reliance on remote access to our information systems increases our exposure to potential cybersecurity threats.
We took steps to curtail our operating expenses and conserve cash, including the temporary suspension of incentive compensation programs and a reduction of salaried employee compensation; limitation of inventory purchases; curtailment of anticipated spending on capital projects; and negotiation of rent deferrals with our landlords during the second quarter of 2020. We took a conservative approach to adding back incremental costs to our expense structure during the third quarter of 2020, and we have maintained a reduced hours schedule for our stores. We may elect or need to take additional remedial measures in the future as the information available to us continues to develop, including with respect to our workforce, relationships with our third-party vendors, and our customers. There is no certainty that the remedial measures we have implemented to date, or any additional remedial steps we may take in the future, will be sufficient to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19. Further, such measures could potentially materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and create additional risks for us.
Any escalation of COVID-19 cases across many of the markets we serve could have a negative impact on us. Specifically, we could be adversely impacted by limitations on our employees to perform their work due to illness caused by the pandemic or local, state, or federal orders requiring our stores to close or employees to remain at home; limitation of carriers to deliver our product to customers; product shortages; limitations on the ability of our customers to conduct their business and purchase our products and services; and limitations on the ability of our customers to pay us in a timely manner. These events could have a material, adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and liquidity.
The ultimate magnitude of COVID-19, including the full extent of the material negative impact on our financial and operational results, will depend on future developments, such as the duration and severity of the pandemic, the extent of any increases in cases across the United States, and the related length of its impact on the global economy, as well as the timing and availability of effective medical treatments and vaccines, which remain uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. The resumption of our normal business operations may be delayed or constrained by lingering effects of COVID-19 on our customers, suppliers and/or third-party service providers. Furthermore, the extent to which our mitigation efforts are successful, if at all, is not currently ascertainable. Due to the daily evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses to curb its spread, we cannot predict the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and results of operations, but our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows have already been materially adversely impacted, and we anticipate they will continue to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effects on global economic conditions. Any recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic impact may also be slowed or reversed by a variety of factors, such as any increase in COVID-19 infections. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience adverse impacts to our business as a result of its national and, to some extent, global economic impact, including the current recession and any recession that may occur in the future.
In addition, many of the risk factors disclosed in this item have been, and we anticipate will continue to be further, heightened or exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Risks Related to Our Growth Strategy
Our ability to grow and remain profitable may be limited by direct or indirect competition in the highly-competitive retail tile industry.
The retail tile industry in the United States is highly competitive. Participants in the tile industry compete primarily based on product variety, customer service, store location, and price. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to compete favorably with our competitors in these areas. Our store competitors include large national home centers, regional and local specialty retailers of tile, factory-direct stores, privately-owned, single-site stores and online-only competitors. We also compete indirectly with companies that sell other types of floor coverings, including wood floors, carpet, and vinyl sheet. In the past, we have faced periods of heightened competition that materially affected our results of operations. Certain of our competitors have greater name recognition, longer operating histories, more varied product offerings, and substantially greater financial and other resources than us. Accordingly, we may face periods of intense competition in the future that could have a material adverse effect on our planned growth and future results of operations. Moreover, the barriers to entry into the retail tile industry are relatively low. New or existing retailers could enter our markets and increase the competition that we face. In addition, manufacturers and suppliers of tile and related products, including those whose products we currently sell, could enter the United States retail tile market and start directly competing with us. Further, the retail industry in general is subject to rapid technological change, which may increase the amount of capital we spend in the future as we work to sustain and grow our technological infrastructure and digital commerce capabilities in order to remain competitive. Competition in existing and new markets may also prevent or delay our ability to gain relative market share. Any of the developments described above could have a material adverse effect on our planned growth and future results of operations.
Any failure by us to successfully anticipate consumer trends may lead to loss of consumer acceptance of our products, resulting in reduced revenues.
Our success depends on our ability to anticipate and respond to changing trends in the tile industry and consumer demands in a timely manner. If we fail to identify and respond to emerging trends, consumer acceptance of our merchandise and our image with current or potential customers may be harmed, which could reduce our revenue potential. Additionally, if we misjudge market trends, we may significantly overstock unpopular products and be forced to reduce the sales price of such products, which would have a negative impact on our gross profit and cash flow. Conversely, shortages of products that prove popular could cause customers to seek alternative sources of such products, as well as other products they may have purchased from us, which could also reduce our revenues.
If we are unable to effectively manage our online sales, our reputation and operating results may be harmed.
Consumers are increasingly embracing shopping online and through mobile commerce applications. During 2020, we began selling merchandise over the Internet through our website. Any failure on our part to provide an attractive, reliable and user-friendly digital platform that offers a wide assortment of merchandise and meets the changing expectations of online shoppers could place us at a competitive disadvantage, result in the loss of e-commerce and other sales, harm our reputation with consumers, and have a material adverse impact on the growth of our e-commerce business and on our business and results of operations. We are vulnerable to certain risks and uncertainties associated with our e-commerce operations, including changes in required technology interfaces, website downtime and other technical failures, costs and technical issues for upgrades of our website software, computer viruses, changes in applicable federal and state regulations, security breaches and consumer privacy concerns. If not managed, these risks could adversely impact our operating results.
If we fail to successfully manage the challenges that our planned growth poses or encounter unexpected difficulties during our expansion, our revenues and profitability could be materially adversely affected.
One of our long-term objectives is to increase revenue and profitability through market share gains. Our ability to achieve market share growth, however, is contingent upon our ability to open new stores and achieve operating results in new stores at the same level as our similarly situated current stores. We anticipate opening one new store and relocating one store in 2021. There can be no assurance that we will be able to open stores in new markets at the rate required to achieve market leadership in such markets, identify and obtain favorable store sites, arrange favorable leases for stores, obtain governmental and other third-party consents, permits, and licenses needed to open or operate stores in a timely manner, train and hire a sufficient number of qualified managers for new stores, attract a strong customer base and brand familiarity in new markets, or successfully compete with established retail tile stores in the new markets that we enter. Failure to open new stores in an effective and cost-efficient manner could place us at a competitive disadvantage as compared to retailers who are more adept than us at managing these challenges, which, in turn, could negatively affect our overall operating results.
We intend to open additional stores in both our existing markets and new markets, which poses both the possibility of diminishing sales by existing stores in our existing markets and the risk of a slow ramp-up period for stores in new markets.
Our expansion strategy includes plans to open one new store and relocate one store in existing markets during 2021. In future periods, we intend to continue opening stores in new and existing markets. Because our stores typically draw customers from their local areas, additional stores may draw customers away from nearby existing stores and may cause comparable store sales performance at those existing stores to decline, which may adversely affect our overall operating results. Additionally, stores in new markets typically have a ramp-up period before sales become steady enough for such stores to be profitable. Our ability to open additional stores will be dependent on our ability to promote and/or recruit enough qualified store managers, assistant store managers, and sales associates. The time and effort required to train and supervise a large number of new managers and associates and integrate them into our culture may divert resources from our existing stores. If we are unable to profitably open additional stores in both new and existing markets and limit the adverse impact of those new stores on existing stores, our comparable store sales and overall operating results may be reduced during the implementation of our expansion strategy.
Our expansion strategy will be dependent upon, and limited by, the availability of adequate capital.
Our expansion strategy will require adequate capital for, among other purposes, opening new stores, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities, as well as entering new markets. Such expenditures will include researching real estate and consumer markets, leases, inventory, property and equipment costs, integration of new stores and markets into company-wide systems and programs, and other costs associated with new stores and market entry expenses and growth. If cash generated internally is insufficient to fund capital requirements, we will require additional debt or equity financing. Adequate financing may not be available or, if available, may not be available on terms satisfactory to us. In addition, our credit facility may limit the amount of capital expenditures that we may make annually, depending on our rent adjusted leverage ratio. If we fail to obtain sufficient additional capital in the future or we are unable to make capital expenditures under our credit facility, we could be forced to curtail our expansion strategies by reducing or delaying capital expenditures relating to new stores and new market entry. As a result, there can be no assurance that we will be able to fund our current plans for the opening of new stores or entry into new markets.
Our success depends on the effectiveness of our marketing strategy.
We believe that our growth was achieved in part through the effectiveness of our marketing strategies. Prior to 2018, we used internet, print, and radio advertisements containing discounts and promotional offers to encourage customers to visit our stores. A significant portion of our advertising was invested to support the opening of new stores and directed at professional customers. Beginning in late 2017, we de-emphasized the use of discount offers to attract customers. Limited use of discount and promotional offers in future periods could fail to attract customers, resulting in a decrease in store traffic. We may need to further increase our marketing expense to support our business strategies in the future. If our marketing strategies fail to draw customers in the future, or if the cost of advertising or other marketing materials increases significantly, we could experience declines in our net sales and operating results.
In addition, there has been a substantial increase in the use of social media platforms. Negative commentary regarding us or the products we sell may be posted on social media platforms or other electronic means at any time and may be adverse to our reputation or business. Customers value readily available information and often act on such information without further investigation and without regard to its accuracy. Any harm to us or the products we sell may be immediate without allowing us an opportunity for redress or correction. We also use social media platforms as marketing tools, and our marketing efforts through social media platforms may not be successful, and the availability of these platforms may make it easier for smaller competitors to compete with us.
Risks Related to our Business, Operations and Financial Condition
Our comparable store sales fluctuate due to a variety of economic, operating, industry and environmental factors and may not be a fair indicator of our overall performance.
Our comparable store sales have experienced fluctuations, which can be expected to continue. Numerous factors affect our comparable store sales results, including, among others, the timing of new and relocated store openings, the relative proportion of new and relocated stores to mature stores, cannibalization resulting from the opening of new stores in existing markets, changes in advertising and other operating costs, the timing and level of markdowns, changes in our product mix, weather conditions, retail trends, the retail sales environment, economic conditions, inflation, the impact of competition, and our ability to execute our business strategy, as well as the impact of COVID-19 and governmental measures implemented to try to contain the virus. As a result, comparable store sales or operating results may fluctuate and may cause the price of our securities to fluctuate significantly. Therefore, we believe that period-to-period comparisons of our comparable store sales may not be a reliable indicator of our future overall operating performance.
If customers are unable to obtain third-party financing at satisfactory rates, sales of our products could be materially adversely affected.
Our business, financial condition, and results of operations have been, and may continue to be, affected by various economic factors. In certain markets, deterioration in the current economic environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to reduced consumer and business spending, including by our customers, and continued deterioration, whether due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors, may lead to further reduced consumer and business spending. It may also cause customers to shift their spending to products that we either do not sell or that generate lower profitability for us. Further, reduced access to credit may adversely affect the ability of consumers to purchase our products. This potential reduction in access to credit may adversely impact our ability to offer customers credit card financing through third-party credit providers on terms similar to those offered currently, or at all. In addition, economic conditions, including decreases in access to credit and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted, and may continue to result, in financial difficulties leading to restructuring, bankruptcies, liquidations and other unfavorable events for our customers, which may adversely impact our industry, business, and results of operations.
The burden of incurring debt under our existing credit facility could adversely affect us and make us more vulnerable to adverse economic or industry conditions.
We entered into a credit facility with Bank of America, N.A., Fifth Third Bank and Citizens Bank on September 18, 2018. As of December 31, 2020, we had no borrowings outstanding on our revolving line of credit, leaving $97.6 million available for future borrowings. The terms of our credit facility could have serious consequences for us, such as:
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing to fund our working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, expansion strategy, or other needs;
increasing our vulnerability to, and reducing our flexibility in planning for, adverse changes in economic, industry, and competitive conditions, such as the potential impact of COVID-19 on our ability to comply with the financial covenants under the credit facility; and
increasing our vulnerability to increases in interest rates if borrowings under the credit facility are subject to variable interest rates.
Any future increase in the level of our indebtedness will likely increase our interest expense, which could negatively impact our profitability. Current interest rates on borrowings under our credit facility are variable and include the use of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intended to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021; in November 2020, it was announced that the phase out period would be extended to June 2023 for certain U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors. While this announcement extended the transition period to June 2023, the United States Federal Reserve concurrently issued a statement advising banks to stop new U.S. dollar LIBOR issuances by the end of 2021. In light of these recent announcements, the future of LIBOR at this time remains uncertain, and any changes in the methods by which LIBOR is determined or regulatory activity related to LIBOR’s phase out could cause LIBOR to perform differently than in the past or cease to exist. In addition, other regulators have suggested reforming or replacing other benchmark rates. The phase out of LIBOR could cause market volatility or disruption and may adversely affect our access to the capital markets and cost of funding. Furthermore, while our credit facility contains “fallback” provisions providing for alternative rate calculations in the event LIBOR is unavailable, these “fallback” provisions may not adequately address the actual changes to LIBOR or successor rates.
Our credit facility also contains negative covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. These covenants limit our ability to, among other things:
engage in mergers or consolidations;
sell assets (including pursuant to sale and leaseback transactions);
make investments, acquisitions, loans, or advances;
engage in certain transactions with affiliates;
enter into agreements limiting subsidiary distributions;
enter into agreements limiting the ability to create liens;
amend our organizational documents in a way that has a material effect on the lenders or administrative agent under our credit facility; and
change our lines of business.
A breach of any of these covenants could result in an event of default under our credit facility. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, the lender could elect to declare all amounts outstanding under such facility to be immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit, or seek amendments to our debt agreements that would provide for terms more favorable to
such lender and that we may have to accept under the circumstances. If we were unable to repay those amounts, the lender under our credit facility could proceed against the collateral granted to it to secure that indebtedness.
If we are unable to renew or replace current store leases, or if we are unable to enter into leases for additional stores on favorable terms, or if one or more of our current leases is terminated prior to expiration of its stated term and we cannot find suitable alternate store locations, our growth and profitability could be negatively impacted.
We currently lease all of our store locations and certain distribution center locations. Many of our current leases provide us with the unilateral option to renew for several additional rental periods at specific rental rates. Our ability to renegotiate favorable terms on an expiring lease or to negotiate favorable terms for a suitable alternate location, and our ability to negotiate favorable lease terms for additional store locations, could depend on conditions in the real estate market, including the impact of COVID-19, competition for desirable properties, our relationships with current and prospective landlords, or other factors that are not within our control. Any or all of these factors and conditions could negatively impact our growth and profitability.
We negotiated rent concessions during the second quarter of 2020 on certain of our leases due to the impact of COVID-19. The majority of the remaining repayments are expected to occur by the end of 2021.
We have identified two material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting which, if not remediated, could result in material misstatements of our financial statements.
We identified material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting that pertain to our ERP system conversion that took place on January 1, 2019 involving (1) the ineffective design and implementation of effective controls with respect to the ERP system conversion, and (2) the ineffective design and implementation of IT general controls for the ERP system that are relevant to the preparation of our financial statements. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
These material weaknesses could adversely impact our ability to record, process and report financial information accurately, and to prepare financial statements within the time periods specified by the rules and forms of the SEC. This failure could negatively affect the market price and trading liquidity of our common stock, cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, subject us to civil and criminal investigations and penalties and materially and adversely impact our business and financial condition. We cannot ensure that we will not identify additional material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the future.
Our results may be adversely affected by fluctuations in material and energy costs.
Our results may be affected by the prices of the materials used in the manufacture of tile, setting and maintenance materials, and related accessories that we sell. These prices may fluctuate based on a number of factors beyond our control, including: oil prices, changes in supply and demand, general economic conditions, labor costs, competition, import duties, tariffs, currency exchange rates, and government regulation. In addition, energy costs have fluctuated dramatically in the past and may fluctuate in the future. These fluctuations may result in an increase in our transportation costs for distribution from the manufacturer to our distribution centers and from our regional distribution centers to our stores, utility costs for our distribution and manufacturing centers and stores, and overall costs to purchase products from our suppliers.
We may not be able to adjust the prices of our products, especially in the short-term, to recover any cost increases in materials and energy. A continual rise in material and energy costs could adversely affect consumer spending and demand for our products and increase our operating costs, both of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Natural disasters, changes in climate and geo-political events could adversely affect our operating results.
The threat or occurrence of one or more natural disasters or other extreme weather events, whether as a result of climate change or otherwise, and the threat or outbreak of terrorism, civil unrest, a public health epidemic or pandemic, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or other hostilities, conflicts or similar adverse events could materially adversely affect our financial performance. These events may result in damage to, or destruction or closure of, our stores, distribution centers and other properties. Such events can also adversely affect our work force and prevent employees and customers from reaching our stores and other properties, can modify consumer purchasing patterns and decrease disposable income, and can disrupt or disable portions of our supply chain and distribution network.
We are a holding company with no business operations of our own and depend on cash flow from The Tile Shop to meet our obligations.
We are a holding company with no business operations of our own or material assets other than the equity of our subsidiaries. All of our operations are conducted by our subsidiaries, including The Tile Shop. As a holding company, we will require dividends and other payments from our subsidiaries to meet cash requirements. The terms of any future credit facility may restrict our subsidiaries from paying dividends and otherwise transferring cash or other assets to us, although our current facility does not restrict this action. If there is an insolvency, liquidation, or other reorganization of any of our subsidiaries, our stockholders likely will have no right to proceed against their assets. Creditors of those subsidiaries will be entitled to payment in full from the sale or other disposal of the assets of those subsidiaries before we, as an equity holder, would be entitled to receive any distribution from that sale or disposal. If The Tile Shop is unable to pay dividends or make other payments to us when needed, we will be unable to satisfy our obligations.
Our failure or inability to protect our intellectual property rights could diminish the value of our brand and weaken our competitive position.
We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights through a combination of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, trade dress and unfair competition laws, as well as confidentiality procedures, and assignment and licensing arrangements. Our failure to obtain or maintain adequate protection of our intellectual property rights for any reason could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and might prevent our brands from achieving or maintaining market acceptance. Further, we cannot assure you that competitors or other third parties will not infringe upon our intellectual property rights, or that we will have adequate resources to enforce our intellectual property rights.
Risks Related to Our Labor and Supply Chain
If we fail to identify and maintain relationships with a sufficient number of suppliers, our ability to obtain products that meet our high quality standards at attractive prices could be adversely affected.
We purchase flooring and other products directly from suppliers located around the world. However, we do not have long-term contractual supply agreements with our suppliers that obligate them to supply us with products exclusively or at specified quantities or prices. As a result, our current suppliers may decide to sell products to our competitors and may not continue selling products to us. In order to retain the competitive advantage that we believe results from these relationships, we need to continue to identify, develop and maintain relationships with qualified suppliers that can satisfy our high standards for quality and our requirements for flooring and other products in a timely and efficient manner at attractive prices. The need to develop new relationships will be particularly important as we seek to expand our operations and enhance our product offerings in the future. The loss of one or more of our existing suppliers or our inability to develop relationships with new suppliers could reduce our competitiveness, slow our plans for further expansion, and cause our net sales and operating results to be adversely affected. In addition, any failure to manage our inventory effectively could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our sales could be adversely affected if and when we experience any shortages of key items; further, any inability to meet our customers’ product needs could also adversely affect sales of other related products.
We source the products that we stock and sell from approximately 180 domestic and international suppliers. We source a large number of those products from foreign manufacturers, including 52% of our products from a group of ten suppliers located in Asia, Europe and the United States. Our largest supplier accounted for approximately 15% of our total purchases in 2020. We generally take title to these products sourced from foreign suppliers overseas and are responsible for arranging shipment to our distribution centers.
During 2020, we experienced an elevated level of product outages due to vendor production delays and other disruptions in our supply chain resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many instances, vendor plants were forced to close or operate at a reduced capacity pursuant to a government mandate following the onset of COVID-19. While most vendors have been able to resume normal operations, many continue to work through large backlogs. We continue to actively partner with our vendors to secure delivery of backordered product.
Other factors that may impact our suppliers, including financial instability among key suppliers, political instability, the impact of pandemics or other catastrophic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, trade restrictions, tariffs, currency exchange rates, and transport capacity and costs, are beyond our control and could negatively impact our business if they seriously disrupt the movement of products through our supply chain or increase the costs of our products.
Our reliance on foreign suppliers increases our risk of not obtaining adequate, timely and cost-effective products and other risks involved in foreign operations, including foreign currency translation.
The risks associated with direct sourcing from overseas manufacturers may be higher than the risks associated with our traditional domestic suppliers. Foreign sourcing subjects us to a number of risks, including long lead times; work stoppages; shipping delays and
interruptions; product quality issues; employee rights issues; other social concerns; public health crisis, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted our global supply chain and resulted in additional expenses and delays outside of our control, and may continue to do so for an extended period of time; political instability; acts of terrorism; economic disruptions; the imposition of tariffs, duties, quotas, import and export controls and other trade restrictions; changes in governmental policies, including potential adverse changes in tax laws and regulations; uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of laws (if any) relating to the protection of intellectual property or data security; and other events. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on us.
Reductions in the value of the U.S. dollar or revaluation of foreign currencies used could ultimately increase the prices that we pay for our products. Furthermore, volatile market conditions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic may result in significant fluctuations in exchange rates.
In addition, all of our products manufactured overseas and imported into the U.S. are subject to duties collected by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We may be subjected to additional duties, significant monetary penalties, the seizure and forfeiture of the products we are attempting to import or the loss of import privileges if we or our suppliers are found to be in violation of U.S. laws and regulations applicable to the importation of our products. If duties were to be significantly increased, it could have a material adverse impact on us.
Our ability to offer compelling products, particularly products made of unique stone, depends on the continued availability of sufficient suitable natural products.
Our business strategy depends on offering a wide assortment of compelling products to our customers. We sell, among other things, products made from various natural stones from quarries throughout the world. Our ability to obtain an adequate volume and quality of hard-to-find products depends on our suppliers’ ability to furnish those products, which, in turn, could be affected by many things, including the exhaustion of stone quarries. If our suppliers cannot deliver sufficient products, and we cannot find replacement suppliers, our net sales and operating results may be adversely affected.
Our success is highly dependent on our ability to provide timely delivery to our customers, and any disruption in our delivery capabilities or our related planning and control processes may adversely affect our operating results.
Our success is due in part to our ability to deliver products quickly to our customers, which requires successful planning and distribution infrastructure, including ordering, transportation and receipt processing, and the ability of suppliers to meet distribution requirements. Our ability to maintain this success depends on the continued identification and implementation of improvements to our planning processes, distribution infrastructure, and supply chain. We also need to ensure that our distribution infrastructure and supply chain keep pace with our anticipated growth and increased number of stores. The cost of these enhanced processes could be significant, and any failure to maintain, grow, or improve them could adversely affect our operating results. Our business could also be adversely affected if there are delays in product shipments due to freight difficulties, strikes, or other difficulties at our suppliers’ principal transport providers, or otherwise. For instance, during 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected our ability to obtain certain products in a timely manner and may continue to cause delays going forward.
We depend on a few key employees, and if we lose the services of these employees, we may not be able to run our business effectively.
Our future success depends in part on our ability to attract and retain key executive, merchandising, marketing, and sales personnel. We have had changes in our senior management team over the past three years and have promoted or hired new employees to fill certain roles. Our inability to effectively integrate the newly-hired senior managers into our business processes, controls, systems and culture could have a material adverse effect on us. If any of our key employees ceases to be employed by us, we would need to hire additional qualified personnel and could experience delays in filling those roles. Our ability to successfully hire other experienced and qualified key employees cannot be assured and may be difficult because we face competition for these professionals from our competitors, our suppliers and other companies operating in our industry. As a result, the loss or unavailability of any of our key employees could have a material adverse effect on us.
If we fail to hire, train, and retain qualified store managers, sales associates, and other employees, our enhanced customer service could be compromised and we could lose sales to our competitors.
A key element of our competitive strategy is to provide product expertise to our customers through our extensively trained, commissioned sales associates. If we are unable to attract and retain qualified personnel and managers as needed in the future, including qualified sales personnel, our level of customer service may decline, which may decrease our revenues and profitability.
Our ability to control labor costs is limited, which may negatively affect our business.
Our ability to control labor costs is subject to numerous external factors, including prevailing wage rates, the impact of legislation or regulations governing healthcare benefits or labor relations, and health and other insurance costs. If our labor and/or benefit costs increase, we may not be able to hire or maintain qualified personnel to the extent necessary to execute our competitive strategy, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our insurance coverage and self-insurance reserves may not cover future claims.
We maintain various insurance policies for employee health and workers’ compensation. We are self-insured on certain health insurance plans and are responsible for losses up to a certain limit for these respective plans. We are also self-insured with regard to workers’ compensation coverage, in which case we are responsible for losses up to certain retention limits on both a per-claim and aggregate basis.
For policies under which we are responsible for losses, we record a liability that represents our estimated cost of claims incurred and unpaid as of the balance sheet date. Our estimated liability is not discounted and is based on a number of assumptions and factors, including historical trends and economic conditions, and is closely monitored and adjusted when warranted by changing circumstances. Fluctuating healthcare costs, our significant growth rate and changes from our past experience with workers’ compensation claims could affect the accuracy of estimates based on historical experience. Should a greater amount of claims occur compared to what was estimated or employee health insurance costs increase beyond what was expected, our accrued liabilities might not be sufficient, and we may be required to record additional expense. Unanticipated changes may produce materially different amounts of expense than that reported under these programs, which could adversely impact our operating results.
While we have implemented personal safety measures at all of our facilities where our employees are working onsite, any actions we take may not be sufficient to mitigate the risk of infection and could result in COVID-19-related claims. Changes to state workers’ compensation laws may increase our potential liability for such claims.
We also maintain third-party insurance coverage against various other liability risks and risks of property loss, including directors’ and officers’ liability insurance coverage. Potential liabilities associated with those risks or other events could exceed the coverage provided by such arrangements, resulting in significant uninsured liabilities, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, claims brought against us have resulted in, and additional claims could further result in, increased directors’ and officers’ insurance premiums and a reduction in coverage, which could negatively affect us, including by increasing our insurance costs and impacting our ability to attract and retain qualified officers and directors.
Legal and Regulatory Risks
Compliance with laws or changes in existing or new laws and regulations or regulatory enforcement priorities could adversely affect our business.
We must comply with various laws and regulations at the local, regional, state, federal, and international levels. These laws and regulations change frequently, and such changes can impose significant costs and other burdens of compliance on our business and suppliers. Any changes in regulations, the imposition of additional regulations, or the enactment of any new legislation that affects employment/labor, trade, product safety, transportation/logistics, energy costs, health care, tax, environmental issues, or compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations. The evolving and at times overlapping regulatory regimes to which the Company is subject may change at any time, including as a result of the change in the U.S. presidential administration; for instance, various levels of government are increasingly focused on tax reform and other legislative actions to increase tax revenue, and the reduction in the corporate income tax rate resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted into U.S. law in December 2017 could be reduced or rescinded by future tax law changes. In addition, changes in enforcement priorities by governmental agencies charged with enforcing existing laws and regulations could increase our cost of doing business.
We may also be subject to audits by various taxing authorities. Changes in tax laws in any of the multiple jurisdictions in which we operate, or adverse outcomes from tax audits that we may be subject to in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate, could result in an unfavorable change in our effective tax rate, which could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
If our suppliers do not use ethical business practices or comply with applicable laws and regulations, our reputation could be harmed due to negative publicity and we could be subject to legal risk.
We do not control the operations of our suppliers. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee that our suppliers will comply with applicable environmental, labor and other laws and regulations or operate in a legal, ethical, and responsible manner. Violation of environmental,
labor or other laws by our suppliers or their failure to operate in a legal, ethical, or responsible manner could reduce demand for our products if, as a result of such violation or failure, we attract negative publicity. Further, such conduct could expose us to legal risks as a result of the purchase of products from non-compliant suppliers.
Taxing authorities may successfully assert that we should have collected or in the future should collect sales and use, value added or similar transactional taxes, and we could be subject to liability with respect to past or future sales, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
The application of sales tax and other indirect taxes on cross border sales by remote sellers is continuing to change and evolve. In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court decided South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a case challenging the prior law under which sellers were not required to collect sales and use tax unless they have a physical presence in the buyer’s state. This decision allowed states to adopt new or enforce existing laws requiring sellers to collect and remit sales and use tax, even in states in which the seller has no presence. The adoption or enforcement of any such legislation could result in additional sales and use tax collection responsibility for certain of our businesses. A number of states have already begun, or have positioned themselves to begin, requiring sales and use tax collection by remote sellers, and the details and effective dates of these collection requirements vary from state to state. While we now collect, remit, and report sales tax in all states that impose a sales tax, it is possible that one or more jurisdictions may assert that we have liability for periods for which certain of our businesses did not collect sales, use or other similar taxes, and if such an assertion or assertions were successful, it could result in tax liabilities, including for past sales taxes and penalties and interest, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We may become involved in legal proceedings and, while we cannot predict the outcomes of such proceedings and other contingencies with certainty, some of these outcomes could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may become involved in stockholder, consumer, employment, tort or other litigation, including any claims and proceedings arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings. The outcome of some of these legal proceedings could require us to take, or refrain from taking, actions which could negatively affect our operations or could require us to pay substantial amounts of money, adversely affecting our financial condition and results of operations. During 2020, the Company settled a class action and derivative lawsuit, as described in Part I, Item 3. “Legal Proceedings,” of this report. Additionally, defending against lawsuits and proceedings may involve significant expense and diversion of management’s attention and resources.
Our business operations could be disrupted if we are unable to protect the integrity and security of our customer information.
In connection with payment card sales and other transactions, including bank cards, debit cards, credit cards and other merchant cards, we process and transmit confidential banking and payment card information. Additionally, as part of our normal business activities, we collect and store sensitive personal information related to our employees, customers, suppliers and other parties. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to criminal cyber-attacks or security incidents due to employee error, malfeasance or other vulnerabilities. Any such incidents could compromise our networks or disrupt critical systems, and the information stored there, such as personal identification information or funds, could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Third parties may have the technology and know-how to breach the security of this information, and our security measures and those of our banks, merchant card processing and other technology suppliers may not effectively prohibit others from obtaining improper access to this information. The techniques used by criminals to obtain unauthorized access to sensitive data change frequently and often are not recognized until launched against a target; accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures.
Many states have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving their personal data. These mandatory disclosures regarding a security breach often lead to widespread negative publicity, which may cause our customers to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our data security measures. Any security breach, whether successful or not, would harm our reputation and could cause the loss of customers. In addition, any such breach could subject us to litigation, government enforcement actions, regulatory penalties or costly response measures. Any such occurrence could have a material adverse effect on us.
If our management information systems experience disruptions, it could disrupt our business and reduce our net sales.
We depend on our management information systems to integrate the activities of our stores, to process orders, to manage inventory, to purchase merchandise and to sell and ship goods on a timely basis. We may experience operational problems with our information systems, as well as loss of funds, intellectual property or other proprietary information, as a result of system failures, viruses, computer “hackers” or other causes. We may incur significant expenses in order to repair any such operational problems and could
suffer reputational damage. Any significant disruption or slowdown of our systems could cause information, including data related to customer orders, to be lost or delayed, which could result in delays in the delivery of products to our stores and customers or lost sales. Accordingly, if our network is disrupted, we may experience delayed communications within our operations and between our customers and ourselves. Any such occurrence could have a material adverse effect on us.
The selection and implementation of information technology initiatives may impact our operational efficiency and productivity.
In order to better manage our business, we expect to invest in our information systems. In doing so, we must select the correct investments and implement them in an efficient manner. The costs, potential problems and interruptions associated with implementing technology initiatives could disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations. For instance, we may experience occasional system interruptions and delays, as a result of routine maintenance, periodic updates, implementation of new technology or other factors, that make our information systems unavailable or slow to respond, including the interaction of our information systems with those of third parties. Furthermore, these initiatives might not provide the anticipated benefits or provide them in a delayed or more costly manner. Accordingly, issues relating to our selection and implementation of information technology initiatives may negatively impact our business and operating results.
Implementation of a new ERP system in 2019 has adversely impacted and could continue to negatively affect our business.
We rely extensively on our IT systems to assist us in managing our business and summarizing our operational results. On January 1, 2019, we deployed a company-wide new ERP system. The new ERP system was implemented to position the Company for long-term growth, further enhance operating efficiencies and provide more effective management of our business operations, including sales order processing, inventory control, purchasing and supply chain management, and financial reporting. Implementing the new ERP system has been costly and has required, and may continue to require, the investment of significant personnel and financial resources. In addition to the risks inherent in the conversion to any new IT system, including the loss of information, disruption to our normal operations, and changes in accounting procedures, the implementation of our new ERP system has resulted in operational and reporting disruptions related to the conversion of existing customer orders, processing of new customer orders and maintaining an effective internal control environment.
We identified material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting that pertain to our ERP system conversion on January 1, 2019, which continued to exist as of December 31, 2020, as described below, which has caused us to incur increased costs, diverted our management’s and employees’ attention and resources, and negatively impacted our business. Failure to properly or adequately address any issues with our new ERP system could continue to result in increased costs and the diversion of management’s and employees’ attention and resources and could materially adversely affect our operating results, internal control over financial reporting and ability to manage our business effectively.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
Our common stock is currently quoted on the Pink Tier of The OTC Markets; while we have applied for listing on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”), there can be no assurance that Nasdaq will approve our application.
We voluntarily delisted our common stock from Nasdaq in November 2019, and our common stock is currently quoted on the Pink Tier of The OTC Markets under the symbol “TTSH.” As previously disclosed, on February 2, 2021, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to form a special committee (the “Special Committee”) comprised of three of our independent directors to evaluate, and to make a recommendation to the Board regarding, potential relisting of our common stock on Nasdaq. Thereafter, the Special Committee undertook a thorough and deliberate process to evaluate the potential benefits, costs, burdens, and process associated with applying for listing and listing our common stock with Nasdaq, and the Special Committee unanimously recommended that the Board authorize us to apply for listing of our common stock on Nasdaq. On March 1, 2021, after receiving the recommendation of the Special Committee, and evaluating the potential benefits, costs, burdens, and process associated with applying for listing and listing of the stock on Nasdaq, the Board unanimously voted to authorize us to apply for listing of our common stock with Nasdaq. We have submitted our listing application and will be working diligently to respond to any questions posed by Nasdaq’s representatives in a timely manner. However, we can provide no assurance that Nasdaq will approve our listing application.
The market price of our securities may decline and/or be volatile.
The market price of our common stock has fluctuated significantly in the past and may continue to fluctuate in the future. Future fluctuations could be based on various factors in addition to those otherwise described in this report, including:
our operating performance and the performance of our competitors;
the public’s reaction to our filings with the SEC, our press releases and other public announcements;
our current quotation on the Pink Tier of the OTC Markets, including restrictions that some investors have against investing in and/or holding OTC company securities and the possibility of reduced liquidity;
changes in recommendations or earnings estimates by research analysts who follow us or other companies in our industry;
variations in general economic conditions, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession;
actions of our current stockholders, including purchases or sales of common stock by our directors and executive officers;
the arrival or departure of key personnel; and
other developments affecting us, our industry or our competitors.
In addition, the stock market may experience significant price and volume fluctuations. These fluctuations may be unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies but may cause declines in the market price of our common stock. The price of our common stock could fluctuate based upon factors that have little or nothing to do with our company or its performance.
We suspended our quarterly dividend program and cancelled our stock repurchase program; as such, only appreciation in the price of our common stock will provide a return to our stockholders.
In October 2019, we suspended our quarterly cash dividend program and cancelled our stock repurchase program to focus on debt reduction and continued investment in strategic initiatives. Any future determination with respect to the payment of dividends or stock repurchases is at the discretion of our Board of Directors (the “Board of Directors” or the “Board”) and is dependent upon our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, general business conditions, tax treatment of dividends in the United States, potential future contractual restrictions contained in credit agreements and other agreements and other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors. Our election not to pay a quarterly dividend or repurchase stock may negatively impact our reputation, our stock price, and investor confidence in us.
Concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control.
Our directors and executive officers, together with their affiliates, beneficially hold approximately 31% of our outstanding shares of common stock. As a result, these stockholders, if acting together, have the ability to influence the outcome of corporate actions requiring stockholder approval. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control and might adversely affect the market price of our securities.
Anti-takeover provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that, alone or together, could have the effect of delaying or preventing hostile takeovers or changes in control or changes in our management without the consent of our Board of Directors. These provisions include:
a classified Board of Directors with three-year staggered terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our Board of Directors;
no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
the exclusive right of our Board of Directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the Board of Directors or the resignation, death, or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our Board of Directors;
the ability of our Board of Directors to determine whether to issue shares of preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;
a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;
the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer, or the Board of Directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;
limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;
controlling the procedures for the conduct and scheduling of stockholder meetings;
providing the Board of Directors with the express power to postpone or reschedule previously scheduled special meetings of stockholders;
providing that directors may be removed prior to the expiration of their terms by stockholders only for cause; and
advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our Board of Directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from
conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.
As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law. Any provision of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for certain types of lawsuits, which could increase costs to bring a claim, discourage claims or limit the ability of our stockholders to bring a claim in a judicial forum viewed by the stockholders as more favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.
The Company’s Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our Certificate of Incorporation or our Bylaws, or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The choice of forum provision may increase costs to bring a claim, discourage claims or limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us or our directors, officers and other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find this choice of forum provision to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions. The exclusive forum provision in our Certificate of Incorporation will not preclude or contract the scope of exclusive federal or concurrent jurisdiction for actions brought under the federal securities laws including the Exchange Act or the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the respective rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
As of December 31, 2020, we operated 142 stores located in 31 states and the District of Columbia with an average square footage of approximately 20,000 square feet. The table below sets forth the store locations (alphabetically by state) of our 142 stores in operation as of December 31, 2020.
District of Columbia
We lease all of our stores. Our approximately 15,000 square foot headquarters in Plymouth, Minnesota is attached to our store. We own four regional facilities used for distribution of purchased product and manufacturing of setting and maintenance materials, located in Spring Valley, Wisconsin; Ottawa Lake, Michigan; Ridgeway, Virginia; and Durant, Oklahoma, which consist of 69,000, 271,000, 134,000, and 260,000 square feet, respectively. We also lease a distribution facility in Dayton, New Jersey that is 163,000 square feet.
We believe that our material property holdings are suitable for our current operations and purposes. We intend to open one new store and relocate one store in 2021.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are, from time to time, party to lawsuits, threatened lawsuits, disputes and other claims arising in the normal course of business. We assess our liabilities and contingencies in connection with outstanding legal proceedings utilizing the latest information available. Where it is probable that we will incur a loss and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated, we record a liability
in our consolidated financial statements. These legal accruals may be increased or decreased to reflect any relevant developments on a quarterly basis. Where a loss is not probable or the amount of the loss is not estimable, we do not record an accrual, consistent with applicable accounting guidance. In the opinion of management, while the outcome of such claims and disputes cannot be predicted with certainty, our ultimate liability in connection with these matters is not expected to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, or cash flows. However, legal proceedings are inherently uncertain. As a result, the outcome of a particular matter or a combination of matters may be material to our results of operations for a particular period, depending upon the size of the loss or our income for that particular period.
As previously disclosed, the Company was a nominal defendant and certain current and former directors were individual defendants in litigation brought by K-Bar Holdings LLC and Wynnefield Capital, Inc. (“Plaintiffs”), in the Delaware Court of Chancery (the “Action”), in November 2019. Plaintiffs pleaded the Action as a derivative claim on behalf of the Company and also on behalf of a putative class of certain holders of the Company’s common stock as of October 18, 2019 (the “Putative Class”). Plaintiffs alleged breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with, among other things, the Company’s decision to delist from Nasdaq and deregister its common stock under the Exchange Act. As previously disclosed, on June 30, 2020, the Company, the individual defendants, and Plaintiffs reached an agreement to settle all claims in the Action, which was documented in a Stipulation of Settlement dated August 7, 2020 (the “Stipulation of Settlement”). Among other terms, the Stipulation of Settlement provided for a settlement fund of $12.0 million, which was funded by the Company’s insurers, and which will be distributed to members of the Putative Class pursuant to an allocation and claims distribution process proposed by the Plaintiffs and approved by the Court. The Stipulation of Settlement was approved by the Court on October 12, 2020. The Court also granted the Plaintiffs’ counsel a $2.7 million award of attorneys’ fees in connection with the settlement of the derivative claims. During the three-month period ended December 31, 2020, the Company’s insurers made payments to the Plaintiffs’ counsel and the settlement fund in accordance with the Court’s order.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common stock previously traded on Nasdaq under the symbol “TTS”. We voluntarily delisted our common stock from Nasdaq in November 2019 and, since then, our common stock has been quoted on The OTC Pink Market under the symbol “TTSH”, which is not considered to be an “established public trading market” under the SEC’s rules. The following table shows, for the periods indicated, the high and low closing bid quotations for the Company’s common stock on The OTC Pink Market as reported by Yahoo Finance. The quotations represent inter-dealer prices, without retail mark-up, mark-down or commission, and may not necessarily represent actual transactions.
November 11, 2019 – December 31, 2019
January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020
July 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020
October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020
As of March 9, 2021, we had approximately 444 holders of record of our common stock. This figure does not include the number of persons whose securities are held in nominee or “street” name accounts through brokers.
As of March 9, 2021, we had 51,669,719 shares of common stock outstanding. The last reported sales price for our common stock on March 9, 2021 was $6.26.
Dividends Paid Per Share
We suspended dividend payments on October 18, 2019. Any future determination with respect to the payment of dividends is at the discretion of our Board of Directors and is dependent upon our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, general business conditions, tax treatment of dividends in the United States, potential future contractual restrictions contained in credit agreements and other agreements and other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors.
Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
For information on our equity compensation plans, refer to Part III, Item 12. “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters.”
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Total Number of Shares Purchased
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under Plans or Programs
October 1, 2020 - October 31, 2020
November 1, 2020 - November 30, 2020
December 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020
(1)We withheld these shares to satisfy tax withholding obligations due upon the vesting of restricted stock grants, as allowed by the 2012 Omnibus Award Plan (the “Omnibus Plan”). We did not pay cash to repurchase these shares, nor were these repurchases part of a publicly announced plan or program.
(2)We repurchased these shares pursuant to the terms of the underlying restricted stock agreements, as allowed by the Omnibus Plan. We paid $0.0001 per share, the par value, to repurchase these shares. These repurchases were not part of a publicly announced plan or program.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following table sets forth selected historical financial information derived from (i) our audited financial statements included elsewhere in this report as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 and for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018 and (ii) our audited financial statements not included elsewhere in this report as of December 31, 2018, 2017, and 2016 and for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016. The following selected financial data should be read in conjunction with the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this report.
As of December 31, or for the year ended December 31,
(in thousands, except per share)
Statement of Income Data
Cost of sales
Selling, general and administrative
Income (loss) from operations
Income (loss) before income taxes
Benefit (provision) for income taxes
Net income (loss)
Earnings (loss) per share
Weighted average shares
Balance Sheet Data
Cash and cash equivalents
Total stockholders' equity