Advantage Solutions said today its third-quarter financial results beat Wall Street consensus estimates for the third consecutive quarter, and executives expressed confidence the company would deliver on the upper end of key financial guidance for the full year.

The company, a leading provider of sales and marketing services to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, said third-quarter revenues grew 4.3% to $1.1 billion, an increase executives tied to growth in its in-store sampling and product demonstration services, as well as improved pricing across the business. On an adjusted basis, revenue grew 5.8%, excluding the impact of foreign exchange, acquisitions and divestitures.

Adjusted earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the quarter — a key investor metric — surpassed analysts’ expectations for the third consecutive quarter at $113.1 million, down 4.3% from the same quarter last year.

“Our ongoing efforts to strengthen our culture, simplify our operations, improve our financial discipline and enhance our processes and accountability as a unified company resulted in another quarter of healthy financial performance,” said Advantage Solutions CEO Dave Peacock. “I am incredibly proud of our team’s success as we continue to evolve our position in the marketplace and deliver long-term, profitable growth by enhancing our service level with our clients and customers.”

Business transformation

Advantage also said today that, as part of its ongoing business transformation, it plans to organize its portfolio of businesses into a new, streamlined and simplified structure designed to drive greater collaboration, efficiency and accountability within the company. The planned structure more closely aligns its business capabilities with economic buyers, helping the company to focus on its core mission of generating demand for consumer brands and retailers, converting shoppers into buyers in any way they shop.

The company, a product of acquisitions that have provided a competitive position across many service lines, is seeking to simplify its operations by centralizing back-office functions and streamlining its commercial operations under three distinct segments: branded services, retail services and experiential services.

Its branded services division primarily will serve Advantage’s stable of 4,000-plus consumer packaged goods clients with services including headquarter sales, brand-centric marketing solutions and e-commerce. Advantage’s retail services segment primarily will focus on services the company’s workforce conducts in some 100,000 retail locations each day. That includes shelf reset and other merchandising solutions provided by its SAS Retail Services division, as well as private-brand development and management work conducted by its Daymon division. Finally, its market-leading demonstration and sampling businesses will be housed inside its experiential services segment and serve retail and CPG customers.

The restructuring changes, which are expected to be largely complete in 2024, are designed to “drive greater collaboration and cross-selling throughout the company, clarify the value-enhancing connections in our comprehensive suite of service offerings and demonstrate the collective value of our capabilities,” Peacock said in a call with investors.

As part of its transformation, the company said it continues to evaluate its service offerings to ensure more focus on its core businesses. That’s led to the divestiture of Atlas Technology Group, a niche retail analytics platform, which was sold to Crisp, a company with similar capabilities, last month.

The company’s plan also includes investments in modernizing its technology and in talent management initiatives to strengthen its culture, enhance its processes, better serve customers and improve financial discipline.

Advantage’s restructuring and evolved approach, Peacock said, will enable the company to better address its customers’ challenges and “allow them to benefit more from the collective power of our team and our services.” The move also aims to position Advantage to maximize its full potential and set the company on a path to long-term, profitable growth.

Quarterly highlights

In the third quarter, the company further reduced its net debt, ending the period with a net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio at about 4.2 times, which is down from 4.5 times at the beginning of the year. Advantage also added more than 1,200 net new hires in the quarter, while booking its lowest turnover rate in a quarter since the pandemic.

The company said it was confident in delivering adjusted EBITDA around the upper end of its guidance range of $400 million to $420 million for the full year.

“Having a healthy balance sheet and a sound infrastructure are crucial to providing clients and customers with best-in-class service,” Peacock said. “There’s so much value to unlock here at Advantage. We have a right to win … and we’re taking decisive action to drive efficiencies and cash generation to create the capacity to invest in forward-looking capabilities [that will] position Advantage for long-term, profitable growth.”