Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) Beats Estimates, Guides Above Estimates

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) reported fiscal Q4 EPS of $1.31, ex-items, besting consensus estimates of $1.28.

Revenues for the quarter rose 7.0% year-over-year to $1.46 billion, edging above consensus estimates of $1.45 billion.

Comparable store sales increased 5.1% and total sales increased 7.0% for the quarter.

In addition, the company's Board of Directors has increased the size of its share repurchase program by $250 million bringing the total authorization to $400 million.

The company expects Q1 EPS of $0.60 to $0.65 and fiscal 2010 EPS of $2.65 to $2.75, versus consensus estimates of $0.53 for Q1 and $2.64 for fiscal 2010, respectively.

For fiscal 2010 comparable store sales are expected to increase of 3% to 4%.

Steve Fishman, Chairman, CEO and President, commented, "We were very pleased to deliver our third consecutive year of record operating profit and EPS results and to do so in an economic environment that still has a somewhat challenged consumer. We improved our merchandise assortments and remained disciplined on inventory management. We expanded our gross margin while recording the lowest expense rate in the Company's history, and we were encouraged by the accelerating comp sales trends exhibited in the second half of 2009. While generating these results, we continued to focus on the long-term fitness of our business by investing in our stores, our IT systems, and our people by recruiting talent across the organization with a particular emphasis in our store operations team.