TheStreet's Jim Cramer is keeping an eye on Big Lots (BIG) as the discount retailer prepares to release first quarter results on Friday before the opening bell. He says it's the last of the retailers and it's one that is often rumored to be 'in talks.' Cramer says Big Lots is an outfit that is worth a lot more because it's in the sweet spot like Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Wall Street analysts are expecting earnings of $0.59 a share and revenue of $1.28 billion for the quarter. Last quarter the company beat analysts' earnings estimates by a penny. Its revenue was in-line with expectations. For Q115 investors will be watching for same store sales numbers, a key metric for retailers. They'll also want to see how foods and consumables are affecting the company's gross margin. Some analysts are expecting weak sales numbers due to a struggle in this area of their business. In addition, the company is in the process of transitioning their business to online so investors will want to hear about updates on their move to e-commerce. The stock has a 52-week low of $36.76 and a 52-week high of $51.75. Its 50-day moving average is $46. Big Lots has provided a 1.6 percent yield plus a 23 percent return to investors over the past year. As for share buybacks, about $200 million has been authorized for 2015. Currently, Big Lots has an average rating of BUY and a price target of $52. Last week analysts at Deutsche Bank reiterated their BUY rating on the stock and set a $54 price target. Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage earlier this month with a HOLD rating and a price target of $44. The Columbus, Ohio-based company has more than 1,400 stores in 48 states. It sells a wide variety of merchandise including toys, furniture, clothing, housewares, electronics and packaged foods.
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