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Big Lots Boosts Outlook Despite Stalled Sales

Friday, December 2, 2016 5:17
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Discount retailer Big Lots, Inc. (NYSE:BIG) early Friday posted mixed third quarter earnings but lifted its 2017 forecast despite waning sales.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company reported Q3 EPS of $0.04, which was a full $0.05 better than the average Wall Street estimate for a net loss of $0.01. Revenues fell 1% from last year to $1.11 billion, slightly short of analysts’ $1.12 billion view.

Comparable store sales (comps) were flat for the third quarter, which was at the low end of BIG’s guidance of flat to up 2%. Comps are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s performance, since they measure only the year-over-year sales growth at stores open at least 12 months.

Looking ahead, Big Lots reaffirmed its previously announced Q4 guidance for EPS of $2.18 to $2.23. That estimate straddles Wall Street’s $2.21 view. The company also still expects Q4 comps to range from flat to up 2%.

For the full fiscal year 2017, BIG forecast EPS of $3.55 to $3.60, which is above the analyst consensus estimate of $3.53, and up from BIG’s prior outlook of $3.45 to $3.55.

CEO David Campisi commented via press release:

“We are pleased to report in a challenging retail environment the team delivered upon our financial commitments. Sales were in line with our communicated guidance while EPS was above our expectations. Jennifer continues to positively respond to our focus on ownable and winnable merchandise categories, improved merchandise presentations and more consistent in-store execution.”

The “Jennifer” Campisi referred to isn’t an actual person. Rather, it’s the company’s vision of their ideal customer — “person most likely to shop often at Big Lots,” according to the company’s website.

Big Lots shares rose $0.73 (+1.44%) to $51.50 in premarket trading Friday. Prior to today’s report, BIG had surged 31.72% year-to-date, which is more than five times the return of the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


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