Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Big Lots, (NYSE:BIG) were up as much as 15% today on a strong first-quarter earnings report. 

So what: The closeout retailer said earnings from continuing operations came in at $0.50, beating estimates at $0.44 as the company recently closed down its Canadian stores and exited its wholesale business. Revenue increased just 1.1% to $1.28 billion on a 0.9% comparable sales growth. Still, that was better than expectations of $1.26 billion. Gross margin slipped 110 basis points in the quarter, forcing profits lower as costs outgrew sales. 

Now what: Looking ahead, management lifted full-year EPS guidance to $2.35-$2.50 from a previous range of $2.25-$2.45, and against the consensus at $2.38. Comparable sales growth was also forecast at 1-2%, which should help profitability improve. Shares seemed to spike not only on the raised guidance, but also on signs that the company made the right decisions in shutting down the Canadian and wholesale businesses. For a company still in transition and absorbing the costs from shutting down those operations, its P/E near 20 seems pricey, but after today's report Big Lots is clearly moving in the right direction.


Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.