The Company's outlook for fiscal 2014 is based on the following assumptions which may or may not prove valid:
- A mid-single-digit increase in total net sales;
- A low-single-digit increase in comparable store sales;
- Approximately 525 new store openings and 80 store closings;
- Gross margin expansion;
- SG&A expense de-leverage based on our comparable store sales outlook;
- An effective income tax rate between 36.0% and 36.5%;
- Capital expenditures of between $550 million and $600 million; and
- Approximately $100 million of share repurchases.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company expects that comparable store sales will decline in the low-single-digit range and that diluted earnings per share will be between $0.65 and $0.75 per share compared to $0.69 per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2013.
Certain statements contained in this press release are “forward-looking statements” that are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements address certain plans, activities or events which the Company expects will or may occur in the future and relate to, among other things, the state of the economy, the Company’s investment and financing plans, net sales, comparable store sales, store openings and closings, income tax rates, capital expenditures, cost of sales, SG&A expenses, earnings per diluted share, dividends and share repurchases. Various risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Consequently, all of the forward-looking statements made by the Company in this and in other documents or statements are qualified by factors, risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those set forth under the headings titled “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission up to the date of this release.