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Big Lots 4Q profit rises on strength in US, Canada

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Big Lots' fourth-quarter net income rose 5 percent on strong sales at discount stores in both U.S. and Canada.

The company earned $120.3 million, or $2.09 per share, for the period ended Feb. 2. That's up from $114.7 million, or $1.75 per share, in the prior-year period.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.99 per share.

Revenue climbed 5 percent to $1.75 billion from $1.67 billion, benefiting from an extra week in the quarter.

In the U.S., sales climbed 4.4 percent while revenue at stores open at least 15 months fell 3.5 percent. Canadian sales rose 33 percent.

For the year, Big Lots Inc. earned $177.1 million, or $2.93 per share. A year earlier the Columbus, Ohio company earned $207.1 million, or $2.98 per share.

Stripping out a $3.4 million charge taken in the first quarter related to an inventory accounting change, adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $2.99 per share.

Full-year revenue increased 4 percent to $5.4 billion from $5.2 billion.

Big Lots expects fiscal 2013 earnings from continuing operations in a range of $3.05 to $3.25 per share. Revenue is predicted to rise 2 percent to 3 percent from 2012's $5.4 billion, implying $5.51 billion to $5.56 billion.

Analysts forecast earnings of $3.17 per share on revenue of $5.56 billion.

For the first quarter, the company foresees earnings from continuing operations between 53 cents and 65 cents per share. Revenue is expected to climb 1 percent to 3 percent. This implies about $1.3 billion to $1.33 billion based on the prior-year period's revenue of $1.29 billion.

Wall Street predicts earnings of 75 cents per share on revenue of $1.34 billion.

Big Lots had 1,495 of its namesake stores in the 48 states and 79 Liquidation World and LW stores in Canada at the quarter's end.