Shares of Burlington Stores (BURL -2.45%) climbed nearly 10% on Thursday as the discount retailer reported first-quarter results that beat expectations and said that it remains on track to deliver as expected for the remainder of the year.
Burlington, like many discounters, has held up relatively well in a difficult retail environment, with its stock trading up more than 30% in 2018. The company, however, stumbled in the fourth quarter of 2018, sending shares tumbling and leading to worries that its best days were behind it.
The company's first-quarter results should go a long way toward reassuring investors it still has room to run. Burlington reported adjusted earnings of $1.26 per share on revenue of $1.63 billion, beating expectations for $1.25 per share in earnings on sales of $1.61 billion.
Same-store sales grew only 0.1% in the quarter, missing expectations, and gross margin decreased by 20 basis points year over year to 41%, but Burlington CEO Tom Kingsbury said in a statement that "our disciplined expense management" and strength in children's apparel and products for the home helped carry the quarter. Kingsbury said the company remains focused on improving its ladies' apparel operation, which is underperforming.
Burlington says it expects full-year earnings of $6.93 to $7.01 per share, in line with the consensus estimate of $6.97 per share in earnings, with total sales expected to increase by 8.5% to $9.2%.
Coming into earnings season, Burlington shares had traded down 10% year to date as investors pondered whether the fourth-quarter miss was a one-off or a sign of things to come. Burlington still has some work to do, but the company appears to be doing a good job following the model larger discounters, including TJX Companies and Ross Stores, have employed so well.