Bed Bath & Beyond 4Q profit jumps 56%

Union, N.J. – Bed Bath & Beyond reported a robust fourth quarter and fiscal year, and in a somewhat cheery note for this perpetually cautious company, executives said they are “cautiously optimistic.”

“While the economy appears to be showing some signs of improvement we believe the consumer continues to face economic challenges and the pressures of the macroeconomic environment still remains,” said Warren Eisenberg, co-chairman. “As such we remain cautiously optimistic as we begin fiscal 2010.”

For the quarter ended Feb. 27, net income rocketed up 56% to $226.0 million, or 86 cents per share. Gross profit rose to 180 basis points 42.6% of net sales due to less couponing, fewer markdowns and lower inventory acquisition costs despite the fact that sales shifted to lower margin categories.

Sales rose 16.7% to $2.24 billion, with comps up 11.5%.

“Our balance sheet and overall financial health are extremely strong and we remain focused on building a business that spans the test of time,” said Steve Temares, ceo.

For the full year, earnings increased 40% to $600 million, or $2.30 per share.

Sales were up 8.6% to $7.8 billion, with comps rising 4.4%.

At the end of the quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond operated 1,100 stores, including 965 eponymous units, 61 Christmas Tree shops, 29 buybuby Baby stores, and 45 Harmon stores.

This year, the company plans to open 30 Bed Bath and Beyond stores in the U.S. and Canada, 10 Christmas Tree shops and 20 buybuy Baby stores. It will also enter Hawaii this summer, a move that will put the company in all 50 states.

The company said it expects first quarter earnings per share of 44 cents to 48 cents. For the full year, it forecast EPS growth of 10% to 15%.




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