FINANCE

Bed Bath & Beyond’s Q4 profit up 25%, to open 45 stores

BY CSA STAFF

Union, N.J. — Bed Bath & Beyond reported Wednesday that profit for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 26 rose 25% to $283.5 million, compared with $226 million a year earlier.

The company, which forecast earnings growth for the current year that would beat Wall Street estimates, also said it expects to open 45 new stores this year across its banners , which also include Christmas Tree Shops and buybuy Baby, and expects to continue renovating and relocating existing stores.

Revenue for the quarter surged 12% to $2.5 billion. Same-store sales rose 8.5%. Analysts expected $2.39 billion in revenue.

For the full year, the company earned $791.3 million, up from $600 million in the prior year. Sales rose 12% to $8.76 billion from $7.83 billion.

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FINANCE

Rite Aid narrow loss in Q4

BY CSA STAFF

Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. reported Thursday that narrowed its loss in the fourth quarter to $208.1 million, compared with a loss of $210.6 million in the year-ago period.

The drugstore operator cited stabilized revenue for the slight improvement.

Revenue during the quarter was unchanged at $6.46 billion. Wall Street expected $6.41 billion in revenue.

Same-store sales edged up 1% in the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the company closed 17 stores, relocated four and remodeled two.

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News

March decline at Target no surprise

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS –Same-store sales at Target declined 5.5% during March, in line with the company’s expectations for a down month due to the late arrival of Easter. The March decline is expected to be offset by strength in April with comps forecast to be in the teens.

“March comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations, reflecting the change in Easter timing in 2011. Our stores are well-prepared for the upcoming Easter season, and we continue to expect a mid-teens increase in Target’s April comparable-store sales,” said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

Last year Easter fell very early in April, and the sales situation was reversed, as Target produced a 10.3% comp increase in March followed by a 5.9% decrease in April.

With Easter falling on April 24 this year, versus April 4 last year, sales in categories related to the holiday were understandably impacted, as shoppers tend to delay purchases closer to their time of need. For example, Target said the Easter impact was particularly meaningful for candy within the grocery area, across multiple categories in apparel, toys and music, movies and books and seasonal categories in home.

As for March results, the story was much the same as it has been in prior months with the company reporting strength in grocery, health care, beauty and other household essentials, which increased in the low to mid single-digits. Comps in apparel and home area decreased in the high single-digit range while hardline comps decreased in the low double-digit range.

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