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Big Lots Sees Q4 Earnings Below Estimates; Stock Tumbles - Quick Facts

Discount retailer Big Lots, Inc. (BIG) on Wednesday forecast fourth-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates. The company's shares are losing more than 7 percent in pre-market activity.

Big Lots forecast fourth-quarter earnings per share in a range of $2.40 to $2.50, compared to $2.39 per share for the comparable quarter last year.

On average, nine analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $3.02 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

The company said it recorded a comparable sales increase of about 7.5 percent on a quarter-to-date basis, reflecting double-digit comps in all merchandise categories other than Seasonal and Food.

The Seasonal category was down by a mid-teen percentage due to low levels of Christmas inventory in December, while Food increased in low single digits. Ecommerce demand quarter-to-date is up about 135 percent, the company noted.

Big Lots said it saw an acceleration in trends in January. For the quarter as a whole, the company expects comparable sales to increase slightly from the quarter-to-date rate.

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