What happened

Shares of Nutrisystem (NASDAQ:NTRI) have surged today, up by 20% as of noon EDT, after the company reported first-quarter earnings. The weight loss specialist easily beat consensus estimates for both the top and bottom lines.

So what

Revenue in the first quarter came in at $210.9 million, which translated into net income of $2.8 million, or $0.09 per share. The Street was expecting just $207.5 million in sales and $0.07 per share in profit. Gross margin was 53.2%, down slightly from 53.8% in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $7.9 million.

Nutrisystem products for men

Image source: Nutrisystem.

"We're pleased first quarter 2018 revenue and earnings per share exceeded our expectations, driven by better than expected results in the Nutrisystem's direct-to-consumer business," CEO Dawn Zier said in a statement. "As anticipated, South Beach Diet revenues increased significantly year-over-year, and we remain excited about the long-term opportunity it represents."

Now what

Nutrisystem repurchased $10 million in stock during the quarter, in addition to $5 million in April after the quarter closed. The weight-loss company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share, payable on May 21, 2018, to shareholders of record as of May 10, 2018.

Looking forward, Nutrisystem's guidance calls for second-quarter revenue in the range of $186 million to $191 million, which should translate into earnings per share of $0.78 to $0.83. For the full year, sales are forecast at $693 million to $708 million, with earnings per share of $2.04 to $2.14. That EPS outlook is up from previous guidance of $1.99 to $2.09 per share in profits.