COLUMBUS, OHIO (
) -- Close-out retailer
remains relatively immune to the recession, as judged by its latest quarterly report
Specializing in the sale of excess inventory -- everything from televisions to vacuum cleaners -- has allowed Big Lots to earn $28.4 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with $26 million, or 32 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding items, Big Lots said its earnings came to 35 cents a share, surpassing analysts' forecast of 30 cents.
The company's management also forecast full-year earnings in the range of $1.92 to $2.02 a share. Analysts' consensus estimates had pegged Bit Lots' 2009 bottom line at $1.93 a share.
The news sent the company's shares soaring nearly 8% to $25.92 in late-morning trading Tuesday.
Still, Big Lots said second-quarter sales slipped about 2% to $1.09 billion, while same-store sales declined 2.4%, as demand for furniture and home decor remains weak.
Even discount rivals
have seen some contraction in consumer spending.
But basic home goods like paper towels, food and cleaning supplies are still necessities, and shoppers are seeking the lowest prices possible at stores such as Big Lots.
--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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