Fiscal 2012 Financial Outlook
The Company continues to expect total sales for the 2012 fiscal year to increase 8 to 9 percent over the 53-week 2011 fiscal year, or 10 to 11 percent on a comparable 52-week basis. Same-store sales, based on a comparable 52-week period, are now expected to increase 4 to 5 percent, an increase from the previous expectation of the low end of 3 percent. For the year, operating profit, excluding expenses resulting from secondary offerings of the Company’s stock, is expected to be between $1.64 billion and $1.66 billion, as compared to the Company’s previous guidance of between $1.62 billion and $1.66 billion. Specifically, SG&A for the 2012 13-week fourth quarter is expected to increase approximately 4 percent over SG&A in the 2011 14-week fourth quarter, after excluding $10.3 million relating to the acceleration of equity-based compensation and other expenses relating to a secondary offering of the Company’s stock in the 2011 fourth quarter. In the second half of the year, the Company expects gross profit, as a percentage of sales, to increase over the comparable prior year period, resulting in a modest increase for the full year.
The Company now expects full year interest expense to be in the range of $130 million to $140 million as compared to the Company’s previous guidance of between $145 million and $155 million.
Diluted EPS for the 52-week fiscal year, adjusted to exclude losses resulting from redemption of the senior subordinated notes, charges or expenses relating to amendments to or refinancing of any notes, loans or revolving credit facilities, the settlement of interest rate swaps and expenses resulting from secondary stock offerings, is expected to be approximately $2.77 to $2.85, including approximately $0.04 from the favorable resolution of tax audits in the second quarter. The revised guidance is based on approximately 337 million weighted average diluted shares and an expected income tax rate of 37 to 38 percent. This is an increase from the Company’s previous guidance of $2.68 to $2.78 per share, based on approximately 336 million weighted average diluted shares and an expected full year 2012 effective tax rate between 38 and 39 percent. The revised 2012 expected tax rate includes the $14.5 million favorable adjustment resulting from the tax audit resolution. Excluding the adjustment, the tax rate would exceed the 2011 rate due principally to the expiration of federal jobs related tax credits for employees hired after December 31, 2011 as well as certain federal jobs credits that only applied to 2011.