There’s a new toy success story brewing at Five Below.
This week, the discount retailer revealed its fourth quarter and full-year earnings for fiscal 2021 at its first-ever investor event. Dubbed “Ignite the Vision,” the event offered investors and analysts a look into the future of Five Below for fiscal 2022 and beyond.
Five Below President and CEO Joel Anderson — a former Toys “R” Us and Walmart executive — led the presentation following the news that the company’s net sales grew by more than 45% last year capped by a 16.1% spike in Q4. Anderson says that the company is continuing to “play offense” this year as it navigates the lingering challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, toys and collectibles have become increasingly important to the retailer as it strikes deals with top brands and licensing partners, including Disney, Marvel, Fortnite champion Bugha, and others. One major gem in the mix is Jazwares’ Squishmallows brand as Five Below has become a destination for kids and collectors thanks to regular new product drops on “Sunday Squishday.”
During the investor presentation, Five Below’s Chief Merchandising Officer Michael Romanko highlighted the success of the company in identifying trends and partners and capped his portion of the event with a highlight reel devoted to the continued growth of Squishmallows.
Looking ahead to inflation and some of the other potential financial challenges of the next year, Anderson points out that discount stores, including Five Below, have traditionally weathered similar storms and found new success. When asked about potential spending cutbacks from families, he was bullish on the outlook.
“Having spent 12 years at Toys ‘R’ Us, the last place parents cut back is on their kids,” he says. “They’re going to do everything they can to make sure the kids have a great experience around a birthday, around Christmas, around Hanukkah, whatever those rituals in life that they’re going through.”
While the company plans to stock on-trend merchandise that caters to kids as they grow up between tweens and teens and into adulthood, one area that they plan to avoid is infants and preschool, a category pointed out twice during the event as being off the table.
Five Below says that it plans to expand upon its Five Beyond concept this year and introduced a long-term vision called the “Triple-Double.” The company plans to triple its current store count and double its sales through 2025.