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BBB comps revive and earnings jump in Q1

Union, N.J. - Bed Bath & Beyond experienced increases in sales, comparable store sales and earnings - the latter showing the biggest double-digit leap during the home textiles specialty chain's first quarter.

The company reported earnings of 52 cents per share, or $137.6 million, in its first quarter ended May 29, up about 53% compared to 34 cents per share, or $87.2 million, in the year-ago period.

Sales climbed 13.5% to $1.923 billion, and comps made a turnaround, rising 8.4%, compared with a 1.6% decrease in the first quarter of 2009.

BBB remains "cautiously optimistic" about fiscal 2010, said Leonard Feinstein, co-chairman, during the company's quarterly earnings call yesterday evening.

"While the economic environment appears to be showing some signs of stabilizing, it appears the consumer continues to face some economic challenges, and the pressures of the macro economic environment persists," he continued.

Store count stands today at 1,105 units, comprised of: 968 BBBs in 49 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada; 61 Christmas Tree Shops, 31 buybuy Baby, and 45 Harmon and/or Harmon Face Values. Additionally, the company is a partner in a joint venture in Mexico to operate stores under the "Home & More" nameplate.

Feinstein said the company still sees an opportunity to grow to excess of 1,300 stores within the U.S. and Canada as well as grow its other concepts.

Real estate developments to come in the second quarter include the opening of BBB's first store in Hawaii - representing its 50th U.S. state presence.

For all of fiscal 2010, the company expects to open 55 to 60 stores in all concepts - including the five units opened to date this year - as well as remodel, renovated and/or relocate existing sites.

The outlook for the second quarter calls for earnings per share of approximately 59 to 63 cents. For fiscal 2010, earnings per share are expected to increase by approximately 15%.

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