From: Reuters
Published May 29, 2008 06:40 AM

Big Lots quarterly profit rises 20 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Big Lots Inc <BIG.N> on Thursday reported a higher-than-expected 20 percent rise in quarterly profit, boosted by strong sales at older stores, and the retailer raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Net income rose to $34.5 million, or 42 cents per share, in the first quarter ended on May 3 from $28.8 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had been expecting profit of 37 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Earlier this month, Big Lot, which specializes in sales of excess inventory, said sales at stores open at least two years rose 3.4 percent, helped by strong demand for furniture. That was above an initial forecast for a gain of 1 percent to 2 percent.

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Net sales for the quarter rose more than 2 percent to $1.15 billion.

Big Lots said it expected second-quarter earnings per share of 21 cents to 25 cents from continuing operations, compared with analysts' current targets of 23 cents.

The company now expects full-year earnings per share of $1.80 to $1.90 from continuing operations, up from an earlier view of $1.70 to $1.80.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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