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Tractor Supply Slips Despite Preliminary Q1 Beats

By Eric Volkman – Apr 7, 2020 at 6:18PM

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Stocking-up behavior from customers pushed the retailer's financials above analyst expectations.

Investors were at least slightly displeased with Tractor Supply (TSCO 1.79%) on Tuesday, trading down the company's stock despite apparent revenue and earnings beats in its latest quarter.

Tractor Supply's release of preliminary sales numbers for Q1 2020 indicated that the nation's self-described "largest rural lifestyle retailer" booked $1.96 billion in net sales. That represented a 7.5% improvement over the Q1 2019 figure and was on the back of a comparable-store sales increase of 4.3%. On average, analysts had been forecasting $1.89 billion for the top-line figure.

A Tractor Supply worker loading a truck.

Image source: Tractor Supply.

As for profitability, the company said it believes its per-share earnings will land between $0.69 and $0.71. If realized, that would easily beat the $0.62 collective estimate of those following the stock.

The apparently better-than-expected results were due basically to stocking-up activities among customers.

The company wrote in its update that "[b]eginning in early March as the COVID-19 crisis evolved, we saw a significant increase in our comparable store sales with a focus in our consumable categories such as companion animal food, livestock feed, and heating fuel and other core categories like agricultural fencing, safes, generators, and sustainable living."

As with other retailers adapting to changing market conditions tied to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 -- the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 -- Tractor Supply is taking measures to keep its business operational and its employees and customers safe. Among other initiatives, it has begun offering contactless curbside delivery and delivery from store.

The company is slated to release its official Q1 results on Thursday, April 23.

With a 1.7% decline on Tuesday, Tractor Supply's shares fell more deeply than those of other consumer goods companies and the broader stock market.


Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tractor Supply. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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