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  • Cecile Corral

Bed Bath & Beyond Bullish

Dominant big-box home furnishings retailer Bed Bath & Beyond was "disappointed" to fall "just short" of achieving its quarterly financial goals, the company said in its first-quarter earnings call.

BBB reported net earnings of $0.38 per diluted share in the fiscal first quarter ended June 2. The figure was at the high end of the downward-revised projection that the company had issued earlier in the month, and was up 8.6% from earnings of $0.35 for the same period one year ago.

Net sales for the quarter were $1.55 billion, up 11.3% from net sales of $1.40 billion last year.

Comparable store gains were anemic, at 1.6%. In the 2006 first quarter, comps rose 4.9%.

Warren Eisenberg, co-chairman, blamed "a challenging retail environment, specifically for home-related products," but said 821-unit BBB is optimistic about its near- and long-term future.

"We believe our company, with its market share at an all-time high, continues to distance itself from our competitors," he said. "We're stronger today than ever and remain confident."

During the call, the company announced it had recently signed a lease for its first store outside of the United States. This BBB unit will be located in Canada's Ontario province — specifically in greater Toronto's Richmond Hill area.

"We're very excited about our entrance to Canada and believe our neighbor to the north provides still another growth opportunity for us," Eisenberg said, adding BBB continues to review other international opportunities.

BBB expects to open some 70 new BBB units and four new Christmas Tree Shops this year. It also plans to "substantially complete" its 700,000-square-foot Christmas Tree Shops distribution center, and to open additional buybuyBaby and Harmon stores.

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