NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bed, Bath & Beyond ( BBBY - Get Report) beat Wall Street profit expectations for a ninth straight quarter on Wednesday, sending the stock to new all-time highs in extended trading. The Union, N.J.-based diversified retailer also said its board has approved the buyback of up to $2 billion worth of its common stock, and that it expects to begin making repurchases under the program early in 2011. The stock was last quoted at $50.35, up 5.6%, on after-hours volume of nearly 500,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on their regular session close at $47.67, the shares are up 23% year-to-date. On a torrid run since summer, the stock had pulled back since hitting a 52-week high of $48.96 on Dec. 14 ahead of the report. The break above $50 is a new best-ever level for the shares on a split-adjusted basis. Bed, Bath & Beyond said it earned $188.6 million, or 74 cents a share, in its fiscal third quarter ended on Nov. 27, up from a year-ago equivalent profit of $151.3 million, or 58 cents a share, and 12% ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for earnings of 66 cents a share. Sales for the quarter came in at $2.19 billion, rising 11% year-over-year and besting the consensus view of $2.11 billion. Same-store sales rose 7%. The only potential source of dissonance was the company's outlook for the current fourth quarter, which is below consensus at the low end of its range. Bed, Bath & Beyond sees earnings of 91 to 95 cents a share for the Februray-ending period vs. Wall Street's current average view of 93 cents. For the full year, it sees earnings of $2.86 to $2.90 a share. Sentiment was split on Bed, Bath & Beyond headed into the report. Of the 26 analysts covering the stock, 13 were at hold, 12 were at either buy (2) or strong buy (10) and one said sell. The median 12-month price target of the stock stands at just $51, however, suggesting the valuation may be getting a bit rich for Wall Street's tastes.
Indeed, the stock's forward price-to-earnings multiple of 15.1X based on fiscal 2011's consensus EPS estimate is higher than that of competitors like Target ( TGT - Get Report) at 13.6X and Macy's ( M - Get Report) at 11.3X. Another potential concern is that Bed, Bath & Beyond shares have come a long way in a short amount of time, nearly doubling since scraping a 52-week low of $26.50 on May 7. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org