Bed Bath & Beyond Earnings Soar Beyond Expectations

Bet Bath and Beyond posted a 56% jump in net income, year over year, in the fourth quarter. Is it a sign consumers are ready to start spending on their homes? It looks like consumers are spending more on decorating and outfitting their homes, which could signal a rise in overall discretionary spending, if Bed Bath & Beyond's (BBBY) fourth-quarter results are any indication.

The nation's biggest housewares retailer on Wednesday posted a 56% jump in net income to easily beat Wall Street estimates, as sales gains and more full-priced selling boosted its bottom line.

Bed Bath & Beyond also issued first-quarter guidance well ahead of analysts' average estimate, propelling shares higher in after-market trading.

For the quarter ended Feb. 27, Bed Bath & Beyond's net income rose by more than half to $226 million, or 86 cents a share, from $141.4 million, or 55 cents, in the same period last year. Earnings per share eclipsed analysts' average forecast by a whopping 13 cents, according to data from Thomson Reuters. (But then the company has beaten the Street, sometimes badly, for at least nine consecutive quarters.)

Same-Store Sales Up

Fourth-quarter sales rose 16% to $2.24 billion from $1.92 billion a year ago. Comparable-store sales -- a key industry measure of sales from stores open more than a year -- popped 11.5%, the company said in a release issued after the market closed Wednesday. The company's same-store sales have benefited from the shuttering of competitor Linen's 'n Things' stores a year ago.

Tighter inventory heading into the holidays and higher same-store sales helped boost gross profit -- or the difference between sales and cost of goods sold -- which means more of each sales dollar found its way to Bed Bath & Beyond's bottom line.

For the current first quarter, the company forecast earnings in a range of 44 cents to 48 cents a share. Analysts' average estimate stood at 42 cents before the earnings report, according to data from Thomson Reuters.
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