Big Lots Inc. said Wednesday that it estimates fiscal fourth-quarter earnings per share will be in the range of $2.40 and $2.50, below the FactSet consensus for $3.02. The profit warning sent shares down 8% in premarket trading. Comparable sales for the quarter rose 7.5%, and e-commerce soared 135%. Gross margin is expected to be flat year-over-year. “This has been a hard-fought quarter that posed some challenges including softer-than-planned traffic in December, low levels of Christmas seasonal inventory, and extraordinary supply chain circumstances created by COVID-19,” said Bruce Thorn, chief executive of Big Lots, in a statement. “Despite these headwinds, our underlying performance has remained strong and we are pleased with the improvement in sales trends we are seeing in January.” For the fiscal year, Thorn said in a statement that the company is expecting to report “strong double-digit comps and adjusted diluted EPS close to double the $3.67 we reported last year.” The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $7.81. Big Lots stock has rallied 62.4% over the last year. The S&P 500 index has gained 15.6% for the period.
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