Spartan Stores (Nasdaq: SPTN) beat estimates by $0.05 last quarter, and investors are hoping it can beat them again. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, July 27. Spartan Stores is a regional grocery distributor and retailer, operating mainly in Michigan and Indiana.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts strongly back Spartan Stores, with three of five rating it a buy and the remainder rating it a hold. Analysts like Spartan Stores better than competitor Nash-Finch overall. Spartan Stores' rating hasn't changed over the past three months.
  • Revenue forecasts: On average, analysts predict $589.4 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 2.1% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall Street earnings expectations: The average analyst estimate is earnings of $0.30 per share. Estimates range from $0.29 to $0.31.

What our community says:
CAPS All-Stars are solidly backing the stock, with 97.8% assigning it an "outperform" rating. The community at large agrees with the All-Stars, with 94.8% awarding it a rating of "outperform." Fools are bullish on Spartan Stores, though the message boards have been quiet lately, with only 53 posts in the past 30 days. Even with a robust four out of five stars, Spartan Stores' CAPS rating falls a little short of the community's upbeat outlook.

Management:
Spartan Stores' profit has risen year over year by an average of 45.1%.

Now let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows gross, operating, and net margins over the past four quarters. 

Quarter Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1
Gross Margin 22.7% 21.1% 22.5% 21.9%
Operating Margin 2.8% 2.1% 3.7% 2.3%
Net Margin 1.4% 0.9% 1.9% 1%
One final thing: If you want to keep tabs on Spartan Stores' movements, and for more analysis on the company, make sure you add it to your Watchlist.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.