Thanks, Rick. Good afternoon, everyone.
Given that our stores were closed for approximately 27% of the quarter last year due to the pandemic, I'll provide comparisons to both the prior year and the second quarter of fiscal 2019 where appropriate.
Following my review of our second-quarter results, I'll provide an update on third quarter-to-date sales trends and our current perspective on the full year.
Second-quarter net sales were $268.7 million, up 7.3% from $250.4 million in the second quarter of 2020, and up 17.6% from $228.4 million in the second quarter of 2019. The year-over-year increase in sales was primarily driven by the reopening of stores, our ability to capitalize on current trends, and the continued impact of domestic economic stimulus on the business during the second quarter. Compared with the second quarter of 2019, we saw comparable sales growth is 16.6% and the net addition of 15 stores.
Our stores were open for approximately 96% of the potential operating days during the second quarter of 2021 compared to 73% in the second quarter of 2020 and 100% in the second quarter of 2019. From a regional perspective, North America's net sales were $237.5 million, an increase of 6.3% over 2020, and up 14.8% compared to the same period in 2019. Other international net sales, which consists of Europe and Australia, were $31.1 million up 15.7 from last year, and up 45.1% from 2 years ago.
Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, North America net sales increased 5.8% and other international net sales increased 7.6% compared with 2020. We experienced significant COVID-related store closures during the second quarter in Canada, Australia, and Europe, noting they were open for approximately 68%, 77%, and 88% of the available operating days respectively.
During the quarter, the men's category was our largest growth category, followed by accessories and footwear. Hardgoods was the largest negative category followed by women.
The second-quarter gross profit was $105 million compared to $90.9 million in the second quarter of last year, and $77.2 million in the second quarter of 2019. Gross margin as a percentage of sales was 39.1% for the quarter compared to 36.3 in the second quarter of 2020 and 33.8 in the second quarter of 2019. The 280-basis point improvement from the second quarter of 2020 was largely due to a 170-basis point decrease in web shipping costs related to a decrease in web sales from the second quarter last year when we add a higher rate of store closures driving customers online. A 100-basis point increase in product margin, and a 70-basis point improvement in inventory shrinkage, partially offset by a 60-basis point increase in distribution and inbound shipping costs. Gross margin improved 530 basis points from 2019, driven largely by product margin improvement of 270 basis points, occupancy leverage of 170 basis points, and a shrink improvement of 90 basis points. SG&A expense was $73 million or 27.2% of net sales in the second quarter compared to $57.7 million or 23.1% of net sales a year ago, and $65.5 million or 28.7% of net sales two years ago. Compared to 2020, the 410-basis point increase in SG&A expense as a percent of sales primarily reflects the benefit from temporary cost savings tied to the pandemic last year. The most significant changes include 150 basis points of deleveraging in our store wages, 60 basis points of deleveraging incorporate costs, 50 basis points of deleveraging in annual incentive compensation, and 40 basis points due to a decrease in governmental subsidies.
During the quarter, we also accrued a legal settlement resulting in 110 basis points negative impact. Operating income in the second quarter of 2021 was $32 million, or 11.9% of net sales, compared with $33.1 million, or 13.2% of net sales, last year. In the second quarter of 2019, we had an operating profit of $11.7 million or 5.1% of net sales. Net income for the second quarter was $24 million or $0.94 per diluted share. This compares to a net income of $25.4 million or $1.01 per diluted share for the second quarter of 2020. a net income of $9 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2019.
Our effective tax rate for the second quarter of 2021 was 26.8%, compared with 26% a year ago period and 30.7% 2 years ago.
Turning to the balance sheet, the business ended the quarter in a very strong financial position. Cash and current marketable securities increased 37.7% to $412 million as of July 31st, 2021, compared to $299.1 million as of August first, 2020. The increase in cash and current marketable securities was driven by cash generated through operations, partially offset by capital expenditure. The Company's -- the Company repurchased 200,000 shares during the quarter at an average cost of 44.21 per share and a total cost of $10.9 million. Year-to-date, as of September 7, 2021, the Company has repurchased 700,000 shares at an average cost of $42.49 and a total cost of $31.4 million.
As of July 31, 2021, we have no debt on the balance sheet and continue to maintain our full unused credit line of $35 million. We ended the quarter with $149.4 million in inventory, up 17.9% from the second quarter of 2020 and down 1.1% compared to the second quarter of 2019. On a constant-currency basis, our inventory levels were up 17.3% from last year. Overall, the inventory on hand is healthy and selling at a favorable margin.
Now to our third quarter to date results. Net sales for the 37-day period ended September 6th, 2021, increased 23.2% compared to the 37-day period ended September 7th, 2020.
As we saw our customers go back to in-person learning and the majority of the regions in which we operate. Compared to the 37-day period on September 9, 2019, total net sales increased 6.7%.
Our stores were opened 98% of the available days during the period in 2021 compared to 91% in the same period last year. Total comparable sales for the 37-day period into September six, 2021 increased 10.5% on a one-year basis and increased 5.4% compared with two years ago. From a regional perspective, net sales for our North American business for the 37-day period ended September 6, 2021, increased 25.5% over the comparable period last year and were up 5.1% compared to the 37-day period ended September 9, 2019. Meanwhile, other international businesses increased 2.3% versus last year and increased 28.8% compared with the same period of 2019. From a category perspective, Men's was our most positive category, followed by accessories, footwear, and women's. Hardgoods was our only negative category. Due to limited visibility in the business, we'll not be providing specific guidance for the third quarter of 2021 or the fiscal year, but do want to provide a directional update on our expectations for the year. Concerning revenue, for the full fiscal 2021, we are projecting net sales to grow in the low to mid-teens from fiscal 2019. This translates to net sales growth from 2020 between the high teens to just over 20%.
For the back half of the year, we continue to anticipate top-line growth on 2020 results that were above 2019 results.
For the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2021, we anticipate we'll grow sales in the mid to high-single-digits from fiscal 2020, absent significant COVID restrictions and lockdowns.
For the third quarter, specifically, this is a slowdown from what we have just reported quarter-to-date.
However, we believe it is warranted, as we had a slow start to a back-to-school season in 2020 and saw continued strength through late September and October last year. This year, we've seen a more normalized cadence to back-to-school and do not anticipate that September and October will be as strong as they were in 2020.
Moving on to gross margin, 2021, gross margin is currently planned to grow year-over-year, driven by leverage of occupancy costs on increased sales, a reduction in shipping costs as web revenue normalizes with storage being opened, and improved product margins.
While we anticipate improvements in gross margin in our third and fourth quarter, the year-over-year growth will be much more modest than our first 2 quarters. Fiscal 2021 SG&A costs are expected to increase in line with our sales growth from 2020 for several reasons, many related to the pandemic. The drivers of the increase include store wages and benefits reductions in 2020 due to store closures and reduced mall hours that are not anticipated to repeat in 2021, governmental subsidies received in 2020 not anticipated to repeat in fiscal 2021, an increase in incentive compensation and other discretionary accruals related to improved performance, illegal settlement accrued during the second quarter, an increase in costs related to training and recognition events that were reduced significantly in 2020 due to pandemic, an increase in marketing events and another related spending that was not possible with the restrictions in 2020, and an increase in travel costs in the back half of 2021 with very little travel included in our fiscal 2020 results. In summary, we expect to see the expansion of gross margin while SG&A expenses grow much closer with overall sales. On a net basis, however, we now anticipate operating margins will be up year-over-year in fiscal 2021, reaching double-digits as a percent of sales.
We are currently planning our business assuming an annual effective tax rate of approximately 26% in fiscal 2021, compared to 25.6% in 2020.
We are planning diluted earnings per share to increase meaningfully in fiscal 2021 compared with fiscal 2020, primarily driven by a significant increase we achieved in the First Quarter.
As we saw in the second quarter, more expenses are coming back into the model as COVID restrictions are reduced, such as store payroll-related to capacity and hours, travel training, and other costs discussed above.
We are currently earning diluted EPS in the back half of the year to be flat to down modestly from the last six months of 2020. In the event our top-line estimates exceed those outlined today, we would expect a strong flow-through on incremental sales.
We are planning to open 25 new stores in fiscal 2021, including approximately 8 stores in North America, 12 stores in Europe, and 5 stores in Australia.
We are planning to close approximately 5 to 6 stores during the year. Capital expenditures are planned to be between $22 million and $24 million in fiscal 2021, compared with $9.1 million in fiscal 2020. The majority of the capital spending will be dedicated to new store openings and planned remodels.
We expect that depreciation and amortization excluding non-cash lease expense will be approximately $22 million in fiscal 2021 compared to $23.5 million in fiscal 2020.
We are currently projecting our diluted share count for the full year to be approximately 25.3 million shares. Any share repurchases made after those disclosed today will reduce our share count from this estimate. And with that, Operator, we'd like to open the call up for questions.