Lakewood, CO—Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. has announced results for its third quarter fiscal 2021 ended June 30, 2021, and has raised its outlook for fiscal 2021 altogether.

Noting that Q3 fiscal 2020 was the early days of the pandemic, a press release lists highlights for Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020:
  • Net sales decreased 2.4% to $258.6 million;
  • Daily average comparable store sales decreased 3.6%;
  • Daily average comparable store sales on a two-year stacked basis increased 11.9%;
  • Operating income increased 5.4% to $7.0 million;
  • Net Income increased 7.3% to $5.0 million;
  • Diluted earnings per share was $0.22 compared to $0.21;
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $14.5 million compared to $14.6 million; and
  • Relocated two store locations; 1.3% new store growth rate for the twelve-month period ended June 30, 2021.
Comparing the first nine months of fiscal 2021 to the first nine months of fiscal 2020, the press release pointed to a $10.2 million increase in net sales, as a result of a $2.4 million decrease in comparable store sales and a $12.6 million increase in new store sales. During the same time period, daily average comparable store sales reflected a 6.6% increase in daily average transaction size, offset by a 6.1% decrease in daily average transaction count.

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"We are pleased with our third quarter results, as we were able to leverage our sales and improve our operating margins to drive higher year-over-year earnings," said Kemper Isely, Co-President. "Our sales strength is reflective of consumers' demand for our healthy and affordable offerings, even as alternative food options become more available. Our commitment to our founding principles—which includes offering high-quality natural and organic products, at always affordable prices, and being a resource for science-based nutritional education—has been fundamental to our success, particularly as consumers have become more focused on the importance of good nutrition as a result of their experiences during the pandemic. During the quarter, comparable store transaction count turned positive and basket size moderated as we started to see a return to pre-pandemic shopping patterns. Our basket size in the third quarter continued to be over 20% higher than the pre-pandemic level of the third quarter of 2019. Finally, our crew's execution of our operating strategies, including a commitment to exceptional customer service, was instrumental in driving our strong quarterly results."

Looking at the fiscal 2021 outlook, the company has increased its expected diluted earnings per share, noting, however, that the COVID-19 environment and related mandates continue to evolve.