Big Lots Weathers Tough Q1

The first quarter proved challenging for Big Lots, with comps down after weather influenced a slow start to the period.

In the first quarter ended May 9, Big Lots recorded net income of $31.2 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, versus $51.5 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, in the year-previous quarter.

With after-tax expenses of $8.7 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, associated with the settlement of shareholder litigation matters and the retirement of the company’s former CEO excluded, Big Lots stated that adjusted income was $40 million, or 95 cents per diluted share.

Big Lots fell short of a MarketBeat-published analyst consensus estimate of $1.19.

Comparable store sales decreased 3% in the quarter year over year. Net sales were $1.27 billion versus $1.29 billion for the year-prior quarter. Operating profit slipped to $45.3 million in the period year over year from $79.7 million.

In a conference call, Lisa Bachmann, Big Lots evp/chief merchandising officer and COO, said February was a difficult month with softness in furniture sales and intense competition over the Presidents’ Day promotional period. Company sales trends improved from February to March and April but cool wet weather softened gains that proved insufficient to make up the slow start to the quarter, with seasonal and associated business taking a hit. She added that sales trends in May improved with the arrival of warm weather in much of the U.S.