NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Tractor Supply (TSCO) surged in late trades Wednesday after the farm products retailer boosted its earnings outlook for the full year following a strong sales performance in the fourth quarter.
The Brentwood, Tenn.-based company now sees earnings of $2.97 to $2.99 a share for fiscal 2011, up from its previous projection for a profit of $2.85 to $2.89 a share. The current average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for earnings of $2.91 a share in fiscal 2011.
The company's outlook implies a profit range of 92 to 94 cents a share for the fourth quarter ended in December vs. Wall Street's current consensus view of 86 cents.
Tractor Supply said sales totaled $$1.24 billion in the fourth quarter, up 20.1% from last year. Same-store sales increased 7.6%. The company noted that is fiscal calendar included an extra week this year, accounting for 6.6% of its sales boost in the quarter and an estimated 9 cents a share in earnings.The stock was last quoted at $75.60, up 3.7%, on volume of nearly 100,000, according to Nasdaq.com. "These results are reflective of the structural improvements we have made to our business in recent years, including a focus on C.U.E. [consumable, usable and edible] merchandise, improved inventory management and merchandise allocation and regionalization, all of which have continued to reduce our dependence on weather trends," said Jim Wright, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "Sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2011 was driven by continued strong transaction count and a year-over-year increase in average ticket, with added tailwinds from both the 53rd week and inflation." Tractor Supply shares outperformed in 2011, rising more than 50% in the past year. The stock hit its 52-week high of $78.22 on Nov. 16., and it currently trades at a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 21.6X, fairly high for a retailer. Wall Street was pretty bullish on the company ahead of this news with 14 of the 23 analysts covering the stock at either strong buy (8) or buy (6), and the median 12-month price target at $79.50, implying potential upside of 9% from Wednesday's close at $72.93. The company is expected to report its full fiscal fourth-quarter results after the closing bell on Feb. 1. Interested in more on Tractor Supply? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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