Bed Bath & Beyond Ekes Out Profit Gains

Earnings beat Wall Street's target by a penny and come in at the high end of the retailer's view.
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Updated from 5:15 p.m. EDT

Bed Bath & Beyond

(BBBY) - Get Report

posted a 4% rise in first-quarter earnings, beating analysts' per-share estimate by a penny, amid a weak housing market that has hurt many retailers.

The home-goods seller's profit for the period grew to $104.6 million, or 38 cents a share, from $100.4 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier. The company, based in Union, N.J., said sales jumped to $1.55 billion from $1.4 billion the year before.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, rose 1.4% in the first quarter after a 4.9% increase in the same period a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had predicted earnings of 37 cents a share and sales of $1.54 billion.

The earnings were at the high end of Bed Bath & Beyond's forecast earlier this month, when it warned that a tough home-retailing environment hurt results. The company estimated earnings of 36 cents to 38 cents a share -- below analysts' projection at the time of 39 cents.

"While we continue to see that the overall retailing environment, especially sales of merchandise related to the home, is challenging, we have taken a long-term approach to our business and work to continue to distance ourselves from our competitors by remaining focused on being our customers' first choice for the products we offer, domestically, interactively, and over the long-term, internationally," said Steven Temares, chief executive, in a statement Wednesday.

In a conference call, Bed Bath and Beyond said it expects second-quarter earnings per share to be flat to up in the low single-digits percentage. That allows for some down side to analysts' forecasts. According to Thomson, analysts expect Bed Bath & Beyond's profit to rise to 56 cents a share in the period from 51 cents a year earlier.

Shares were slipping $1.86, or 5%, to $35.70 in after-hours trading.

The company plans to open 70 Bed Bath & Beyond stores by the end of the year, including its first store outside of the U.S. in Richmond Hills, Ontario. It will also open four Christmas Tree Shops.

Bed Bath & Beyond repurchased $287 million in stock in the first quarter. So far, it has bought back $587 million in stock under a $1 billion buyback program initiated in December.