Burlington Stores (NYSE: BURL) reported a 19% jump in earnings for the second quarter helped by higher sales, leverage on fixed expenses, disciplined expense management, and profit improvement initiatives. The results exceeded analysts’ expectations. Further, the off-price apparel retailer guided third-quarter sales and earnings above consensus estimates.
Net income jumped by 19% to $85 million or $1.26 per share. Adjusted earnings climbed by 16% to $1.36 per share. Total sales grew by 11% to $1.66 billion and comparable store sales increased by 3.8%. New and non-comparable stores contributed an incremental $115 million in sales during the quarter.
Looking ahead into the third quarter, the company expects total sales growth in the range of 8.5% to 9.5% and comparable store sales growth in the range of 2% to 3%. Adjusted earnings are anticipated to be in the range of $1.37 to $1.41 per share.
For fiscal 2019, the company lifted its total sales growth outlook to the range of 8.8% to 9.3% from the prior range of 8.5% to 9.2%, and comparable-store sales growth estimates to the range of 2% to 2.5% from the previous range of 1.3% to 2.1%. Adjusted earnings guidance is raised to the range of $7.14 to $7.22 per share from the previous range of $6.93 to $7.01 per share. For fiscal 2019, the company expects to open 50 net new stores and invest net capital expenditures of about $310 million.
As of August 3, 2019, merchandise inventories declined by 2.4% year-over-year to $824 million. The decrease was due primarily to a 7% decrease in comparable store inventory at the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2019.
During the quarter, the company invested $51 million of cash to repurchase 300,742 common shares. As of the end of the second quarter, the company had $124 million remaining on its current share repurchase authorization. In addition, Burlington said its board authorized the repurchase of up to an additional $400 million of common stock, which is authorized to be executed through August 2021.
The company turned beneficial from its intention to focus on product freshness, lower comparable store inventories, maintain its ability to leverage pack-and-hold program, and use business intelligence system to identify sell-through rates. Burlington plans to continue utilizing e-commerce strategies offering merchandise to its customers while driving incremental traffic to its stores.
Burlington feared that the consumer spending habits could change and impact its results due to a slowdown in the US economy, an uncertain global economic outlook or a credit crisis. In addition, in order to remain competitive, the company is likely to continue offering brand-name merchandise at a discount to prices offered by other retailers as well as an assortment of merchandise that is appealing to customers.