Despite a modest decline in sales for the fourth quarter, Big Lots reported gains in comparable store sales and net income for the three month period ended February 2.
Net sales for the quarter were $1.598 billion, down from sales of $1.640 billion in the comparable quarter the previous year. Net income was $108 million, or $2.68 per diluted share, up from net income of $104.8 million, or $2.46 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of the prior year.
Comparable store sales increased 3.1%, above the company’s guidance of flat to an increase of 2%.
“After a slow start to the quarter, we experienced meaningful sales acceleration in December and January driving fourth quarter sales and earnings above the high end of our guidance,” said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lot. “Our holiday plans were well executed and led to broad-based growth across the majority of our merchandise categories.”
For the full fiscal year, total sales were $5.238 billion, down slightly from sales of $5.264 billion in the prior fiscal year. Net income was $156.9 million, or $3.83 per diluted share, down from net income of $189.8 million, or $4.38 per diluted share, in the previous fiscal year.
Looking at the year ahead, Big Lots is forecasting comparable store sales to increase in the low single digit range with adjusted income forecasted to be in the range of $3.55 to $3.75 per diluted share.