Burlington Stores Inc. exceeded Wall Street’s expectations and its own projections in the third quarter and raised fourth-quarter guidance.


In the three months ended Nov. 1, the Burlington, N.J.-based off-price retailer posted a net loss of $34.2 million, more than twice the $16.9 million loss recorded in the third quarter of 2013. Eliminating extraordinary items, such as a $70.3 million loss on the early extinguishment of debt in the most recent quarter, the company posted an adjusted profit of $11.9 million, or 16 cents a diluted share, versus a loss of $3.3 million, or 5 cents, in last year’s period.

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Analysts, on average, expected adjusted EPS of 12 cents a diluted share.


Net sales rose 8.7 percent, to $1.16 billion from $1.06 billion, with comparable-store sales ahead 5.2 percent, on top of a 3.9 percent increase in last year’s quarter. Gross margin advanced to 39.6 percent of sales from 39 percent a year ago.


Tom Kingsbury, president and chief executive officer, commented that the comp increase “was balanced across most regions and categories.”


The company raised fourth-quarter guidance to reflect the third-quarter’s strength and now expects adjusted EPS of between $1.25 and $1.28 on a sales increase of 7.2 to 8.2 percent and comp expansion of 3 to 4 percent.


“Driving this expectation is our strong inventory position that includes compelling brands, powerful holiday merchandise and gift assortments supported by high-impact marketing campaigns,” Kingsbury said.


Inventories dropped 0.3 percent, to $899.9 million, from year-ago levels, and were down 14 percent on a comparable-store basis, the company said.

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