Big Lots recorded double digit comps in the third quarter as it went on to deliver record earnings.
For the quarter, net income was $29.9 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, versus $127 million, or $3.25 per diluted share, in the year-prior period, which included a one-time, after-tax benefit of $136.6 million, or $3.49 per diluted share, associated with the sale of a distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga, CA; as well as after-tax expense of $2.6 million, or seven cents per diluted share, associated with the implementation of the company’s strategic business transformation. With the one-time items excluded, adjusted net loss for the 2019 third quarter was $7 million, or 18 cents per diluted share.
Big Lots topped a MarketBeat-published third quarter analyst consensus earnings per share estimate by ten cents.
Net sales were $1.38 billion, up 18% from the 2019 quarter, with the growth resulting from a 17.8% increase in comparable sales contributions from new and relocated non-comp stores, offset by a slightly lower store count year-over-year. Operating profit was $42.5 million versus $170.5 million, in the year-previous quarter. Adjusted for the one-time items, Big lots posted an operating loss of $4.5 million in the 2019 quarter.
Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots, said, “I am delighted to report another record-breaking quarter of results. We registered our strongest ever third quarter sales comp and, by way of continued strategic management of our business and tight control of expenses, we delivered our highest ever adjusted EPS in a third quarter.”
Thorn added, “We continued the rollout of our Operation North Star strategies, including the re-configuration of our food and consumables categories and expanding our online merchandise assortment offering through the implementation of ship-from-store. These initiatives built on the success of other North Star-driven strategies, including the rollout of the Broyhill brand, the launch of our Lot and Queue Line programs across 750 stores, and the rapid scaling of our e-commerce capabilities. With our steadfast focus on customer service, our strongly aligned assortment of everyday essentials and stay-at-home products, and our growing customer file, we believe we are well positioned to navigate through and beyond the current environment. Finally, this year’s holiday season is certainly unique, and our strategic decision to plan for early holiday shopping has paid off. Although we expect business to moderate given the elongated season, we are pleased with the strong start we have made to the fourth quarter.”