Union, N.J. — Undaunted by a still difficult housing market, Bed Bath & Beyond blew away analysts’ third quarter earnings estimates and reported a 4.1% same-store sales increase for the period ended Nov. 26.
The company reported earnings per share of 95 cents that were 28% higher than the prior year’s third quarter and well above guidance provided at the end of the second quarter that called for earnings per share of 82 cents to 87 cents. Analysts’ had forecast earnings of 89 cents. Buoyed by the strong profit performance, the company said its full year earnings would range from $3.86 to $3.92.
Earnings growth in the quarter was aided by an aggressive share repurchase program, which saw the company buy back roughly 5.6 million shares at a cost of $328 million. That could be the case again in the fourth quarter as Bed Bath & Beyond has $1.3 billion in authorization remaining on a share repurchase program approved last December.
As for the company’s 4.1% third-quarter same-store sales increase, it was a slight deceleration from a second-quarter comp of 5.6%, but it came on top of a prior year increase of 7%. Total sales increased by 6.8% to $2.34 billion compared with $2.2 billion. Through the first nine months of the year, the company’s same-store sales are up 5.5% and total sales have advanced 8.2% to nearly $6.8 billion from $6.3 billion.
The company ended the third quarter with a total of 1,171 stores, including 993 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, 71 Christmas Tree Shops stores, 61 buybuy BABY stores and 46 stores under the names of Harmon or Harmon Face Values. During the quarter, the company opened seven Bed Bath & Beyond stores, seven buybuy BABY stores, one Christmas Tree Shops store and one Harmon Face Values store.