Big Lots Posts 22% Drop in 1Q Profit, Cuts '12 Guidance

Slammed by slumping same-store sales, Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) suffered a deeper-than-expected 22% slide in first-quarter sales and cut its full-year guidance.

The gloomy news from the closeout retailer sent its shares falling more than 5% in premarket action on Wednesday.

Columbus-based Big Lots said it earned $40.7 million, or 63 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $52.5 million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 68 cents a share, trailing estimates by a penny.

Revenue gained 5.5% to $1.29 billion, compared with the Street’s view of $1.30 billion. U.S. same-store sales dipped 0.8%. Gross margins slipped to 39.6% from 40.3%.

Big Lots trimmed its 2012 non-GAAP EPS view to $3.25 to $3.40, down from $3.40 to $3.50 previously. Total sales are expected to rise 5.5% to 6.5%. U.S. same-store sales are seen flat to up 1%.

For the current quarter, Big Lots is forecasting EPS from continuing operations of 37 cents to 42 cents, well below the Street’s view of 54 cents.

Big Lots also disclosed plans to buy back an extra $200 million of its shares.

Shares of Big Lots fell 5.43% to $32.90 ahead of the opening bell, putting them on pace to extend their 2012 decline of about 8%.