Off-price retailer Burlington Stores beat Wall Street's earnings expectations for the 2017 fiscal year on Thursday, and issued an upbeat outlook for next year, which prompted the share price to rise more than 6 percent in early trading.
For the fiscal 2017 year, Burlington's total sales increased 9.3 percent to $6.08 billion, the first time the company has crossed the $6 billion sales mark, and net income increased 78 percent to $385 million, or $5.48 per share, over last year's results. Excluding the estimated impact of 2017 tax reform, adjusted net income totaled $4.37 per share vs. $3.24 the prior fiscal year.
"We are extremely pleased to report strong fourth quarter results, driven by a 5.9 percent comparable store sales increase, which was on top of last year's 4.6 percent increase. We also passed several significant milestones in fiscal 2017, as we surpassed $6 billion in total sales … and achieved record-low aged inventory and record-high comparable store inventory turnover levels," said CEO Tom Kingsbury in a statement.
For the full fiscal year 2018, the Burlington-based retailer issued a bright forecast, with total sales growth in the range of 9 percent to 10 percent compared to fiscal 2017, and comparable store sales forecast to increase in the range of 2 percent to 3 percent. That increase is expected on top of last year's 3.4 percent increase, as well as adjusted earnings per share in the range of $5.73 to $5.83, the company said in its earning release.
The New Jersey company also expects to open 35 to 40 new stores, net of older stores closing, and said after the estimated impact of the 2017 tax reform and the accounting for stock-based compensation, earnings could be in the range of $4.71 to $4.81 per share, representing an increase of 14 percent to 16 percent above the comparable 52-week 2017 adjusted EPS of $4.14.