(By Balachander) Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR) posted a rise in quarterly earnings as higher store traffic and average ticket drove sales growth and the retailer of decorative home furnishings boosted its full-year forecast.
On a non-GAAP basis, earnings per share (EPS) increased 19 percent to 25 cents from 21 cents, topping market expectations by a penny. Net income grew 3 percent to $23.68 million.
Sales rose 11 percent to $424.5 million, beating consensus estimates of a growth of 9.40 percent. Comparable store sales grew 7.9 percent.
Gross profit as a percentage of sales expanded 70 basis points to 43.9 percent.
Merchandise margins at the store level were essentially flat compared with the third quarter of last year.
Looking ahead for the fourth quarter, Pier 1 Imports forecasts non-GAAP EPS between 57 cents and 61 cents on comparable store sales gain in the mid single-digit range, while analysts expect EPS of 58 cents.
For the full year, the company now expects non-GAAP EPS in the range of $1.17 to $1.21 from prior expectations of $1.10 to $1.16, while analysts expect $1.17. Its still sees comparable store sales increase in the range of mid single-digits.
The company also boosted its quarterly dividend by 25 percent to 5 cents, payable on January 30, 2013 to shareholders of record on January 16, 2013.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $12.50 to $21.24, ended at $19.08 on Wednesday.