Loss Narrows at Big Lots, Profit Outlook Lifted

Big Lots Inc announced that its loss had narrowed during the third quarter, as there was modest growth in revenue. The company raised its lower end of guidance for 2015.

The company, based in Ohio, buys a broad range of discounted merchandise through liquidations, packaging changes and production overruns and sells the merchandise at significant discounts that are lower than traditional discount retailers.

For its current year, the company forecast its earnings to be between $2.95 and $3.00 per share in comparison to a guidance previously of between $2.90 and $3.00 per share.

For its fourth quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, Big Lots has reiterated its estimates for adjusted earnings from $1.95 to $2.00 per share. The sales at comparable stores are expected to rise by between 1% and 2%.

David Campisi the CEO pointed to strong comparable sales for the seventh straight quarter, with strength in winnable and innovative merchandising. He added that inventories had been lean and the merchandising categories were set of the upcoming holiday season.

In is most recent quarter, sales at comparable stores that were open a minimum of 15 months were up 2.6%.

Big Lots posted a $1.5 million loss equal to 3 cents per share in comparison to a loss of $3.4 million equal to 6 cents per share one year ago.

Excluding an expense of $1 million equal to 2 cents per share, for terminating a pension plan, Big Lots had a loss of just one penny per share in comparison to 6 cents for the same quarter last year.

Revenue was up but less than one percentage points to end the quarter at $1.12 billion, as growth in sales at same stores was offset partially by fewer stores open.

The company forecast from a 4 cents per share loss to a one penny per share profits, while analysts had been looking for revenue of $1.12 billion.

The company’s gross margin expanded from 38.9% to 39.4% as its losses from its continuing operations shrank.

Shares at the company are down approximately 11% over the past 12 months, but were inactive during premarket trading.

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