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Big Lots Q3 earnings preview: Focus is on costs and Store of the Future initiatives

Big Lots (BIG) is set to announce its third quarter numbers on December 7 before the market opens. Analysts forecast the discount retailer to report break-even earnings on revenue of $1.14 billion. The company had guided Q3 EPS to be in the range of income of 4 cents per share to a loss of 6 cents per share and comparable sales to grow in the range of 2% to 4%.

Big Lots Q3 2018 earnings preview - Comp Sales performance

In the third quarter last year, the company had posted earnings of 6 cents per share. For the second quarter 2018, Big Lots earnings per share came in at $0.59 versus the consensus EPS estimate of $0.67. Over the last four quarters, the company had missed earnings estimates in Q2 and Q3. Sales in the second quarter inched up to $1.222 billion, while comparable store sales increased 1.6% year-over-year.

For Q4, the company had forecasted earnings to be in the range of $2.90 to $3.00 per share with comp store sales increase in the low-single digits. For FY18, Big Lots estimates adjusted EPS to be in the range of $4.40 to $4.50 and sales are touted to be down slightly compared to last year.

The company’s expenses in the second quarter increased, hurt by the acceleration in transportation rates and a spike in fuel costs. The Columbus, Ohio-based community retailer’s investments in Store of the Future initiative also increased the costs. However, the Store of the Future initiative is expected to bear fruit in the holiday season.

With the completion of approximately 120 stores of remodeling up to Q3, the company expects its sales to increase in Q4. Big Lots also plans to remodel over 200 stores in 2019.

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By Thursday midday, Big Lots shares have lost 6% of its value from its Monday’s closing price of $44.14, hurt by the recent broader market sell-off. In the past 12 months, the stock has traded between $36.20 and $64.42 and has dropped 27%.

 

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