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PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PSMT) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call July 11, 2019 12:00 PM ET
Maarten Jager - CFO, EVP & Principal Accounting Officer
Sherry Bahrambeygui - CEO & Director
- Maarten Jager - 首席财务官，执行副总裁兼首席会计官
- Sherry Bahrambeygui - 首席执行官兼董事
Jonathan Braatz - Kansas City Capital Associates
Ronald Bookbinder - IFS Securities
Rodrigo Echagaray - Scotiabank
Thomas Vester - BMO Global Asset Management
Charles Carter - Ceredex Value Advisors
- Jonathan Braatz - 堪萨斯城资本协会
- Ronald Bookbinder - IFS证券
- Rodrigo Echagaray - Scotiabank
- Thomas Vester - BMO全球资产管理
- Charles Carter - Ceredex Value Advisors
Good day, everyone, and welcome to the PriceSmart Inc. Earnings Release Conference Call for the Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2019, the 3 and 9 month period ending on May 2019. [Operator Instructions]. After remarks from our company representatives, Sherry Bahrambeygui, Chief Executive Officer; and Maarten Jager, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, you will be given an opportunity to ask questions as time permits. [Operator Instructions].
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, today, Thursday, July 11, 2019. A digital replay will be available through July 18, 2019, following the conclusion of the call by dialing 1-877-344-7529 for domestic callers or 1-412-317-0088 for international callers and entering replay access code 10131782.
At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Maarten Jager. Please proceed, sir.
大家好，欢迎参加PriceSmart Inc. 2019财年第三季度的收益发布电话会议，即截止日期为2019年5月的3个月和9个月。[运营商说明]。 在我们公司代表致辞后，首席执行官Sherry Bahrambeygui; 和执行副总裁兼首席财务官Maarten Jager，您将有机会在时间允许的情况下提出问题。 [操作员说明]。
这时，我想把会议转交给Maarten Jager。 先生，请继续。
Thank you, Chris. Thank you, and welcome to our earnings call for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019. We will be discussing the information that we provided in our earnings press release and our 10-Q, both of which we released yesterday afternoon, July 10, 2019. You can find both the press release and the 10-Q filing on our website at www.pricesmart.com.
As a reminder, all statements made on this conference call, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements concerning the company's anticipated future plans, revenues and related matters. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions as of today, July 11, 2019, but are not limited to statements containing the words expect, believe, will, may, should, estimate and similar expressions. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including the risks detailed in the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 25, 2018. The company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements made during this call.
Now I will turn it over to Sherry Bahrambeygui, PriceSmart's Chief Executive Officer.
Thank you, Maarten. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Since our last call, we've been quite busy with club openings, both of which are our new smaller format designs. The first is PriceSmart Veraguas Panama, which opened on May 1. It's our first smaller format club with approximately 38,000 square feet of sales floor. And although it's still early, we're pleased with the reception of this club as indicated by strong membership sign-ups. I'd like to mention some things about club Veraguas. It's located in a more agricultural rural area, Santiago de Veraguas, Panama, about 120 miles or about 3 hours from our nearest clubs there. This club has been specifically built and merchandised with the local market characteristics in mind. We're watching it closely because if it performs as we expect, we believe this broadens our opportunity for healthy growth in secondary locations within our existing markets.
The second club opening was just 2 weeks ago. I attended in Santo Domingo's in the Dominican Republic. This smaller format club is different in the sense that it's in a densely-populated urban setting. Recognizing the demographics there, we've emphasized fresh, organics and prepared foods and more specialty items, merchandised with a more updated look and feel. There are also additional modalities that we're testing there. In club Bolívar, we are trying various newer initiative to drive sales within a smaller footprint by exercising very strong SKU discipline and leveraging technology that supports our ability to use alternative and efficient means to get merchandise to our members at a good value. This club provides us with the opportunity to see how we can drive sales within a smaller footprint.
I also want to mention that we've put real effort into green initiatives in practice with this club, including more biodegradable packaging, solar power, recycled materials for the steel superstructure and use of indigenous materials in the construction. Although it's only been 2 weeks, we're seeing higher-than-average penetration of food service sales, which we attribute to the central location and the updated offering, and we expect this to drive frequency and traffic to the club.
I have to acknowledge how impressed I am with our team that I saw firsthand in the days and nights before the opening and how meticulous they were about addressing every last detail to ensure that each of The Six Rights of Merchandising were being employed. It's really a beautiful club, and we're excited about its prospects in this urban setting.
We are also getting ready for the opening of 2 additional clubs. The next opening will be our new club in Panama City -- Panama. This will be our seventh club in Panama and will be followed by the opening of our fourth club in Guatemala located in San Cristobal. Our goal is to open both of these clubs by the peak holiday shopping season.
During Q3, we also closed on a key property in a location that we've been very excited about in Cayala, Guatemala. I'm very appreciative of our real estate operations, logistics and buying teams who have really accelerated the pace and are working very hard to basically open 4 new clubs within a 6- to 7-month period.
谢谢Maarten。大家早上好，谢谢你今天加入我们。自从我们上次召开会议以来，我们一直忙于俱乐部开幕式，这两者都是我们新的小幅面设计。第一个是5月1日开业的PriceSmart Veraguas Panama。这是我们的第一个小型俱乐部，销售面积约为38,000平方英尺。尽管现在还很早，但我们对这个俱乐部的接待感到高兴，正如强大的会员注册所表明的那样。我想提一下关于俱乐部Veraguas的一些事情。它位于巴拿马的Santiago de Veraguas农业区，距离我们最近的俱乐部约120英里或约3小时。这个俱乐部专门建造和商品化，考虑到当地市场的特点。我们正在密切关注它，因为如果它按预期执行，我们相信这会扩大我们在现有市场中的二级位置的健康增长的机会。
我们也准备开设另外2个俱乐部。下一个开幕式将是我们在巴拿马城的新俱乐部 - 巴拿马。这将是我们在巴拿马的第七家俱乐部，随后将在位于圣克里斯托瓦尔的危地马拉开设第四家俱乐部。我们的目标是在高峰假日购物季开设这两家俱乐部。
In addition to a lot of activity on the real estate front, we continue to work on the development of PriceSmart.com. Our vision is to create an omnichannel member experience that includes a comprehensive digital catalog of merchandise available to be picked up at or delivered from the club or a regional distribution center as well as merchandise that's available for delivery directly from our vendors that will -- and also we will include cross-border shipment. As we develop our omnichannel capabilities, we continue to improve upon our analytics to help us better understand our members with a focus on improving their PriceSmart experience. This is no small task and requires promoting a culture that embraces the capabilities that come with digital transformation.
Turning to supply chain. Inventory flow has improved during Q3 and through June. Inventory levels are roughly flat relative to a year ago and that with an additional club and the buildup for the Bolívar club. I personally observed the improvement firsthand when I recently visited 4 of our clubs in the Dominican. One of my early efforts was to focus on efficiency of our supply chain, and we're beginning to see results, especially with a reduction in out of stocks. We continue to dedicate efforts to evaluate the most intelligent ways to effectively flow merchandise from our vendors and DCs to our clubs and ultimately to our members, taking into consideration various factors, changing dynamics such as China tariffs and ways to maximize the optionality and resources we're building with our regional distribution centers.
Regarding memberships, we are pursuing opportunities to build more on our business membership, and we're investing resources to strengthen the value and the services that we can provide our service members. We continue to expand on ways to provide better value for our PriceSmart members, for example, we've rolled out optical services and merchandise in 7 clubs in Costa Rica, which has proven to be quite successful, and we currently plan to add another approximate 18 locations within the next fiscal year in several addition markets.
Overall, we're seeing traffic up in all countries, even Nicaragua, which continues to suffer from political instability; and Honduras, where there has been massive protests against the government; and Costa Rica, which has imposed new tax laws, which imposed VAT on certain products and that's had an impact of increasing prices. And also there is an increase on personal income tax rate at certain levels expected to go into effect this month.
So now let me turn to our results with an overview of Q3. Total revenues were $788.6 million, an increase of 0.8% over the comparable prior year period. Revenues consisted of primarily warehouse sales of $755 million, $8.3 million in export sales, $13.1 million in membership income and $12.1 million in other revenue and income.
Net merchandising sales were $755 million, an increase of 0.6% over the prior year period. Currency fluctuations had a negative 3.7% impact on net merchandise sales. Comparable net merchandise sales in our 40 clubs opened more than 13.5 month decreased by 0.8%, with currency fluctuations impacting comparable sales negatively by 3.8%. As a reminder, we ended this quarter, Q3, with 42 warehouse clubs compared to 41 clubs at the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2018.
除了房地产方面的大量活动外，我们还继续致力于PriceSmart.com的开发。我们的愿景是建立一个全方位渠道成员的经验，其中包括可用商品的全面的数字目录在被拾起，或从俱乐部或区域配送中心和商品，对于交付是直接从我们的供应商交付的意志 - 和我们还将包括跨境装运。随着我们开发全渠道功能，我们将继续改进我们的分析，以帮助我们更好地了解我们的会员，重点是改善其PriceSmart体验。这不是一项小任务，需要推广一种包含数字化转型能力的文化。
Net income for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 was $14.1 million or $0.46 per share compared to $18.7 million or $0.61 per share in the comparable period last year. This year's result includes a $0.09 per share impact from a combination of our ongoing investments in the development of our omnichannel platform and technological capabilities, costs associated with the acquisition we made in March 2018 and the operations of the legacy business associated with that acquisition.
Turning now to sales by segment. The Central American segment, where we had 23 clubs at quarter end, had a 1.2% decrease in total merchandise sales and a 1.8% decrease in comparable sales. Sales were impacted by what we believe is general weakness in the economies in Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua, some of those that I described a little earlier. These countries contributed approximately 1.5% of the total comparable sales decrease. The impact of currency on total and comparable sales to the Central American segment were each negative 3.0%.
Turning to Caribbean. The Caribbean segment, where we had 12 clubs at quarter end, had total merchandise sales growth of 6.5% with comparable sales growth of 2.9%. Jamaica and Trinidad led the way in the segment reporting strong -- with strong same-store sales growth of approximately 12.6% and 2.9%, respectively, and contributed 70 positive basis points to overall comparable sales. Aruba and USVI were also positive contributors, while same-store sales were adversely affected in the DR by the opening of the San Isidro stored. The San Isidro store, which is not included in same-store sales, cannibalized sales from other clubs that are included in the calculation, which had a negative impact on net comparable sales of approximately 50 basis points. The impact of currency on both total and comparable sales to the Caribbean segment was negative 1.1%.
And last, Colombia, where we had 7 clubs at quarter end, had a 3.9% decrease year-over-year with a comparable sales decline of 4.5%. The impact of currency on total and comparable sales in Colombia was significant. It was negative 13% and 13. -- negative 13.3%, respectively.
In terms of merchandise category highlights, we saw sales increase in our overall U.S. foods and fresh foods. We saw strong growth in our seafood, deli and meat departments. We had U.S. dollar comp growth in categories including canned seafood, soda and beverages, pet supplies, tires and small appliances. We were flat to slightly lower in local foods and nonfoods.
With regard to membership, we finished the quarter with approximately 1.6 million account, which is a 2.4% increase fiscal year-to-date. Membership income was up by 2.2% during the quarter. The 12-month renewal rate at the end of May was consistent at 85%. In addition, the Platinum program grew 45% year-over-year and has now been rolled out in Panama, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, USVI, Honduras, Jamaica and Barbados. Platinum memberships represented almost 3% of our total membership base. And as you can see, our membership base continues to grow. It's a good sign for our unique business model, especially considering that we are weathering some headwinds in many of these markets.
转向加勒比海。加勒比地区，我们在季末有12家俱乐部，商品销售总额增长6.5％，销售额同比增长2.9％。牙买加和特立尼达在该部门的报告中处于领先地位 - 同店销售额分别增长约12.6％和2.9％，并为整体可比销售贡献了70个正基点。 Aruba和USVI也是积极的贡献者，而同样的商店销售在DR中因San Isidro的开业而受到不利影响。 San Isidro商店不包括在同店销售中，从计算中包含的其他俱乐部中蚕食销售，这对可比销售净额约50个基点产生负面影响。货币对加勒比地区的总销售额和可比销售额的影响为负1.1％。
Turning quickly to June sales, which were released this week. Net merchandise sales were $253.1 million, an increase of 3.9% versus a year ago. FX fluctuations negatively impacted merchandise sales by 3%. For the 4 weeks ended June 30, 2019, comparable net merchandise sales increased by 1.9% with a negative FX impact of 3.1%.
In closing, we have confidence in our business model, and we're encouraged by the loyalty of our members and the reception we're seeing in our new location. With our disciplined focus on the Six Rights and by continuing to challenge ourselves to operate more efficiently at every level of the company, we believe we'll be able to drive significant revenue growth from same-store sales over time. We also believe that by adding new sources of growth from new clubs and new formats in conjunction with our digital omnichannel capabilities that we're strengthening our foundation to drive membership and shareholder value.
Once again, I want to especially recognize and thank our approximately 9,100 employees internationally for their dedication and commitment to our company.
Thank you for your time. I'll now turn the call over to Maarten Jager, our Chief Financial Officer, who'll go into further detail about our third quarter results.
Thank you, Sherry. Starting with margins. Merchandise margins for the period came in at 13.9% versus 14.6% a year ago. Total gross margins decreased to 16.1% from 16.6% a year ago, mainly due to lower net merchandise margins along with lower margins on non-merchandise revenue from our legacy Aeropost business, which decreased the gross margin to total revenues ratio by approximately 10 basis points, offset by 30 basis points of margin increase due to the payment and reclassification of shared income generated from co-branded cards.
SG&A to the total business was 13.3% versus 12.9% a year ago. Warehouse club and other operations expense increased by approximately 20 basis points due to the opening of the new Veraguas club in Panama. The remaining increase is attributable to pre-opening expenses for the 2 clubs that had already been opened by the close of Q3 and for the 2 other clubs which will be opened after Q3. Operating income was $22 million, 2.8% of total revenue versus $28.4 million or 3.6% of total revenue a year ago. Operating income for the core warehouse club business decreased to $25.9 million versus $29.9 million a year ago, again largely due to the lower net merchandise margins as well as the higher pre-opening expenses for the 4 clubs in 1 calendar year.
Moving on to tax. For the quarter, the effective tax rate was 34.7%. The increase versus the 30.3% rate in the same quarter last year was driven largely by the loss of tax asset value incidental to U.S. tax reform impacting us by 6.4%, partially offset by the adjustment of costs incurred to expand our omnichannel capabilities of 2.2%. Consistent with our estimates in Q2, we currently expect the full year tax rate to be 36%. This is higher than our first 3 quarters primarily due to timing of the effects from U.S. tax reform. Recall from the last earnings call that Aeropost, the acquisition we made in March of 2018, consists of both the legacy business and our investment in the pricesmart.com digital platform, which we believe will drive member value in coordination with our warehouse clubs and distribution footprint.
The legacy Aeropost business adversely impacted net income by $1.0 million for the quarter. The investments into our digital platform during the past quarter adversely impacted net income by $1.8 million. And finally, as I've mentioned before, there are the acquisition-related accounting impacts, which adversely impacted net income by $0.1 million for the quarter. The total of these 3 buckets is $2.9 million of net income impact or $0.09 per share.
Moving on to the balance sheet, which remains very strong. The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $114.0 million, an increase of $17.1 million during the first 9 months of the year. During the first 9 months, cash provided by operating activities was $113 million versus $90.8 million in the same quarter last year for a favorable swing of $22.2 million. This was primarily due to improved working capital.
Net cash used in investing activities declined by $81.2 million primarily due to the nonrecurring business acquisition purchase last year, in other words, the Aeropost acquisition of $29 million, along with significantly fewer purchases of short-term investments. Investing activities for this year were primarily associated with the construction of our 4 new warehouse clubs, again Veraguas, Metropark, Bolívar and San Cristobal that's in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, respectively. Net cash used in financing activities increased $9.1 million primarily due to the regularly scheduled loan payments.
In summary, we've seen some headwinds in U.S. dollar reported sales, which were largely impacted by a continuation of foreign currency devaluation. The fundamentals of our business as evidenced by our membership counts and renewal rates, our constant currency sales overall reinforce that we have a strong business model and significant growth opportunities. We will continue to focus on the Six Rights, driving same-store sales, delivering on our announced real estate pipeline and launching and continuing to develop our digitally-enabled omnichannel platform. Our balance sheet, liquidity and cash flow remains strong, which provides a solid foundation for driving same-store sales and future growth that will benefit our members and shareholders alike.
Operator, we will now turn it over to Q&A.
总之，我们看到美元报告的销售出现了一些逆风，这主要受到外汇贬值影响的影响。 我们的会员数和续订率证明了我们业务的基本面，我们的恒定货币销售总体上强化了我们拥有强大的业务模式和重要的增长机会。 我们将继续专注于六权，推动同店销售，交付我们宣布的房地产管道，并启动并继续开发我们的数字化全渠道平台。 我们的资产负债表，流动性和现金流仍然强劲，为推动同店销售和未来增长奠定了坚实的基础，这将使我们的会员和股东都受益。
[Operator Instructions]. Our first question comes from Jon Braatz of Kansas City Capital.
[操作员说明]。 我们的第一个问题来自堪萨斯城资本的Jon Braatz。
Let's turn in to gross margins a little bit. Gross margins -- merchandise margins came in at 13.9% -- or I should say warehouse margins came in at 13.9%. That was the lowest we've seen since May of 2016 or third quarter of 2016, when you had a -- had to reduce margins to move some merchandise. Is this something -- is this at sort of a new level of margins that we're looking at? Has there been a change in competitive conditions? I know you're trying to drive same-store sales but is this something that we should be looking to see continue, a little bit pressure on margins?
让我们稍微谈谈毛利润率。 毛利率 - 商品利润率为13.9％ - 或者我应该说仓库利润率为13.9％。 这是我们自2016年5月或2016年第三季度以来的最低点，当时你有一个 - 不得不降低利润以转移一些商品。 这是什么 - 这是我们正在考虑的一种新的利润水平吗？ 竞争条件有变化吗？ 我知道你正在努力推动同店销售，但这是我们应该期待看到的东西，对利润有点压力吗？
In short, the answer is that is not our expectation. We are focused on margins. We had clearly some competitive dynamics that we addressed, but also in focusing on improving our inventory flow, there were certain markdowns that took place that allowed us to improve on the flow and help drive sales. But the short answer is, no, there is focus on margins and there is an expectation that we'll be able to increase margin going forward. Maarten, do you want to expand on that?
简而言之，答案是不是我们的期望。 我们专注于利润率。 我们已经明确了解了我们所处理的一些竞争动态，同时也注重改善我们的库存流量，发生了一些降价促使我们改进流程并帮助推动销售。 但简短的回答是，不，重点关注利润率，并且期望我们能够提高利润率。 马腾，你想扩大吗？
Thanks, Sherry. No, that's exactly right. We are focused on it, and we're expecting to improve on it. Let me just give you a little bit more color on it, some context. We saw some of this margin erosion in all of our regions. Colombia -- so there's 70 basis points that you see in the numbers of reduction, about 10 of that came in Colombia, about 40 in Central America and about 20 in the Caribbean. But then -- so that's a geographic breakdown. If you were to look at it from different drivers, there's a bit of FX in there that impacted us. There was also, as Sherry mentioned, markdowns that we took to clear up our inventory, particularly, of course, in nonfoods.
So we took some markdowns there. And the good news from that, and Sherry mentioned it earlier in her remarks is, that that's behind us. Our inventory is roughly flat year-over-year at the end of May 31 and that's with an additional club open and with the Bolívar club that, while it wasn't opened as of May 31, was already receiving build-up inventory in anticipation of its operating. Sherry also mentioned that in visiting the DR, she saw that there was less and there was more open steel and things were flowing better. So the other factor, there are some competitive pressure, but I would not say that's the primary factor, particularly in one of our markets in the Caribbean, John. So then stepping back, we are monitoring it, we are managing it. We've cleared up the inventory, that's clear. We're asking also some additional questions in terms of sourcing and working with our suppliers. We're looking at the mix of imported versus local, and just making sure that we exercise pricing discipline. And all of this, of course, needs to be done with member value in mind and the competitive dynamics. But in short, as Sherry summarized, this is not the new normal, and we think we can improve upon it.
谢谢，雪莉。不，这是完全正确的。我们专注于它，我们期待它的改进。在某些情况下，让我给你一点颜色。我们在所有地区看到了部分利润率的下降。哥伦比亚 - 所以你看到减少的数量有70个基点，其中大约10个来自哥伦比亚，大约40个来自中美洲，大约20个来自加勒比地区。但那时 - 这是一个地理分解。如果你从不同的司机那里看一下，那里有一些影响我们的FX。正如雪莉所提到的那样，还有我们用来清理我们库存的降价促销，当然，特别是在非食品中。
Yes. We do have a strong focus, and we are looking market by market very specifically at all aspects, including the competitive landscapes, the cost of doing business. So there is a very concerted focus on making sure that margins are set appropriately with all of the relevant factors in mind and all within the discipline of delivering good value to our members. So there's a very disciplined approach we're taking to looking at margins going forward. And so I would not expect that you would see the same that you have in the last quarter.
是。 我们确实非常关注，我们在各个方面都非常具体地看市场，包括竞争格局，经营成本。 因此，我们非常注重确保利润率得到适当考虑所有相关因素，以及为我们的会员提供良好价值的所有内容。 因此，我们正在采取一种非常严谨的方法来研究未来的利润率。 所以我不希望你会看到你在上一季度所拥有的相同。
Maarten, Sherry. If you were to may be excelled some of these in the quarter some of these onetime items, you mentioned the markdowns and so on so forth, is there any sense -- or can you give us a sense as to what those onetime items maybe amounted to in terms of reducing margin?
马腾，雪利酒。 如果你在本季度的某些项目中可能会出类拔萃的一些，你提到了降价等等，是否有任何意义 - 或者你能否让我们了解一下这些一次性物品的含量是多少？ 在减少保证金方面？
Let me try to help you in part. So we have mentioned markdowns in nonfoods and cleaning up some of the inventory. That contributed about 30 to 35 basis points roughly, okay, of the 70 basis points, all right? But the rest of it, I don't have it on my fingertips, but I think it would give you a pretty good indication.
让我试着帮助你。 所以我们已经提到非食品中的降价和清理一些库存。 这基本上贡献了大约30到35个基点，好吧，70个基点，好吗？ 但其余部分，我没有触手可及，但我认为这会给你一个很好的指示。
Okay. All right. I appreciate that. And then 1 final question. Sherry, you talked about the new location in Panama and using a lot more local merchandise. Compared to your other stores, how much of it did -- what percentage of your merchandise net stores are locally derived? I'm curious as to sort of the relative difference between the big stores and this one?
好的。 行。 我很感激。 然后是最后一个问题。 雪利酒，你谈到了巴拿马的新地点，并使用了更多的本地商品。 与您的其他商店相比，其中有多少商品 - 您商品网店的百分比是在本地获得的？ 我很好奇大型商店和这个商店之间的相对差异？
So I don't know that I've said anything about local merchandise, and you're talking about the Veraguas club right now that it's in more of an agricultural rural area [indiscernible].
Yes. Yes, exactly.
No. I think the statement that I made that we're focused on meeting the member needs of that type of demographic, which is very distinct, for example, from the membership that we have in the Bolívar location just by way of comparison. But with the type of agriculture that's out there and the products that they need in terms of machinery or [indiscernible]
Okay. I'm sorry, I misinterpreted what you had said. When you look at stores such as this and if it is proved successful, how might that expand your location opportunities across your markets?
好的。 对不起，我误解了你说的话。 当您查看此类商店并证明其成功时，如何扩大您在整个市场的位置机会？
Well, it's too early to tell. I mean to be perfectly honest, personally, I'm excited about the prospects, but it really is too early to tell. Because if it's something that we feel can perform at the level that we are expecting Veraguas to perform, it really does open our minds up to other geographic areas, other towns that have not been the subject of our focus so much in the past. Because the properties less expensive in these areas, the footprint can be a bit smaller. If we can tailor and meet the needs of our members in these locations, it does open doors. It opens doors for us to consider markets that really haven't been on our radar screen before. But I don't want to overstate it, because we really want to make sure that we're doing this right and it's performing as expected. And based on those results, we're going to build on the positives. But I do see that it sets up an opportunity for good growth.
那么，现在说还为时过早。 我的意思是完全诚实，就个人而言，我对前景感到兴奋，但现在还为时过早。 因为如果我们认为这可以在我们期待Veraguas执行的水平上发挥作用，那么它确实打开了我们的思想，直到其他地理区域，其他城镇过去并没有成为我们关注的主题。 由于这些区域的性能较低，因此占地面积可能会小一些。 如果我们能够在这些地方量身定制并满足我们会员的需求，那么它确实打开了大门。 它为我们打开了大门，让我们可以考虑以前真正没有出现在我们雷达屏幕上的市场。 但我不想夸大它，因为我们确实希望确保我们正确地做到这一点并且它的表现如预期的那样。 基于这些结果，我们将在积极的基础上进一步发展。 但我确实看到它为良好的增长创造了机会。
Our next question comes from Ronald Bookbinder of IFS Securities.
Thank you for the additional color on the merchandise gross margin, but why the lower gross margin on the Aeropost business versus last year?
Ron, I'm going to have to give get back to you on that one.
Okay. No problem.
Late this afternoon.
And just to give you a piece of information, we've discussed the fact that earlier in this process as we're building our pricesmart.com, we are using the aeropost.com site to test certain things before we migrate over to the markets -- I'm sorry, to pricesmart.com. So there has been some effort to drive some of the activity over to pricesmart.com once we've proven that something is working well. So what we're finding frankly, Ronald, is that the activities of aeropost.com and PriceSmart are becoming a little bit more blurred as it should over time. So I don't think we've called out specifically that information, but Maarten can get back to you following that. But I just wanted to give you some background on what's happening.
为了给您提供一些信息，我们已经讨论了这个过程早期我们正在构建pricemart.com的事实，我们在迁移到市场之前使用aeropost.com网站测试某些事情 - 对不起，对pricemart.com。 因此，一旦我们证明某些事情运作良好，我们已经做了一些努力将一些活动推向了pricemart.com。 所以我们坦率地说，罗纳德，是因为随着时间的推移，aeropost.com和PriceSmart的活动变得越来越模糊。 所以我认为我们并没有特别提到这些信息，但Maarten可以在此之后再回复你。 但我只想给你一些关于正在发生的事情的背景知识。
Okay. And in Colombia, right now, you're having just a tough FX situation down there, but what is the overall view of Colombia? It doesn't seem like you guys have opened a store there since Chía in September of 2016. With these new smaller format stores, could we see a ramping up in Colombia? And do you guys still have a real estate office in Bogotá?
好的。 现在，在哥伦比亚，你在那里遇到了一个严峻的外汇形势，但哥伦比亚的总体看法是什么？ 自2016年9月Chía以来，你们似乎没有在那里开过一家商店。通过这些新的小型商店，我们能看到哥伦比亚的增长吗？ 你们还在波哥大还有一个房地产办公室吗？
We are active in pursuing real estate and looking for opportunities to grow in Colombia. We believe in that market. No doubt, the FX fluctuations, and the currency devaluation there has been a challenge for us. We're well received there, membership is strong. The -- if you look in constant currency, our same-store sales comps are doing well. The issue for us right now is that we're trying to, one, as you know, real estate is obviously a challenge there. But yes, with a small format, it opens up more opportunities for us to find more suitable locations. And then a separate point I wanted to make was with regard to your comment on the effect of the currency. We're also looking for ways to be smarter about matching up some of our expenses and for the company and with merchandise with the revenue that we generate through sales. So we're not being passive in terms of the Colombia FX effect. We are looking to source more merchandise locally. Colombia is a very developed market. It's one where we can source exciting merchandise not only for that market, but expand exports into other markets. And we're looking for smart ways to be able to naturally hedge, if you will, some of the impact of the negative FX. So we are very, very committed to Colombia, not just in terms of expanding clubs, but cultivating resources that will strengthen the company overall.
我们积极寻求房地产，并寻找在哥伦比亚发展的机会。我们相信这个市场。毫无疑问，外汇波动以及货币贬值对我们来说是一个挑战。我们在那里很受欢迎，会员资格很强。 - 如果你看一下不变的货币，我们的同店销售额也很好。我们现在面临的问题是，我们正在努力，如你所知，房地产显然是一个挑战。但是，对于小格式，它为我们提供了更多寻找更合适位置的机会。然后，我想提出的另一点就是你对货币影响的评论。我们也正在寻找方法，更智能地将我们的一些开支，公司和商品与我们通过销售产生的收入相匹配。因此，就哥伦比亚外汇效应而言，我们并非被动。我们希望在本地采购更多商品。哥伦比亚是一个非常发达的市场我们不仅可以为该市场提供令人兴奋的商品，还可以将出口扩大到其他市场。我们正在寻找聪明的方法，以便能够自然地对冲，如果你愿意，还可以对负外汇的一些影响进行对冲。因此，我们非常非常致力于哥伦比亚，不仅仅是扩大俱乐部，而是培养能够加强公司整体发展的资源。
Okay. And you guys have been performing actually -- your core business has been performing actually very well if you back out the FX impact. And now you've got this exciting opportunity of the smaller stores going into new markets. Given the lower valuation of your stock, I know you don't have a share repurchase program and your Q states that you don't expect to have one going forward, but given where the stock is, why wouldn't the Board consider an authorization?
好的。 而且你们实际上一直在表现 - 如果你退出外汇影响，你的核心业务实际上表现得非常好。 现在，您已经获得了小型商店进入新市场的这一令人兴奋的机会。 鉴于您的股票估值较低，我知道您没有股票回购计划，而您的Q表示您不希望有一个股票回购计划，但鉴于该股票的位置，董事会为何不考虑授权？
Our first prior to is to make this company as strong as it possibly can be. That's where all efforts are focused at this time. And beyond that, I really don't have any other comment on it, other than real estate, and that there is a potential for real estate there that we can explore.
我们的第一个目标是使这家公司尽可能地强大。 这就是目前所有努力都集中的地方。 除此之外，我真的没有任何其他评论，除了房地产，并且我们可以探索那里的房地产潜力。
I think a great question. We generate, as you know, a lot of operating cash flow from our business, and we have -- we've continued to believe that we have a lot of growth opportunity ahead of us in a number of markets, which, of course, requires significant real estate investment. And so our first focus -- in the broader context, our focus is to do same-store sales, is to grow in new markets with new real estate, is to invest in our supply chain to back it up and it's to do omnichannel. And so our first protocol for the operating casual is to invest in our future growth.
I'll come back to you with a little bit more detail on the Aeropost margins, but there was a reclassification from G&A to COGS that started in the fourth quarter of 2018, which creates a bit of a comparability issue quarter-over-quarter. But I'll follow-up with a more thorough answer.
我想是一个很好的问题。 正如您所知，我们已经从我们的业务中产生了大量的经营现金流，我们已经 - 我们仍然相信我们在许多市场中有很多增长机会，当然， 需要大量的房地产投资。 所以我们的第一个焦点 - 在更广泛的背景下，我们的重点是做同店销售，在新市场中发展新房地产，是投资我们的供应链来支持它，而且是做全渠道。 因此，我们的第一个经营休闲协议是投资于我们未来的增长。
Would we expect that continue in the future quarters?
Yes. The reclassification would continue to hit us, but I -- as I said, I'll follow-up with you. Thanks for those questions.
是。 重新分类将继续打击我们，但我 - 正如我所说，我会跟进你。 谢谢你的问题。
The next question comes from Rodrigo Echagaray of Scotiabank.
Sherry and Maarten. I guess, two question from -- on my end. On the one hand, it sounds like the new formats are promising early stages, but sounds like that's the case. And so far, I think we've touched on the opportunity of smaller cities, maybe more urban areas. But what about new countries? Do you guys think that is also something that should be more likely as a result of these new formats?
雪利酒和马腾。 我想，两个问题 - 在我的结尾。 一方面，听起来新格式是有希望的早期阶段，但听起来就是这样。 到目前为止，我认为我们已经触及了小城市的机会，也许更多的是城市地区。 但新国家呢？ 您是否认为这些新格式更可能出现这种情况？
Yes. Not just because of the new formats, but because of the digital capabilities that allow us to potentially test new markets. So as part of our ongoing efforts generally, we are evaluating opportunities that exist in additional countries. So really don't have anything more on that at this point.
是。 不仅仅是因为新格式，还因为数字功能使我们可以测试新市场。 因此，作为我们正在进行的总体努力的一部分，我们正在评估其他国家存在的机会。 所以在这一点上真的没有更多的东西。
And is that related to the analytics that you guys now have as result of Aeropost and the online initiatives that you feel like that data is -- could potentially help you find new countries better? Is that -- would that be a correct assessment?
这与您现在拥有的Aeropost所带来的分析以及您认为数据的在线计划相关 - 是否有可能帮助您更好地找到新的国家？ 那是 - 这是一个正确的评估吗？
It's not so much as the analytics. I'm sure analytics can play into this, but it's also the ability potentially down the road through omnichannel and the technological capabilities that support omnichannel that would allow us to test different markets and the reception in different markets of the PriceSmart brand or basically the PriceSmart model and the merchandise that we provide.
它不像分析那么多。 我确信分析可以发挥作用，但它也可能通过全渠道和支持全渠道的技术能力，可以让我们测试不同的市场和不同市场的PriceSmart品牌或基本上PriceSmart 模型和我们提供的商品。
Okay. Got it. And if I take us back, there's a lot of progress on working capital, there's new formats, there seems to be a bit of a slight pickup in store openings. And so what would you say, Sherry, is your top priority for, say, next fiscal year and maybe midterm? I mean, there's a lot of things happening. It sounds like some of these are very promising initiatives. But what would you say would be your top priority for next year?
好的。 得到它了。 如果我把我们带回去，营运资金有很多进步，有新格式，商店开业似乎有点小幅上升。 所以，你会说，雪莉，你是下一财年，也许是期中的首要任务？ 我的意思是，发生了很多事情。 听起来其中一些是非常有前景的举措。 但是你会说明年你的首要任务是什么？
We continue to put substantial efforts in -- on the real estate side hand in hand with the development of our digital transformation. And as we see that in a relationship, we want to really strengthen that interrelationship between the digital capabilities with the brick-and-mortar to be able to maximize our opportunity to flow merchandise in the most cost-effective manner to the members. So it's holistic and it's all interrelated. We're also duly focused on building our people, investing in our people and strengthening further our management team so that we have the capabilities and the bandwidth to be able to continue to grow without being distracted or taking away from what we're doing very well.
随着数字化转型的发展，我们将继续在房地产方面做出实质性的努力。 正如我们在关系中看到的那样，我们希望真正加强数字化能力与实体之间的相互关系，以便最大限度地提高我们以最具成本效益的方式向会员流动商品的机会。 所以它是整体的，而且都是相互关联的。 我们也非常注重建立我们的员工，投资于我们的员工并进一步加强我们的管理团队，以便我们拥有能力和带宽，能够继续发展而不会分心或从我们正在做的事情中脱离 好。
Okay. And maybe, Maarten, on the same-store sales of the most recent announcement, what else would you say are some of the takeaways? I mean there was an uptick on the number. Anything interesting that maybe you can touch on in terms of some of the regions or trends relative to the previous months? I mean I think the FX, obviously, probably is still impacting negatively. But other than that, anything else that you're seeing on the latest print that might be worth touching on?
好的。 也许，Maarten，就最近公告的同店销售情况而言，你还有什么其他的收获？ 我的意思是数字上升了。 你可以谈谈一些有关前几个月的某些地区或趋势的有趣事情吗？ 我的意思是，我认为FX显然可能仍然会产生负面影响。 但除此之外，您在最新的印刷品上看到的其他任何可能值得一提的东西？
Roderigo, are you referring to the June sales release or are you referring to...
Okay. I think the June sales release speaks for itself. It's 1 month of good sales. It was well received by the market. We see some continuing momentum here in the early parts of July, but I want to be very cautious with that statement. We also are managing -- as Sherry and I have both addressed in our earlier comments, we're also addressing our margins better. So that's coming in well. We see a little bit less of devaluation impact recently and particularly in Colombia for the month. I mean it's still significant, but relative to what is, it's abated a little bit. And yes, I think that's about as far as I would want to go.
好的。 我认为6月的销售发布不言自明。 这是1个月的良好销售。 它深受市场欢迎。 我们在7月初看到了一些持续的势头，但我希望对这一说法非常谨慎。 我们也在管理 - 正如Sherry和我在之前的评论中都提到的那样，我们也在更好地解决利润问题。 所以这很好。 我们最近看到的货币贬值影响有所减少，尤其是哥伦比亚本月的货币贬值影响。 我的意思是它仍然很重要，但相对于它来说，它有点减弱了。 是的，我认为这就是我想要的。
The next question comes from Thomas Vester of LGM.
Just on the margin, and maybe I can ask it a little bit differently, how much -- what should we -- what same-store sales level should you be at before you're comfortable on seeing margins sort of trending back to what you historically had? So I'm trying to understand what level because clearly, the same-store sales in US dollars is beneficial for margin. But what level do you feel it takes to really see that swing back in margin because it has been compressed for quite a while?
只是在边缘，也许我可以稍微区别一点，多少 - 我们应该怎么样 - 在你看到利润率回归到你之前，你应该在哪个同店销售水平？ 历史上有过吗？ 因此，我试图了解什么水平，因为很明显，以美元计算的同店销售额有利于保证金。 但是你认为真正看到它在保证金中回归的程度是多少，因为它已被压缩了很长一段时间？
Well. I appreciate the intent behind the question and trying to link sales to margin. Obviously, there is a relationship. But first and foremost, we're focusing on driving same-store sales through excellent merchandise. You know, I'm sure from studying our business model and we know that the business model works best when you have same-store sales kind of in the middle single digits to higher because then you start to leverage your expenses, your variable expenses that increase with inflation and wage increases, et cetera, as well as the fixed increases. And that allows you then to reinvest in the value proposition. So I don't want to draw an explicit link between the two, although, I understand the intent behind your question. With same-store sales that we're driving, we're focused on excellent merchandise. We've cleared out some of what we had in excess in Q3. That in and of itself, of course, when you don't need to market down, will help your same-store sales, right? And -- but really at the root of it is just to make sure that we have an excellent merchandising offering for our members.
好。我很欣赏这个问题背后的意图，并尝试将销售额与利润挂钩。显然，有一种关系。但首要的是，我们专注于通过优质商品推动同店销售。你知道，我确信通过研究我们的商业模式，我们知道当你的同店销售类型处于中间个位数以上时，商业模式最有效，因为那时你开始利用你的开支，你的可变开支随着通货膨胀和工资增长等增加，以及固定增长。这使您可以再投资于价值主张。所以我不想在两者之间画出明确的联系，不过，我理解你的问题背后的意图。通过我们正在推动的同店销售，我们专注于优秀的商品。我们已经清除了第三季度过剩的一些东西。当然，当你不需要向下销售时，这本身就可以帮助你的同店销售，对吗？而且 - 但真正的根本就是确保我们为会员提供优质的商品推销服务。
Okay. Great. Makes sense. Just on -- my second question is on the more rural store in Panama that you touched upon, Sherry. I mean 2 questions. First of all, when you say in terms of the evaluation that it's too early, but you see some promising sign, can you tell us something about when do you expect to be able to evaluate it? And secondly, what is it that you are looking for? I mean obviously, there's a number of factors. But it could be interesting to hear what you're really evaluating on what are the key parameters that will tell you whether or not this is something you should decide to go ahead with elsewhere or not? So those 2 things would be helpful to get some clarity on.
好的。 大。 说得通。 刚刚开始 - 我的第二个问题是关于你在巴拿马的农村商店，Sherry。 我是说2个问题。 首先，当你在评价方面说这太早了，但是你看到了一些有希望的迹象时，你能告诉我们一些关于你什么时候能够评估它的信息吗？ 其次，你在寻找什么？ 我的意思是，有很多因素。 但是听听你真正在评估什么是关键参数可能会很有趣，这些参数会告诉你这是否应该决定在其他地方继续进行？ 所以这两件事有助于弄清楚。
Well. The evaluation is ongoing. And obviously, one of the threshold questions is relative to the investment that was required in order to build the club and what it costs to run the club, the type of sales that we can generate out of that smaller footprint and sales per square foot, those are things that we watch closely. And to the extent that we can grow sales with less of a real estate investment as a results of being in a secondary market and other savings that come along with a smaller footprint, that is a metric that we would play close attention to and see if the returns are within our threshold -- our required threshold that would allow us to have some confidence going forward with other locations.
好。 评估正在进行中。 显然，其中一个门槛问题与建立俱乐部所需的投资以及运营俱乐部的成本相关，我们可以通过较小的占地面积和每平方英尺的销售额产生的销售类型， 那些是我们密切关注的事情。 在某种程度上，我们可以通过减少房地产投资来增加销售额，因为它是二级市场的结果，而其他节省的空间也更小，这是一个我们会密切关注的指标，看看是否 回报在我们的门槛之内 - 我们要求的门槛，这将使我们对其他地点有信心。
Yes. Okay. And then that brings me to part 2 related to that. Because I guess, the bottleneck is for a long time and also that's been the explantation, I guess, pre you becoming CEO and Maarten you CFO, has been one the biggest bottlenecks for PriceSmart has been sourcing real estate, especially in Colombia, but also other places. In -- I would assume, but I guess, that's my question, whether or not I'm right, that your model should be much more fast scalable if it proved to be something that you want to roll out in the second-tier cities because real estate as a bottleneck should be much less because it should be easier to source in these cities. So you should be able to fast track that. But maybe that's the wrong assumption.
是。 好的。 然后，这将我带到与此相关的第2部分。 因为我猜，瓶颈已经很长一段时间了，而且这也就是外在化，我想，在你成为首席执行官之前，Maarten是你的首席财务官，一直是PriceSmart采购房地产的最大瓶颈，特别是在哥伦比亚，也是 其他地方。 在 - 我会假设，但我想，这是我的问题，无论我是否正确，如果你想要在二线城市推出你的模型应该更加快速可扩展 因为房地产作为瓶颈应该少得多，因为它应该更容易在这些城市中采购。 所以你应该能够快速跟踪它。 但也许这是错误的假设。
That's certainly the hope. I mean, I'm sure, you've noted on the last 3 investment calls that at least we've focused on the challenge of real estate for the company and how -- because of the cost associated with being in some of the central areas where we already do business that real estate was becoming a more challenging barrier for us, and we're finding ways to solve for that. And one of the explicit approaches that we shared with the investment community was we were going to look for ways to do it by way of bringing down our cost in real estate through smaller formats where appropriate, where markets could support the type of sales that would justify the investment. And also by investing in our omnichannel capabilities to see if we can get merchandise to our members without the need for so much real estate by -- whether it's delivery directly from the merchants and from -- I'm sorry, from the vendors or through e-commerce. But using all these different approaches to reduce the cost of real estate so that we could have a healthy profit as a result of these additional clubs.
这当然是希望。我的意思是，我敢肯定，你已经注意到最近3次投资电话，至少我们专注于公司的房地产挑战以及如何 - 因为在一些中心的相关成本我们已经开展业务的领域，房地产正在成为我们面临的更具挑战性的障碍，我们正在寻找解决方案。我们与投资界分享的一种明确方法是，我们将通过适当的较小格式降低房地产成本来寻找方法，市场可以支持销售类型。证明投资是合理的。此外，通过投资我们的全渠道能力，看看我们是否可以在不需要太多房地产的情况下向我们的会员购买商品 - 无论是直接从商家发货还是来自 - 我很抱歉，来自供应商或通过电子商务。但是使用所有这些不同的方法来降低房地产成本，以便我们可以通过这些额外的俱乐部获得健康的利润。
Yes. Okay. Makes sense. And just staying on real estate, you're right, Sherry, that we have seen a pickup in, I guess, sourcing of new sites and converting that into new stores since you became CEO. Can you talk a little bit about what you've done to the team there? I mean has there been additional resources put in? Has there been change to resource? Or has -- I mean it's just -- it definitely seems like that something has happened.
是。 好的。 说得通。 而且只是留在房地产，你是对的，雪莉，我猜，自从你成为首席执行官以来，我们已经看到了新网站的采购并将其转换为新的商店。 你能谈谈你对那里的团队做了些什么吗？ 我的意思是有没有额外的资源？ 资源有变化吗？ 或者 - 我的意思是它只是 - 它似乎确实发生了一些事情。
I can't take credit for it, other than to say that it's a renewed energy. There is a renewed energy, there is a renewed focus, there is a real commitment, there is express discussions. There are -- people are being challenged, they're being excited about the fact that we're -- have forward momentum in an area that seemed to be lagging a bit for us, and we're hoping to continue with this momentum and build on it going forward. And I think our team is seeing that this could potentially open more doors for us in terms of markets and even existing markets. The concept of saturating the market is not so much the concern anymore if we can expand into secondary markets where it makes economic sense and business sense for us to do so. And we still have other markets that we can be considering outside of our existing markets. So yes, there has been, I'd say, a renewed energy, a renewed motivation. And the commitment from leadership that we will provide the support that's needed in order to expedite our efforts in this area.
我不能相信它，除了说这是一种新的能量。有一种新的活力，有一个新的焦点，有一个真正的承诺，有明确的讨论。有人 - 他们受到挑战，他们对我们这个事实感到兴奋 - 在一个似乎对我们有点滞后的领域有前进的动力，我们希望继续这种势头和继续前进。而且我认为我们的团队看到这可能为我们在市场甚至现有市场方面打开更多的大门。如果我们可以扩展到二级市场，让我们这样做具有经济意义和商业意义，那么饱和市场的概念就不再是人们关注的问题了。我们还有其他市场，我们可以在现有市场之外考虑。所以，是的，我会说，有一种新的活力，一种新的动力。领导的承诺，我们将提供所需的支持，以加快我们在这一领域的努力。
Yes. Okay. And does that mean, in anyways, do you feel you have to compromise in terms of your return targets because you mentioned also returns in more rules for -- clearly your return capital is the key aspect for whether or not to follow on with others. But I mean I guess, one of the ways to convert more real estate it to sort of just pay all of it. Do you feel you have been up to do that? Or has that not been the case?
是。 好的。 这是否意味着，无论如何，你觉得你必须在你的回归目标方面做出妥协，因为你提到的还有更多规则的回报 - 显然你的回报资本是否是否要跟随其他人的关键方面。 但我的意思是，我想，将更多房地产转换为仅支付全部房产的方法之一。 你觉得你做得那么吗？ 或者事实并非如此？
I'm sorry, didn't catch the last part of what you said. Another...
Basically, whether or not you feel in some of the sites to basically secure them, you basically have to compromise a bit on paying up? Because that is one way you can get real estate pretty quickly.
Well. I mean, at this point, we've got our own internal thresholds for -- we have a very active real estate committee of the Board. We've got internal thresholds that we have to meet before a club will be approved. I can tell you, there's a lot of rigor that's applied to make sure that we don't overpay, and that we're paying relative to the return that we expect we'll get by virtue of the sale. And -- so no, we're not compromising our standards, if that's another way of putting it.
好。 我的意思是，在这一点上，我们已经有了自己的内部门槛 - 我们有一个非常活跃的董事会房地产委员会。 在俱乐部获得批准之前，我们必须达到内部门槛。 我可以告诉你，有很多严谨的方法可以确保我们不会支付过高的费用，并且相对于我们期望通过销售获得的回报而言，我们付出了相应的回报。 而且 - 所以不，我们没有妥协我们的标准，如果这是另一种方式。
Yes. I mean just to add to that, and I think I've addressed this on prior calls, it is, as Sherry said, a very rigorous process. We look at all the financials, we look at it on an incremental basis. We use different financial lenses to determine whether something will actually add shareholder value, and those lenses include ROI, they include adjusted ROI, they include MBVs. All the different way that you would expect, I think, any management team to judicially evaluate new projects. Yes, some of the projects are more expensive in some of the areas that we are looking. But then, of course, we are making sure that we are going to get enough incremental sales and value from it and membership income from it.
是。 我的意思是加入那个，我想我已经在之前的电话中解决了这个问题，就像Sherry说的那样，这是一个非常严格的过程。 我们看一下所有的财务状况，我们会逐步看待它。 我们使用不同的金融镜头来确定某些事物是否会真正增加股东价值，而这些镜头包括投资回报率，它们包括调整后的投资回报率，它们包括MBV。 我认为，所有不同的方式都可以让任何管理团队对新项目进行司法评估。 是的，在我们正在寻找的一些领域，有些项目更贵。 但是，当然，我们确保我们将从中获得足够的增量销售额和价值以及会员收入。
So I mean to add a little bit more to this, we see the opportunity potentially here to be doing -- to be a little bit more nimble and tailored and precise in the formats of our clubs depending on the markets where we're putting them. So you can expect that if we're going to have another club in Bogotá, which we think is a very fertile market for us, we're going to be paying more for that, but we expect the returns to justify it because of the opportunity that exists. And so we're going to be looking at it on a case-by-case basis. But I don't want to leave this conversation with an impression that we're only looking to secondary markets, and we're only looking to lower -- we are -- we still have opportunities in very fertile markets like Bogotá that we're aggressively pursuing, but we're doing that in tandem with our efforts to expand into secondary markets, assuming that Veraguas continues to prove out as we expect it to.
所以我的意思是为此增加一点点，我们看到这里可能会有机会 - 根据我们推出它们的市场，我们俱乐部的格式更灵活，更精确，更精确。 所以你可以期待，如果我们要在波哥大建立另一个俱乐部，我们认为这对我们来说是一个非常肥沃的市场，我们将会为此付出更多，但我们希望这些回报能够证明这一点，因为 存在的机会。 所以我们将根据具体情况来看待它。 但我不想让这种对话留下一种印象，即我们只关注二级市场，我们只是期望降低 - 我们是 - 我们仍然有机会在像波哥大这样非常肥沃的市场我们' 积极追求，但我们正在努力扩大二级市场，假设Veraguas继续证明我们的预期。
Yes. Okay. That's definitely appreciated. Just, Maarten, on the working capital, what you've done there is also appreciated. But on the tax, maybe in my head, it's a little bit hard to understand why -- I mean looking at the various corporate tax rates and the jurisdictions you operate in and also the corporate tax rates in the U.S, how -- if -- I mean, if intuitively, there should be some room to lower the corporate tax rate for PriceSmart going forward. But again, maybe help me if I'm missing something there.
是。 好的。 这绝对是值得赞赏的。 就马丁而言，在运营资本上，你在那里所做的事情也很受欢迎。 但是在税收方面，也许在我的脑海中，有点难以理解为什么 - 我的意思是看各种公司税率和您经营的司法管辖区以及美国的公司税率，如何 - 如果 - - 我的意思是，如果直观地说，应该有一些空间来降低PriceSmart未来的公司税率。 但是，如果我在那里遗漏了某些东西，也许可以帮助我。
I think our tax liability is principally the -- overwhelming majority is generated out of the markets -- the liability -- the tax liability that we have in the markets where we operate, right? We generate very little income in the United States and have very little tax liability here. As you know, because of tax reform, the tax rate -- the corporate tax rate here in the U.S. declined significantly, kind of turned the whole balance upside down from the U.S. being higher than our markets to now being lower. And as a result of that shift, we've had to relook at our foreign tax credits and some of those had to be revalued, and that's kind of what we're cycling through in this year. Having said all of that, what we are always looking at is to optimize it in a judicious way, and we'll evaluate that going forward. And there are losses in the U.S, right? I mean -- or reported as losses, I'd like to think of them as investments that we are making, for example, in our Aeropost business and in our omnichannel capabilities, but we don't have income to generate to offset those. And so that has a mathematically the impact of effectively raising our tax rate. But we are looking at the tax question overall and opportunities that we may have.
我认为我们的纳税义务主要是 - 绝大多数是由市场产生的 - 责任 - 我们在经营所在市场的税务责任，对吧？我们在美国的收入很少，在这里几乎没有纳税义务。如你所知，由于税制改革，税率 - 美国的公司税率显着下降，使整体平衡从美国高于我们的市场上升至现在更低。由于这种转变，我们不得不重新审视我们的外国税收抵免，其中一些必须进行重估，这就是我们今年所经历的那种。说完所有这些之后，我们一直在关注的是以明智的方式对其进行优化，我们将对此进行评估。美国有亏损，对吧？我的意思是 - 或者报告为损失，我想将它们视为我们正在进行的投资，例如，我们的Aeropost业务和我们的全渠道能力，但我们没有收入来产生抵消这些。因此，这在数学上具有有效提高税率的影响。但我们正在考虑整体的税务问题以及我们可能拥有的机会。
Our last question comes from Charlie Carter of Ceredex.
Just two quick ones. The first is on going back to the June same-store sales number. If -- I believe last year, Central America was just disrupted by a lot of political unrest. So I wanted to double check that doesn't -- that's not sort of driving the improvement we've seen month-to-month. It sounded like, Maarten, by the tone of your voice that you were kind of generally encouraged that it was a sort of a broad-based improvement. So I just want to make sure that it was not just a very easy comp for Nicaragua or again, one of its neighbors. And just lastly, any specifics on the new distribution center in Costa Rica. I can't remember if that was already launched in the quarter if that's coming? And so just what effect that might have on your margins?
只有两个快速的。 第一个是回到六月同店销售数字。 如果 - 我相信去年，中美洲刚刚受到很多政治动荡的打击。 所以我想仔细检查一下这不是 - 这不是推动我们每月看到的改进。 听起来像Maarten一样，你的语调让你普遍受到鼓励，这是一种广泛的改进。 所以我只想确保它不仅仅是尼加拉瓜的一个非常简单的组合，或者是它的邻居之一。 最后，哥斯达黎加新配送中心的任何细节。 我不记得那个季节是否已经推出了吗？ 那么可能对你的利润产生什么影响呢？
I'll have Sherry talk about Costa Rica. In terms of the comps, good question. And we do have a -- we have 13 markets. So it's never one kind of consistent story. There's a number of market that are helping us. Some markets that are still a little flatter. Nicaragua specifically has helped because we are lapping significant unrest a year ago. It was a drag on our comp a year ago, and it's helping us in June this year. But that's not the whole turnaround.
我会跟雪利酒谈谈哥斯达黎加。 在comps方面，很好的问题。 我们确实有 - 我们有13个市场。 所以它永远不是一种一贯的故事。 有许多市场正在帮助我们。 一些市场仍然有点平淡。 尼加拉瓜特别提供了帮助，因为我们在一年前引发了重大骚乱。 这是一年前我们的comp的拖累，它在今年6月帮助了我们。 但这不是整个转变。
And also, we have other issues going in other direction like in Honduras. So that's certainly is a very difficult situation there with the mass riots, with pre closures, and we've even been on the alert a few times getting ready to close our clubs down to keep our members and our employees safe. So that's a new challenge we have this year that we didn't have last year. So it's dynamic.
此外，我们还有其他方面的问题，如洪都拉斯。 因为大规模骚乱，预先关闭，这当然是一个非常困难的情况，我们甚至已经保持警惕几次准备关闭我们的俱乐部，以保证我们的成员和我们的员工安全。 所以这是我们今年没有的新挑战，去年我们没有。 所以它是动态的。
And in Costa Rica?
I'm sorry in Costa Rica RDC. So that is an opportunity that we see to allow us to sell merchandise in a manner that would be most cost-effective and allow us to have that net landed cost to be as competitive as possible by being able to sell merchandise, for example, from Asia or even potentially Europe directly to Costa Rica as opposed to having to go through Miami and then have Miami then redirect to either Costa Rica or specific countries or clubs. And a very in-depth study is going on now to actually look at our items and what is the most cost-effective manner to get that item from the vendor to the clubs. And in addition to just the cost of getting it to closer to the members and looking for savings year, there is a business practice that can be improved by virtue, for example, in Costa Rica, that's one of our largest markets.
And when we are able to aggregate merchandise in the Costa Rica RDC and then pulse it into the clubs on shorter-term basis with a real time knowledge of what the needs are in terms of inventory levels and sales activities in each of those clubs, that will yield savings, it will yield better or less out of stocks and better sales optimally. So the Costa Rica RDC hosts a lot of potential for us. But it does require studying and in-depth analysis of almost on an items-by-items basis frankly as to how and where is that merchandise best float. Stepping back for a moment, what we've achieved with the Costa Rica RDC though still in process in terms of the work that needs to go into it to maximize that potential. But what we've achieved with that Costa Rica RDC is optionality for our company, which I think is very important. Not just from a financial standpoint, but from a supply chain standpoint, from a reliability standpoint. Dynamics are changing in the world, there is political unrest, there is tariffs, there is tax law changes. By having that additional flexibility and optionality for the company, I think it's responsible, and it's a smart business move on our part. Now it's up to us to make the most of it.
And just 1 quick follow-up, just -- I know we are running out of time, but on the tariff issue, I guess, are you [indiscernible] to anything that's imported into the Miami and then rerouted to your stores?
只有一个快速的跟进，只是 - 我知道我们已经没时间了，但是关于关税问题，我想，你是否[音频不清晰]任何进口到迈阿密然后重新路由到你的商店的东西？
We have a free trade zone there, but I can't tell you with definitive...
Well. There are some merchandise that we get from China and that gives -- that goes through free trade zones and those. So that's not subject to tariffs, but there is another merchandise that we buy from U.S. supplier that in turn came from China that has been subject to tariffs. And so it's that part of it that we are really focusing on addressing. Does that make sense?
好。 我们从中国获得了一些商品，这些商品通过自由贸易区和那些商品。 因此，这不受关税限制，但我们从美国供应商那里购买了另一种商品，而这些商品又来自受到关税限制的中国。 因此，我们真正专注于解决问题的一部分。 那有意义吗？
Yes, it does. But I guess I'm looking at it competitively. So anybody that you are competing with on the same product-by-product or SKU-by-SKU, they would be buying from the U.S. as well. So it's not as if you would be disadvantaged by tariffs because you're sourcing through the U.S. in some ways?
是的，它确实。 但我想我正在竞争中看它。 因此，如果您在同一产品或SKU-by-SKU上竞争，那么他们也会从美国购买。 因此，您不会因为关税而处于不利地位，因为您在某些方面通过美国采购？
I think competitively that's right, but of course, with the lenses on member value we are looking for alternative ways of flowing that merchandise and trying to leverage our supply chain as effectively as possible, including the free trade zones that we have.
Yes. And to the extent that we can sort that merchandise and avoid that tariff altogether that obviously, there is bias in favor of doing that. And by having that Costa Rica RDC that allows us to do that more effectively.
是。 而且，在某种程度上，我们可以对这种商品进行分类并完全避免这种关税，但是有偏向于这样做。 通过让哥斯达黎加RDC能够让我们更有效地做到这一点。
Okay. Thank you very much. Operator, I don't think there are any more questions in the queue?
好的。 非常感谢你。 接线员，我不认为队列中还有其他问题吗？
That is correct. This concludes our question-and-answer session. At this time, would like to turn the conference back over to management team for any closing remarks.
那是正确的。 这就是我们的问答环节。 此时，想将会议转回管理团队处理任何结束语。
I'd just like to say thank you all for your time this morning. We're very excited about the prospects for us moving forward. We are all very committed to working hard on behalf of our members, our employees and ultimately our, shareholders. Have a good day.
我今天早上只想感谢你们所有的时间。 我们对前进的前景感到非常兴奋。 我们都非常致力于代表我们的会员，员工以及最终我们的股东努力工作。 祝你有美好的一天。
The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.
会议现已结束。 感谢您参加今天的演讲。 您现在可以断开连接。
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