Quarterly Sales Update – Fiscal Year 2018 Recap
Eastern National’s fiscal year ended October 31. Here’s a look back at our fourth-quarter sales performance and how we wrapped up the 2018 fiscal year.
There’s no doubt that the weather had a major impact upon Eastern National sales and operations throughout the 2018 fiscal year. Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Nate are the subject of frequent review meetings. As parks and forest locations slowly reopened over the winter months, we anxiously awaited sunny skies. Yet, 2018 saw one of the rainiest summers for the Mid-Atlantic region. NOAA reported, “From May through July 2018, much of the East Coast, especially the Mid-Atlantic, has been observing rain up to 300 percent of normal.”1 Visitation to national parks where Eastern National operates were down about 4.4 percent to prior year, and due to limited access to El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, sales were only 13 percent of their historical performance.
By the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, sales were rebounding in the Caribbean and both August and September sales were over prior year by about 3 percent. Hurricane Florence had a negative impact upon the Carolinas and Florida, and October performance dipped due to store closures and flooding conditions. By October 31, revenue was down -8.1 percent to budget and down -1.2 percent to prior year.
Despite some dramatic weather affecting operations, visitation, and sales, Eastern National made great strides in our strategic initiatives. Here are a few of the successes that directly affected sales performance in 2018:
- Launched the new Junior Ranger Passport program in April 2018, beginning a new interactive experience for children and their families
- Expanded our Passport To Your National Parks® product line in spring 2018 with new commemorative and apparel items
- Piloted the “Choose to Reuse” program to eliminate plastic shopping bags from select park stores
- Converted 80 percent of America’s National Parks apparel to made in USA vendors
- Reduced nearly 1,000 active vendors to create more efficient product development processes and improve gross margin of common sales items
- Continued regional realignment to build more strategic partnerships and narrow the geographical areas of most Eastern National regions
- Hosted partnership training with over 100 Cooperating Association and NPS staff members to understand mission alignment and factors that have an influence upon educational park stores
- Improved the average sale per transaction at Eastern National stores by 4.2 percent
- Exceeded budget and hit record high sales revenue in the Metro New York and National Capital regions
- Partnered with Wright Brothers National Memorial for the grand reopening of the visitor center store and a new concept Junior Aviator Store that opened October 20, 2018
We look forward to sharing what we’ve learned and building on our successes as we prepare for 2019.
Together We Climb!