Big Lots reported third-quarter profit, net sales and same-store sales that beat expectations, helped by its ongoing reconfiguration of its food and consumable categories and expanded online assortment.
The company’s net income fell to $29.9 million, or $0.76 a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31, from $127.0 million, or $3.25 a share, in the year-ago period period, which included a one-time tax benefit of $136.6 million. Adjusted earnings per share were $0.76 cents from a per-share loss of $0.18 last year and better than analysts estimates of $0.66 per share.
Net sales rose 18% to $1.38 billion, bettter than expected. Same-store sales jumped 17.8%, the company’s strongest ever third quarter sales comp. The company said it paid $100 million to repurchase 2.2 million shares during the third quarter.
In a statement, Big Lots CEO Bruce Thorn said the company has made a “strong start” to the fourth quarter."
“With our steadfast focus on customer service, our strongly aligned assortment of everyday essentials and stay-at-home products, and our growing customer file, we believe we are well positioned to navigate through and beyond the current environment,” Thorn stated. “Finally, this year's holiday season is certainly unique, and our strategic decision to plan for early holiday shopping has paid off. Although we expect business to moderate given the elongated season, we are pleased with the strong start we have made to the fourth quarter."
The retailer ended the third quarter of fiscal 2020 with $548 million of cash and cash equivalents and $39 million of long-term debt, compared to $62 million of cash and cash equivalents and $501 million of long-term debt as of the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2019.
Big Lots operates 1,411 stores in 47 states along with an e-commerce site.