Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE:PIR), a specialty retailer of imported decorative home furnishings and gifts, reported a 26.5% jump in first quarter earnings primarily attributable to increases in store traffic and higher average ticket. Further, the company raised its earnings guidance for the fiscal 2013.
Earnings for the first quarter were $17.83 million or $0.16 per share, up from $14.10 million or $0.12 per share last year.
Sales increased 7.9% to $361.12 million. Analysts had expected a profit of $0.16 per share on revenue of $360.07 million. Comparable store sales rose 7.2%.
Merchandise margins for the quarter increased marginally to 60.2% from 59.8%, reflecting strong input margins, an optimal balance between regular and promotional pricing, and well-managed inventory levels.
Store occupancy costs rose to $67.2 million from $65.9 million last year. Gross margin for the first quarter increased to 41.6% from 40.1%.
Looking ahead into the fiscal 2013, the company raised its earnings guidance to range of $1.08 to $1.14 per share from previous forecast of $1.06 to $1.12 per share, while Street predicts $1.13 per share. Comparable store sales growth is still expected to be in the mid single-digit range.
The 53rd week is expected to contribute about $25 million to total sales and $0.01 to $0.02 to earnings per share. Capital expenditures for the fiscal 2013 is anticipated to be about $70 million to $75 million.
In addition, the company on Wednesday executed a three-year renewal and extension of the employment agreement with its President and Chief Executive Officer, Alex Smith.
PIR closed Wednesday's regular session down 2.69% at $15.58. The stock has been trading between $8.60 and $19.09 for the past 52 weeks.