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Bed Bath & Beyond Lowers View, Blames Weather

Zacks Equity Research

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) jumped on the bandwagon of troubled retailers that blamed the chilly, harsh winter weather for dampening the January and February sales results. The home furnishing retail chain lowered its projections for the fourth quarter on Friday as it reported preliminary comps growth of 1.7% for the quarter, below the company’s previous forecast of 2.0% to 4.0% growth.

Bed Bath & Beyond revealed that its performance in fiscal fourth quarter comprising the months of December, January and February, was severely impacted by the turbulent weather that forced 464 full-day closures and 1,923 partial day closures. The company held the bad weather responsible for pulling down comps by 2.0% - 2.5%, while it expects a 6 cents – 7 cents impact on earnings per share.

The company expects to report fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.57 - $1.61 against $1.60 - $1.67 projected earlier. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter stands at $1.65 per share, which may see a downward revision in the next few days.

Excluding the impact of the weather, the company remains positive on its ability to have delivered its previously indicated sales and earnings targets. Additionally, the company highlighted that it continues to smoothly progress with its omnichannel initiatives as well as its long-term strategic plans.

The company is scheduled to report its fourth quarter and fiscal 2013 financial results on Apr 9, 2014.

The polar vortex that hit most parts of the U.S. in January and continued into February prevented shoppers from stepping out of their homes and ultimately knocked down the business of retailers. A major loser due to the inclement weather was Gap Inc. (GPS), which posted a 7% comps decline for the month of February.

However, some others including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) and L Brands Inc. (LB) emerged winners gaining from the improved weather in late February, which coincided with the government’s tax refunds that boosted the purchasing power of consumers. Comps for the above mentioned companies rose 2% each for the 4 weeks ended Mar 1, 2014.

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