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Bed Bath & Beyond Q1 Revenue up 18%, Outlook Slightly Cautious (BBBY)

The home furnishing  retailer, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) reported late last evening that its fiscal first-quarter income fell 2.1% as margin was hurt by higher expenses while unfavorable comparables (smaller tax benefit compared to corresponding quarter of last year) also offset improvement in revenue.

For the current quarter, Bed Bath & Beyond expects earnings to be in the range of $1.11 to $1.16 a share while analysts’ consensus estimate is at $1.14 a share, according to a data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

The Company’s quarterly results have been showing marked improvement in recent quarters as the retailer made a strategic shift towards selling lower margin merchandises and put more focus on e-commerce business. As part of its broader business plan, Bed Bath & Beyond is also improving its IT infrastructure and looks to start a food and beverage corner in its retail stores. Besides, speculation is rife that the Company could acquire Cost Plus World Market.

For the fiscal quarter ended June 1, Bed Bath & Beyond reported income of $202.5 million or 93 cents compared to a profit of $206.8 million or 89 cents, in the same period of last fiscal year. The Company had less number of common shares outstanding in the recently concluded quarter. In the latest quarter earnings included tax benefit of $2.6 million compared to $14.6 million, in the same quarter of last year.

Revenue climbed 18% to $2.61 billion.

Earlier in April, the Company had projected earnings to come in the range of 88 cents to 94 cents a share, which was below analysts’ consensus estimate, at that moment. Sales were expected to grow by 17% to 19%.

Gross margin contracted to 39.5% from 40% while selling, general and administrative expenses soared 24%.

Comparable-store sales, a key gauge on retailer’s performance as it only includes sales from those stores that were operational at least 12 months thereby stripping erratic sales from those stores that were opened or shuttered less  than 12 month, increased 3.4%, up from 3%, in the year-earlier quarter.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond , which were mainly flat in afterhours trading, are up 25% year-to-date through Wednesday close.

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