Back in October, home furnishings retailer Cost Plus (NASDAQ:CPWM) cautioned that its third-quarter results were trending to the downside and decided to trim its short-term earnings outlook to break-even, versus prior forecasts of $0.05 to $0.06. In doing so, management lopped off a tad too much, as guidance was bumped up several weeks later back to $0.02 -- which is exactly the bottom-line number that was posted this morning.

Net income for the quarter fell 57% to $369,000 from $858,000 a year earlier, but year-to-date earnings through the first nine months have grown by double digits to $7 million, a record for the company. Revenues rose 12% to $190.4 million, though comps were essentially flat -- gaining only a fraction of a percent.

Cost Plus sells a variety of decorative items, kitchenware, and home furnishings imported from over 70 countries -- similar to rival Pier One (NYSE:PIR) -- but distinguishes itself with a complementing array of high-end consumables, such as premium wines, exotic teas, microbrewed and imported beer, and gourmet foods. Last year, these consumables accounted for more than one-third of the company's total sales.

Without a doubt, it has been a difficult environment for the industry of late. Foolish analysis entitled Pier 1 Warns and Pier 1 Needs a Makeover provides some perspective on the sluggish traffic, frequent profit warnings, and falling comps that have plagued the retailer. The stock has made progress since this summer, when I noted that a rebound could be in store for the beaten-up company (though there is a slight possibility that Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) sudden interest in the stock may have generated more enthusiasm than any prognostication I may have made).

With a 5.9% decline on October comps, though, and recently reduced guidance, the company still has a long road ahead. It hasn't been any better at Bombay (NYSE:BBA), which just reported a staggering 18% drop in comps, leading to a steep third-quarter loss. There's even been a modest slowdown at Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) -- along with Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY), a longtime leader in the group -- which earlier this week scaled back its fourth-quarter outlook amid falling same-store sales at its flagship chain.

There are many pluses to Cost Plus, not the least of which is a healthy 20%-plus compounded annual top-line growth rate over the past five years. Unfortunately, there are also a number of minuses, such as negative free cash flows and declining operating margins that were already below many competitors'. Right now, at least, the math just doesn't add up for Cost Plus.

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Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter doesn't own shares of any company mentioned.