Shares of Burlington Stores Inc. shed 7.8 percent of their value Tuesday after the off-price retailer joined the chorus of retailers providing anemic guidance for the holiday period.
While the company generated a third-quarter loss that was 1 cent smaller than the one expected, on average, by analysts, Wall Street was disappointed by the company’s guidance for a comparable-store sales increase of between 2 and 3 percent for the fourth quarter.
The company’s third-quarter comps were up 3.9 percent, below the year-to-date rate of 5 percent.
For the three months ended Nov. 2, the Burlington, N.J.-based value retailer recorded a net loss of $16.9 million, more than twice the loss of $7.4 million registered during the comparable 2012 period.
The adjusted loss, stripping out items including impairment and costs related to its initial public offering in October, came to 5 cents a share, below the 6-cent loss anticipated by analysts. Adjusted EBITDA, eliminating interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, rose 28.3 percent to $62.5 million from $48.7 million.
Sales were up 10 percent to $1.06 billion from $967.9 million. Gross margin gained 40 basis points to move to 39 percent of sales from 38.6 percent a year ago.
Shares finished the New York Stock Exchange session at $25.92, down $2.18. They reentered the public markets at $17 but shot up to $25.01 on their first of trading.
Tom Kingsbury, president and chief executive officer, told participants on a morning conference call that coats, once 100 percent of its assortment, were now a high-single-digit percentage of sales and that the company had made “significant progress” in misses sportswear and a “great performance” in intimate apparel.
“Traffic is slightly up, our [average unit retail price] is slightly down…based on the fact that we’re making sure that we’re as competitively priced as possible….Our conversion is up more than our traffic and our average basket is up comparably to the increase in the conversion rate.”
The company, which has 521 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico, plans to open about 25 stores a year. Stores average 80,000 square feet, but the company is finding it’s “comfortable” with a footprint ranging in size from 50,000 to 60,000 square feet.
By contrast, an average TJ Maxx store measures about 30,000 square feet.