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Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (TTS) Looks Solid as a Rock

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Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS)Almost two months ago, I singled out Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS) as one of three great small-cap stocks with which many investors might not be familiar. After all, the high-end stone and tile specialist still had a market capitalization under $800 million at the time, and only just went public late last year.

Even so, the underlying business had grown from a single store in Minnesota nearly 30 years ago to 68 locations in 22 states. Better yet, the company was generating enough cash at the time to fund its accelerating expansion with free cash flow to spare.

In addition, Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS)’s business is able to offer consumers low prices without sacrificing margin thanks to its ability to source products directly from quarries around the world, thus eliminating the middleman. Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS) also benefits from manufacturing its own line of adhesives, grouts, and other products required for the installation of its wares.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS)’s hardwood counterpart in Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) follows nearly the exact same business model by negotiating directly with the lumber mills which produce its products. Of course, this is also the same Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc (NYSE:LL) that recently taught me a humbling lesson after I doubted its seemingly rich valuation.

In any case, as luck would have it, that also turned out to be a great time to buy shares of Tile Shop:

TTS Total Return Price Chart

TTS Total Return Price data by YCharts.

Despite the stock’s 45% rise over the past two months, however, Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS)’s rock-solid first-quarter results have me convinced now is not the time to take profits.

The numbers
When all was said and done in the first three months of the year, Tile Shop Hldgs, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTS)’s net sales rose 23.9% from the year-ago period to $56.8 million, thanks to a combination of impressive comparable-store sales growth of 10.4% (or $4.8 million), and $6.2 million in new revenue from new locations. Adjusted EBITDA also grew 17.9% to $16.4 million from the same period last year, representing 28.8% of total sales, and income from operations came in at $12 million, or 21.1% of total sales.

On the expansion front, and thanks to strong operating cash flow of $18.3 million during the quarter, Tile Shop opened three new stores in the first quarter and one more so far in April. All told, that brings the company’s total count to 72 locations in 23 states. Going forward, Tile Shop remains on track with its plans to operate 85 total stores by the end of 2013.

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