(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.
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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.