Nature’s Sunshine reported its fourth quarter and full year financial results for 2021. The company’s net sales in the fourth quarter rose 15.9% over the previous year’s quarter to $117.9 million, the sixth consecutive quarter of record net sales for the company. These record quarters culminated in a company record for annual net sales of $444.1 million in 2021.
Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter increased 54.7% to $11.6 million, while the full year adjusted EBITDA increased 36.6% year-over-year to $49.4 million.
“2021 was another record-breaking year for Nature’s Sunshine, as net sales and adjusted EBITDA reached historic highs,” said Terrence Moorehead, CEO of Nature’s Sunshine. “This was our sixth consecutive quarter of historic record-breaking growth, driven by effective implementation of our five global growth strategies. Importantly, 2021 was our first full-year implementing the new strategies, and while they have clearly revitalized the business, it’s still early and we believe we’re on the front-end of the growth curve. Overall, we’re ahead of schedule and delivering strong results across all our operating geographies and channels.”
The fourth quarter experienced higher costs in service fees in China and direct selling costs associated with increased sales. Those impacts, along with sales growth initiatives in some markets, led to an increase in selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses in the fourth quarter of 2021, totaling $45.4 million. These SG&A expenses, as a percentage of net sales, were 38.2% in the fourth quarter, compared to 37.1% in the same quarter of 2020. SG&A expenses in 2021 were $154.1 million, up from $131.3 million in 2020. As a percentage of net sales, these SG&A costs were 34.7%.
The company attributes its record net sales in 2021 to its continued business transformation initiatives, the launch of new products and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in key markets. Gross margin for the company in 2021 increased 30 basis points to 74%, a slight increase over 2020.
Net cash provided by operating activities was slightly down from 2020, ending the year at $34.6 million. The company also repurchased 439,000 shares at a total cost of $7.4 million. Cash and cash equivalents in 2021 were $86.2 million with an outstanding debt of $2.4 million.
“Looking forward to 2022, we continue to invest in our digital, personalization, and manufacturing capabilities to improve the customer experience and will strengthen our branding to drive customer growth,” Moorehead said. “We believe an intensified focus on our five global growth strategies will continue to move our business in the right direction and help us gain traction, over time. Our global strategies are an important aspect of our capital allocation plan and we will continue to invest ahead of growth to accelerate market penetration.”