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Big Lots FY21 Profit View Below Estimates; Q3 Comps. Down 4.7%

Big Lots, Inc. (BIG) said, for the fourth quarter, the company projects earnings per share in the range of $2.05 to $2.20, based on a slightly positive comparable sales increase, which equates to a high single digit two-year comparable sales increase. The company expects fourth quarter gross margin to be down approximately 150 basis points to last year, driven by freight headwinds. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report profit per share of $2.39. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

For the full year, the company expects a negative low single digit decrease in comparable sales, equating to a double-digit positive comparable sales increase on a two year basis. The impact of freight headwinds is expected to result in a 120 basis point decline in full year gross margin from last year. The company expects full year earnings per share in the range of $5.70 to $5.85. Analysts expect the company to report profit per share of $5.97.

Third quarter net loss was $4.3 million or $0.14 per share compared to profit of $29.9 million or $0.76 per share, a year ago. On average, nine analysts expected the company to report a loss per share of $0.16, for the quarter.

Net sales were $1.34 billion, a 3.1% decrease compared to $1.38 billion, last year. The company said the decline to last year was driven by a comparable sales decrease of 4.7%. Analysts on average had estimated $1.32 billion in revenue.

On December 1, 2021, the Board declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.30 per common share. The dividend payment of approximately $9 million will be payable on December 29, 2021, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 15, 2021. Also, the Board authorized a new repurchase of up to $250 million of the company's outstanding common shares.

Shares of Big Lots were down 5% in pre-market trade on Friday.

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