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Stock To Watch: Cost Plus (COST) Delivers Positive Outlook

 March 23, 2012 11:29 AM

Casual home furnisher retailer Cost Plus (Nasdaq: COST) offered an upbeat outlook for its first quarter and the rest 2012. The company also delivered fourth quarter results that were higher than expected.

For the first quarter, the company guided a net loss of $1.6 - $0.8 million or a loss per share of 7 – 3 cents on sales of $210 - $214 million. The guidance is better than analysts' predictions for a loss of 9 cents a share on revenues of $205.46 million.

Similarly, for the year 2012, Cost Plus guided earnings of $26 - $28 million or $1.07 - $1.12 a share. Revenue is projected between $1.0 and $1.1 billion for the same period. Again, the company's outlook is higher than Street analysts' estimation of $1.05 a share on revenues of $1.01 billion.

[Related -Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) Q1 Earnings Preview: Membership Fees Or Bust]

The company also sees same store sales of 5 – 6 percent for 2012.

For the fourth quarter, Cost Plus delivered net income from continuing operations of $36.7 million, up 27.4 percent from $28.8 million and earnings grew 25.8 percent to $1.56 a share from $1.24 a share in the year-ago quarter. Net sales rose 6.7 percent to $364.3 million from $341.6 million in the previous year quarter.

Street analysts' were predicting the company to deliver earnings of $1.50 a share on net sales of $361.81 million.

Analysts are positive on the stock as evidenced by their  upward EPS revisions for 2012. The current 2012 estimate for EPS of $1.05 has been increased from 95 cents a share three months back and 98 cents from two months back. For the first quarter, analysts' have reduced their loss estimate to 9 cents a share from 10 cents a share predicted 90 days ago.

[Related -Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) Q4 Earnings Preview: What To Watch?]

In the last five quarters, Cost Plus' earnings have not failed to meet analysts' predictions. Its earnings have either met or topped  analysts' expectations. Five analysts have either Strong Buy or Buy rating on Cost Plus. There are no Sell recommendations.

For the six brokerages, the mean price target is $16.33, and the median target is $16.50. The highest and lowest price target is kept at $18.00 and $15.00 respectively.

For the 52-week period, the stock ranged between $5.57 and $16.23. The stock closed Thursday's regular trading at $16.02 gaining 45 cents or 2.89 percent. In the extended hours trading, shares of the company gained further $1.13 or 7.05 percent to close at $17.15.

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