Bed Bath & Beyond

(BBBY) - Get Report

posted a 43% increase in first-quarter earnings Wednesday, beating analysts' consensus by 2 cents a share.

The company earned $82 million, or 27 cents a share, in the quarter ended May 29, compared with a profit of $57.5 million, or 19 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting 25 cents a share.

Total quarterly sales rose 23% to $1.1 billion, compared with the consensus for $1.09 billion. Same-store sales increased 5.1%.

The Union, N.J.-based company, which operates 592 namesake stores as well as 24 Christmas Tree Shops and 31 Harmon Stores, opened 17 news stores in the quarter, which brought total square footage to 19.8 million, from 17.4 million square feet last year. The company expects to open 80 to 90 new stores in 2004.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were moving down 76 cents, or 2%, at $36.87 in after hours trading Wednesday, after previously closing up 57 cents, or 1.5%, at $37.63.