Big Lots Maintains Sheen, Hits 52-Week High - Analyst Blog

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Big Lots Inc. ( BIG ) seems to be on a roll as its shares have been gaining traction since reporting better-than-expected first-quarter fiscal 2014 results on May 30, 2014. The stock has jumped 6.8% since.

Quarterly earnings from continuing U.S. operations came in at 50 cents per share, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 44 cents per share. Net sales of the company nudged up 1.1% year over year to $1,281.3 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,267.0 million.

The company also posted positive comps after 8 consecutive quarters of negative comps. Comps for the quarter were up 0.9%.

Big Lots' initiatives to pull back from the unprofitable Canadian markets, shut underperforming locations and expand into high-growth avenues worked in its favor as reflected by the better quarterly performance and renewed investor interest in the stock.

Management also provided guidance for a higher operating cash flow of $170 million for 2014 as against $165 million expected earlier.

Alongside, Big Lots is focusing on the furniture financing program as well as on the food and consumables category as both continue to gain momentum. The furniture business is likely to be extended to most of the stores (1,300 stores or 85% of the total store count) as it has experienced high single to low double-digit increases continually over the past quarters, which makes it a profitable option.

Going forward, it also intends to concentrate more on developing its e-commerce and omni-channel capacities. We believe that other initiatives undertaken by Big Lots, such as store remodeling, changes in its loyalty reward program, and the 'Edit to Amplify' merchandising strategy will fuel further growth.

The company's impressive results and its strong fundamentals helped shares reach a 52-week high of $46.06 on Jun 23, amassing a significant year-to-date return of 60.2% and boosting investors' spirit.

Big Lots has long-term earnings growth expectation of 14.8%, which is relatively better than the peer group average of 14.5%. Additionally, the last traded price is 6.5% below the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $48.46, leaving further room for upside potential for this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.

Apart from Big Lots, other stocks like Aaron's, Inc. ( AAN ), Constellation Brands Inc. ( STZ ) and Hanesbrands Inc. ( HBI ) reached new 52-week highs of $35.45, $88.50 and $85.61 respectively, on Jun 23, 2014.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAN , BIG , STZ , HBI

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