Big Lots' fiscal Q2 earnings slip 8% to US$35.7M as revenue grew 3% to US$1.17B, hurt by 1.5% sales decline at stores open at least two years, charge related to new Canadian stores

COLUMBUS, Ohio , August 25, 2011 () – Big Lots Inc. said Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter net income slipped 8 percent, hurt by a decline in a key revenue metric and a charge related to its new Canadian stores.

Still the discount store chain exceeded its own expectations for the quarter, and those of analysts. It raised the low end of its full-year earnings guidance, citing its quarterly performance and recent buybacks.

Big Lots earned $35.7 million, or 50 cents per share, compared with $38.9 million, or 48 cents per share, a year ago. The per share discrepancy figures reflect fewer shares outstanding in the current quarter.

Removing 2 cents per share tied to its new Canadian retail operations, income from continuing operations was 52 cents per share. Big Lots obtained the Canadian stores as part of its acquisition of Liquidation World Inc. in July.

Analysts expected earnings of 44 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey.

Revenue for the period ended July 30 increased 3 percent to $1.17 billion from $1.14 billion.

Revenue at U.S. stores open at least two years fell 1.5 percent. This figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes stores recently opened or closed.

Big Lots said it now expects full-year earnings to be in a range of $2.80 to $2.90 per share. Its previous forecast was for earnings between $2.75 and $2.90 per share.

Analysts predict earnings of $2.89 per share for the year.

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