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.

Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.