Bath & Body Works Inc.’s stock BBWI soared 5% premarket Thursday, after the retailer posted better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and raised its bottom-line guidance. The company had net income of $81 million, or 35 cents a share, for the quarter to April 29, down from $155 million, or 64 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding a one-time pretax gain of $7 million related to the early extinguishment of debt, adjusted EPS came to 33 cents, ahead of the 26 cent FactSet consensus. Sales fell to $1.396 billion from $1.450 billion a year ago, edging ahead of the $1.393 billion FactSet consensus. “We delivered first quarter sales in line with our expectations while our EPS was better than anticipated as we saw benefits from our work to improve merchandise margin as well as early benefits from our cost optimization initiatives,” Chief Executive Gina Boswell said in a statement. The company is still expecting fiscal 2023 sales to be flat to down in the mid-single digits, but expects adjusted EPS to range from $2.68 to $3.08. The FactSet consensus implies a sales decline of 1.1% and EPS of $2.94. For the second quarter, it expects sales to fall by low to mid-single digits and for EPS to range from 27 cents to 32 cents. The FactSet consensus is for a sales decline of 3.3% and EPS of 32 cents. The stock has fallen 19% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 SPX has gained 8.3%.
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