Results Good at Big Lots; Forecast Not So Good


Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning.

The close-out retailer reported quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.08 on revenues of $1.7 billion. In the same period a year ago, Big Lots reported EPS of $1.83 on revenue of $1.63 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.98 and $1.75 billion in revenue.

For the full fiscal year, Big Lots posted adjusted EPS of $2.99 on revenues of $5.4 billion. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $2.90 on revenues of $5.4 billion.

For the new fiscal year, the company forecasts adjusted EPS of $3.05 to $3.25 on a sales increase of 2% to 3%. For the first quarter Big Lots expects adjusted EPS of $0.53 to $0.65 on revenue growth of 1% to 3% year-over-year. The consensus estimate for the full year calls for EPS of $3.16 on revenues of $5.56 billion. For the first quarter, the consensus estimate calls for EPS of $0.75 on revenues of $1.33 billion.

In the fourth quarter, U.S. same-store sales fell 3.5%. The company's Canadian division only broke even in the quarter, which was still better than the $11.4 million loss the division posted in the third quarter.

Big Lots, unlike competitors Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) or Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), depends on traffic to make sales. Declining same-store sales are not a good sign, but today's results will give the stock a temporary boost. Eventually investors will notice that first quarter guidance is well below the consensus estimate.

Shares are up 3.7% in premarket trading this morning, at $35.15, in a 52-week range of $26.69 to $47.22. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $34.40 before today's results were announced.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Earnings, Retail, Services Tagged: BIG, DLTR, FDO