Second Look at Ollie's Bargain Outlet

I first brought Ollie’s Bargain Outlets (OLLI) to the attention of this board after some light research about, oh, sixteen months ago:…

I didn’t get much feedback and kinda lost touch with the stock for a bit which is a pity, because it’s up about 110% in the interim. Since its IPO in the summer of 2015, it is up about 165%.

Ollie’s is “one of America’s largest retailers of closeout merchandise and excess inventory.” Think other discount retailers like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Big Lots, and you’re on the right track. But, because Ollie’s is far from a national presence, investors can get that extra driver of store growth as it expands its presence.

The company does not report earnings until next month, but its third quarter earnings were solid: Net sales rose to $238.1 million, an 18% increase year over year, and adjusted net earnings per share grew to $0.22, up 29%. The strong top- and bottom-line growth was driven by a mixture in same-store-sales growth of 2.1% and the opening of 33 new store locations over the trailing 12 months, good for a 14% store count increase.

Here are some quick numbers:

Net Sales (millions)			Q1		Q2		Q3		Q4
2014									150		201
2015					162		182		175		243
2016					194		211		202		283.4
2017					227.6		254.6		238.1		

EPS (adjusted)				Q1		Q2		Q3		Q4
2014									0.10		0.24
2015					0.13		0.15		0.11		0.31
2016					0.20		0.21		0.17		0.39
2017					0.25		0.27		0.22

Store Count				Q1		Q2		Q3		Q4
2014							167		173		176
2015					181		187		200		203
2016					208		216		232		234
2017					239		250		265

Comparable Same Store Sales (%)	        Q1		Q2		Q3		Q4
2015							7.8		3.2		5.0
2016					6.0		3.5		1.8		2.0
2017					1.7		4.5		2.1

2017 Q3 Net Sales Growth (millions)
2016 TTM Q3 = 850
2017 TTM Q3 = 1003.7
YOY TTM Revenue Growth = 18.1%

2017 Q3 EPS Growth (adjusted)
2016 TTM Q3 = 0.89
2017 TTM Q3 = 1.13
YOY TTM EPS Growth = 27.0%

P/E (Check Current Price) = 56.55/1.13 = 50

1YPEG = 50/27 = 1.85

Management takes pride on getting name brands at discount prices. Whether its a marketing gimmick or not, they say they can’t even advertise some of the products they carry because these brands do not want it known how cheap they are letting their products being sold at Ollie’s. From the last conference call, CEO Mark Butler commented on how strong this pipeline of cheap goods was:

[W]e are laser-focused on getting name brands at drastically reduced prices, and some of the greatest names in America are in our stores, of which I will tell you none of them. But it’s certainly exciting the consumer. They’re responding; we’re offering them bargains; we’re developing these relationships; we’re strengthening these relationships. And the entire environment – consistent with what I think I’ve said two or three quarters is, this is the best closeout buying environment that I’ve seen, and I’ve been doing this for 35 years, so – and obviously that’s in relation here to Ollie’s. So, it’s the strongest that I’ve ever seen, and our pipeline is full, our brands are big, bright, and beautiful, and they’re bargains, so I feel really good about where we’re at.

In a recent article I wrote about the company, I discussed the company’s customer loyalty program which is named Ollie’s Army:

Ollie’s Army is the company’s customer loyalty program. Customers can request a card at any Ollie’s location and, upon filling out the requisite information, begin receiving discount offers in the mail. The company publicizes the program using its characteristic humor, saying, “The bigger the cheapskate you are, the more you’ll save!” Once a year, just before Christmas, the company’s locations host Ollie’s Army Night, an evening of shopping reserved just for members of the program, with plenty of special discounts. It is consistently the company’s busiest night of the year.

In the third quarter, Ollie’s Army’s ranks swelled to 8.1 million members, a 22% increase year over year. Members of the program spend more than non-members and comprise 65% of the company’s total sales.

In a move Butler has been telegraphing for a while, the company will be adding ranks to Ollie’s Army to further engage its members this coming year. The ranks will range from one to three stars and will be dependent upon how much the customers spend and frequent Ollie’s stores. The higher the rank, the more discount offers members will receive. The move also comes as Ollie’s has added internal capabilities that will allow it to gather and compile more data on its customers’ habits.


Ollie’s finished the 3rd quarter with 265 store locations, which is up from 232 at the end of 2016’s 3Q. Management is guiding for a mid-teen percentage store count growth in 2018. It will also benefit immensely from the new tax law. Its tax rate in the 3rd quarter was 38%.

I have yet to initiate a position, but am strongly considering pulling the trigger, probably for a small position initially.

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Last night playing Scrabble, I noted that the new Scrabble Dictionary (Platinum Edition) that my parents had was purchased from Ollie’s for $1.99 (or $2.99) rather than the list price of $14.95.

Random, yes…and my dad defeated my by 3 points, despite me playing xyst on a triple word after also playing the x a few plays earlier and playing jo 2 ways (18 points for placing 1 letter). Dad had both the q and z and extended solar to solarize with a triple word as the dagger I couldn’t overcome. Older bro and my wife missed all the big point letters.


I like Olli’s and bought it with my IBD breakout strategy when it broke out from a proper base with a buy point ot $47 in late Nov. It held up sufficiently well in the recent dip, falling below the 50dma twice only to find strong support that led it to close the day above that line - very nice.

If we are forming a new base, it would be young, need 5 weeks for a flat base to be a proper base. The last high point was $58.50 right before the Feb-ebb.

Olli’s continues to have stong rankings and is #1 in its stock group.

Composite Rating 99 Pass
EPS Rating 97 Pass
RS Rating 93 Pass
Group RS Rating A+ Pass (the best!) and group is #13.
SMR Rating B Pass
Acc/Dis Rating B+ Pass

EPS due 3/28/18. Dollar General (also long), reported on 12/7 and IBD had an article with this headline Dollar General Tops Earnings Views, Raises Sales Outlook , which is good for Olli’s and probably built into the stock.

EPS % Chg (Last Qtr) 29%
Last 3 Qtrs Avg EPS Growth 27%

Qtrs of EPS Acceleration 3

EPS Est % Chg (Current Qtr) 25%
Estimate Revisions are up
Last Quarter % Earnings Surprise 4.8% (weak)

Annual earnings all strong…
3 Yr EPS Growth Rate 40%
Consecutive Yrs of Annual EPS Growth 3
EPS Est % Chg for Current Year 28%

Sales growth is weak…Sales % Chg (Last Qtr) 18%
3 Yr Sales Growth Rate 18% (show me 30%!)
Annual Pre-Tax Margin 11.0%
Annual ROE 10.0%
Debt/Equity Ratio 29%

Qtrs Of Increasing Fund Ownership 8

All that said, this feels like a shorter term stock. It is not going to take over the world or have recurring income like an SaaS stock. If you believe that, then buy it off a proper breakout from a proper base. I think that is why the board yawned at it last time.


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…when it broke out from a proper base with a buy point ot $47 in late Nov.

Hey PuddinHead42!

Please help me with this.

  • what does it mean?
  • how do you know when it happens?
  • why is it important?



Interesting pitch, Matt. Also, interesting store, too. Unfortunately, (for the bargain hunter in me)(shopper portion as opposed to investor) the nearest one to my home is 1445.13 miles away. Yet I would love to be part of Ollie’s army. (Might also put on investment watch list…)


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I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew about the IPO and knew about the stores and even had someone else mention it to me - but it took me until the mid 30s to buy. Some small thoughts:

*the stores can be a dump. No kidding - bad lighting, crummy fixtures, merchandise disorganized, etc. The book section for example - contains several stock and ETF books but from 2012 and 2014 and so forth and there is never any marking things down. They told me that their book selection actually comes in blind - they don’t know what they get before they get it, which I assume means it is cheap, cheap, cheap, and cheap. Some stores are better than others (I’ve visited maybe 10 of them total), but at times I wonder about their inventory control and markdown policies.

*for shoppers, nobody cares about the above. I mean, customers tend to be Big Lots (country and lower income) customers, with everybody looking for a bargain in an almost flea market environment. The mascot is worse than goofy looking (a country Albert Einstein) and for a while their cash registers looked like 1970 models (upgraded recently). This is a bare bones presentation, but the customers don’t care one iota.

*financiallky, this company is a machine!! Last 12m net income + da (smooths out inventory and other working capital changes) equals 93m vs. only 17m despite all those store openings. They are cheap - they are cheap in getting good deals, and they are cheap on site selection. The resulting cash flow is rapidly repaying their debt, and there is LOTS and LOTS of growth potential.

The problem though is that this really isn’t a Saul Stock if I can say that - it depends on actually making real money (no deferred sales to pump up cash flow), and it requires more stores to achieve growth, so eventually the law of large numbers will hit them and you can’t buy it on things like TAM and the like - thus, IMO, price matters - a lot!

It is already VERY well recognized, trading at 45x earnings and this multiple will surely drop over time - they could be making twice at much money and trade at 22x in a few years (course, I should point out that OLLI will be a big beneficiary of tax reform, so these numbers are overstated right now). By comparison, no growth Big Lots trades for 13x earnings.

I own the stock - what I want to see is a price drop which could be created when they pass one of those fad quarters - like with the spinners last year that drove same store sales up 4.5% and would make for a hard comparison for 2018-Q2 (FIVE could see the same thing).

I asked them about capital allocation - at some point, all the debt will be gone, and they will be generating a lot of excess cash. I got a different sort of answer - my hope is that they will, if they do so, buy their own shares with the same sort of cheap mindset they have with merchandise but the answer I got wasn’t in that direction (just one conversation), but we’ll see what they ultimately do.

I still shop the stores - absolutely love them, and I can always find a true bargain (join Olli’s Army and you get coupons - the last one we got was 15% off the entire order; not quite the 20% you get as a Buzz club member at Big Lots but getting close). I just wish I wasn’t such an idiot the first few times I went in - what matters was not how i felt about the bad lightening and presentation, but how others felt, and OLLI’s financials show you that this concept is amazingly profitable.

just 2c - read at your own risk


sorry - typo - 17m is the latest 12m CapEx

Good stuff, GreenMartianX. Thanks.

I’ve only been to one store ever, on a family road trip, and I was able to convince my wife to make a stop She likes bargain shopping so it wasn’t too hard of a sell. I would describe it as a cross between Big Lots and a thrift store.

I personally love the mascot. It has the whole “so bad it’s good” vibe going on.

The resulting cash flow is rapidly repaying their debt, and there is LOTS and LOTS of growth potential.


It is already VERY well recognized, trading at 45x earnings and this multiple will surely drop over time - they could be making twice at much money and trade at 22x in a few years (course, I should point out that OLLI will be a big beneficiary of tax reform, so these numbers are overstated right now). By comparison, no growth Big Lots trades for 13x earnings.

Both good points. The valuation is what kept me out 18 months ago and is what’s making me reluctant to buy in now but…Wow, I really feel like they have lots of room for store expansion. They are nowhere near full saturation, even in the 20 states where they already have a presence. For instance, they have stores in FL but none within 150 miles of me. Honestly, I feel like it could be similar to getting in on a Dollar General/Dollar Tree-like story early in the game. More and more, I am leaning towards starting a small position and then watch for a more opportune time.

Ollie’s is also going to benefit tremendously from the new tax laws. I believe its tax rate last quarter was 38% (going from memory).

You also gotta love what they’re doing with Ollie’s Army. I do not get the impression, though I could be wrong, that Big Lots is growing BuzzClub like this. On Big Lot’s last earnings call they didn’t break down its numbers/growth. Ditto on its annual report. Ollie’s not only talks about the awesome growth its “Army” is seeing, but looks to be expanding that data they are collecting from its core customers.

Just some more scattered thoughts. Thanks again for the feedback.

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Share price is now up over $69 per share.

Maybe I should have looked at this one closer back in February.…

Link to a February article from Matt Cochrane (Original poster in this thread):…

Recent earnings call transcript:…

Write-up from the most recent quarter, also by Matt:…


It has been on a tear! I don’t know what to make of it. Great company, rich value.