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Bed Bath & Beyond Meets Modest Guidance

Union, N.J. —Even while second-quarter earnings slumped 19% on flat comps, specialty retailer Bed Bath & Beyond met its projections — and maintained its full year guidance — thereby winning over investors last week.

Ron Curwin, svp investor relations, said of the BBB outlook, “We continue to forecast that net earnings per diluted share for all of fiscal 2008 will show a low double-digit to a mid-teens percentage decline, compared with the $2.10” net profit in 2007.

For the quarter, net earnings of $119.3 million or 46 cents per diluted share in the quarter ended Aug. 30 fell 18.8% from $147.0 million or 55 cents per diluted share (down 16.4%) in the same quarter one year ago.

Sales rose 4.9% to $1.85 billion in the quarter, but comp store sales edged down 0.1%.

For the fiscal first half, BBB reported net earnings of $196.0 million or 76 cents per diluted share, down from $251.7 million or 92 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Six-month sales grew 5.5% to $3.50 billion, as comps inched up 0.3%, BBB said.

The company is sticking to its store opening plans, with about 50 BBB units slated for 2008, along with a handful of buybuyBaby stores and a dozen new Christmas Tree shops.

Wall Street rewarded the on-forecast performance the day of the announcement by sending the share price up more than 3% on roughly average trading volume.

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