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Big Lots tops Q3 earnings estimates

Big Lots reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings and raised its full-year forecast as its looks towards what it expects will be a successful holiday season.

The discounter reported income of $4.4 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Oct. 28, up from $1.38 million or $0.3 cents per share in the same quarter last year. This year's results included a gain from an insurance settlement. Excluding the settlement, adjusted income totaled $2.5 million, or $0.06 per diluted share.

Same-store sales rose 1.0%. Net sales inched up 0.5% to $1.1 billion, a result of the comparable store sales increase partially offset by a lower store count year-over-year.

"In a challenging retail environment, the team delivered on our financial commitments with sales in line with our communicated guidance and EPS growth above our expectations," said David Campisi, CEO and president of Big Lots, which operates 1,430 stores. "(Our core customer) continues to respond positively to our strategy focusing on ownable and winnable merchandise categories, improved merchandise presentations, and more consistent, friendly customer service and in-store execution."

Big Lots boosted its earnings guidance for its current fiscal year. It is now projecting earnings of $4.23 to $4.28 per share, not including the insurance settlement, up from an August projection of $4.15 to $4.25 per share. It estimates 1% comparable-store sales increase and a 2% increase in total sales.
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