Lawton continued, “As the country reopens, the Out Here lifestyle remains incredibly relevant as we continue to grow our active customer count and retain last year’s new and reengaged customers. We are increasing our earnings guidance given our strong results and the outlook for our customer trends and ongoing market share gains. The team is executing at a high level and advancing our Life Out Here Strategy while navigating the cost pressures we are experiencing. With a resilient business model, ongoing market share growth and strategic investments to transform the Company, we are excited about the significant opportunities ahead of us and remain committed to disciplined financial returns and sustained profitable growth.”
Net sales for the second quarter 2021 increased 13.4% to $3.60 billion from $3.18 billion in the second quarter of 2020. Comparable store sales for the second quarter 2021 increased 10.5% driven by comparable transaction count and comparable average ticket growth of 4.5% and 6.0%, respectively. The increase in comparable store sales was driven by robust growth in everyday merchandise, including consumable, usable and edible (“C.U.E.”) products, and solid demand for spring and summer seasonal categories. All geographic regions and major merchandising categories of the Company reported comparable store sales growth. In addition, the Company experienced a record sales quarter in its e-commerce business.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, including depreciation and amortization, increased 13.1% to $801.6 million from $709.1 million in the second quarter of 2020. As a percent of net sales, SG&A expenses were 22.3%, a 6 basis point improvement over the prior year’s second quarter. The improvement in SG&A as a percent of net sales was primarily attributable to lower COVID-19 pandemic response costs and decreased incentive compensation as well as leverage in occupancy and other fixed costs from the increase in comparable store sales. The leverage from these SG&A expenses was partially offset by higher wage rates, additional store labor hours and investments in the Company’s strategic initiatives.
Gross profit increased 11.3% to $1.29 billion from $1.16 billion in the second quarter of 2020, and gross margin decreased 67 basis points to 35.8% from 36.4% in the prior year’s second quarter. The decrease in gross margin as a percent of net sales was primarily driven by higher transportation costs, the initial impact from the relaunch of the Company’s Neighbor’s Club loyalty program and product mix shift towards C.U.E. Partially offsetting the decrease was the Company’s price management program.
“For both the second quarter and first half of the year, the Tractor Supply team delivered exceptionally strong performance as we successfully managed through challenging comparisons from the prior year,” said Hal Lawton, Tractor Supply’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Thank you to the more than 45,000 Tractor Supply Team Members who have done an amazing job of navigating through the pandemic. I am extremely proud of their relentless dedication to each other and our customers.”
Second Quarter 2021 Results
Operating income for the second quarter of 2021 increased 8.5% to $485.9 million compared to $447.7 million in the second quarter of 2020.
The effective income tax rate was 22.8% compared to 22.9% in the prior year’s second quarter.
Net income increased 9.3% to $370.0 million from $338.7 million in the second quarter of 2020, and diluted earnings per share increased 10.0% to $3.19 from $2.90 in the prior year’s second quarter.
The Company repurchased approximately 1.1 million shares of its common stock for $203.3 million and paid quarterly cash dividends totaling $59.9 million, returning $263.2 million of capital to shareholders in the second quarter of 2021.
During the second quarter of 2021, the Company opened 11 new Tractor Supply stores and one new Petsense store and closed four Petsense stores.
First Six Months of Fiscal 2021 Results
Net sales for the first six months of 2021 increased 24.5% to $6.39 billion from $5.14 billion in the first six months of 2020. Comparable store sales increased 21.2% as compared to an increase of 19.0% in the first six months of 2020.
Gross profit increased 24.9% to $2.27 billion from $1.82 billion in the first six months of 2020, and gross margin increased to 35.5% from 35.4% in the first six months of 2020.
Net income increased 30.5% to $551.4 million from $422.5 million in the first six months of 2020, and diluted earnings per share increased 31.0% to $4.73 from $3.61 in the first six months of 2020.
Year-to-date through the second quarter, the Company has repurchased approximately 2.7 million shares of its common stock for $456.7 million and paid quarterly cash dividends totaling $120.5 million, returning $577.2 million of capital to shareholders.
The effective income tax rate was 21.5% in the first six months of 2021 compared to 22.7% in the first six months of 2020.
SG&A expenses, including depreciation and amortization, increased 23.6% to $1.55 billion from $1.26 billion in the first six months of 2020. As a percent of net sales, SG&A expenses decreased to 24.3% from 24.5% in the first six months of 2020.