Big Lots (BIG) shares jumped 5.5% on Friday as the retailer lifted its full-year guidance and its first-quarter earnings sailed past expectations.
The Columbus, Ohio-based company said it expects fiscal 2019 adjusted income between $3.70 and $3.85 per diluted share, up from its previous outlook of $3.55 to $3.75. It also affirmed its guidance for low single-digit growth in comparable-store sales.
For the quarter ended May 4, Big Lots posted adjusted net income of $0.92 per diluted share, down from $0.95 in the prior-year period and ahead of Capital IQ’s consensus for $0.70. Net sales rose to $1.3 billion, up from $1.27 billion last year. The Street had expected $1.29 billion.
Comparable sales growth in the quarter was 1.5%, below the Street’s view of nearly 2.2%.
“Q1 was a solid start to our new fiscal year with sales growth and comps in line with guidance and adjusted EPS meaningfully higher than our expectations,” said Chief Executive Bruce Thorn said. “Our first-quarter sales result represents the fourth-consecutive quarter of possible comps, which is encouraging in light of the delayed income-tax refunds and macro weather challenges in many of our markets.”
Gross margin slid to 40.1% from 40.4% last year while selling and administrative expenses rose to $460.6 million from $438.1 million.
Big Lots said it ended the quarter with $927 million of inventory, up from last year’s $850 million, with the increase due to tariff impacts, its decision to to move up inventory commitments to its furniture and soft home segments to handle earlier resets, and weather.
The company said it expects second-quarter adjusted net income of $0.35 to $0.45 per diluted share on low single-digit growth in comparable-store sales.