What: Shares of off-price retailer Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL) soared on Thursday after the company reported its second-quarter results, beating analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings. At noon, the stock was up about 13%.
So what: Burlington reported quarterly revenue of $1.144 billion, up 9.6% year-over-year and about $30 million higher than analysts were expecting. This growth was driven by a 5.6% increase in comparable-store sales, an improvement compared to the second quarter of 2014, as well as sales from new stores.
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.19, up substantially from a $0.01-per-share loss during the same quarter last year, and $0.07 better than the average analyst estimate. Gross margin rose by one percentage point year-over-year to 39.2%, and SG&A expense grew by 9%, slightly slower than revenue growth.
Going forward, Burlington expects sales to rise by 6%-7% during the third quarter, driven by a 2%-3% increase in comparable-store sales and the opening of 22 new stores. Non-GAAP EPS is expected to be between $0.20 and $0.23, compared to $0.16 during the third quarter of 2014.
Now what: The second quarter was a significant improvement for Burlington compared to the first quarter, when comparable-store sales rose by just 0.8%. Burlington does expect a slowdown during the third quarter, but its guidance is still better than the results from the disappointing first quarter.
The rise in Burlington's profitability comes after the company increased wages for all full-time and some part-time associates during July. Burlington now pays its employees at least $9 per hour, and the company expected increased efficiencies to counteract higher wage costs. If the second-quarter results are any indication, the plan seems to be working. Overall, it was a great quarter for Burlington, especially compared to a disappointing first quarter.