A positive trend in its comparable-store sales helped boost shares of Citi Trends Inc. nearly 14 percent Monday despite its swing to a third-quarter loss and full-year guidance that fell short of analysts’ estimates.
The company said that comps in the first three weeks of November rose 1 percent, and the stock responded by rising $2.92, or 13.7 percent, to $24.31.
For the period ended Oct. 30, the company registered a net loss of $394,000, or 3 cents a diluted share, compared with a profit of $606,000, or 4 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Net sales grew 10 percent to $140 million, from $127.4 million a year earlier, as comps for the quarter declined 4.2 percent.
Analysts were looking for a loss of 1 cent a share on sales of $145.6 million, Yahoo said.
“We are navigating through a period of great economic uncertainty. But we believe we are taking the right steps for our continued success,” said chief executive officer David Alexander, who said the company is tightly controlling inventory and expenses, as well as expanding to new markets across the country.
For the nine months, Citi Trends recorded a 35.7 percent jump in net income to $11.5 million, or 79 cents a diluted share, compared with income of $8.5 million, or 58 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales increased 17.9 percent to $450.5 million from $382.1 million in 2009.
Despite the recent uptick in comps, the company said it anticipated fourth-quarter results to be down 1 percent to 4 percent due to lingering uncertainty about extended unemployment benefits and consumer demand. For fiscal 2010, the retailer said EPS is expected to be in a range of $1.50 to $1.60, topping out at just below Wall Street’s expectations of $1.61 a share.