Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton has two messages: The company isn’t a meme stock and the retailer’s turnaround is just getting started.
“We are a momentum stock, not a meme stock,” Tritton said on Yahoo Finance Live.
To be sure, the company appeared to be a bit of both after its latest quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond exploded more than 30% at one point in Wednesday’s session as traders digested the retailer’s first quarter earnings. The stock finished the session up about 11%. Such an enthusiastic response comes hot on the heels of Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock surging 40% out of the blue in a session earlier this month as the company became the latest target by the retail investors who have ruled the market in 2021.
The retail crowd had a lot to hang their hats from inside Bed Bath’s results.
Tritton said the company is reclaiming lost market share. It showed up in the company’s same-store sales in important categories such as bedding, bath, food preparation, home decor and home organization, rising 7% from the first quarter of 2019 (aka pre-pandemic numbers).
“What we see is regaining share in bed, bath and kitchen. We are rebounding stronger than a number of our competitors who were closed the same time [because of the pandemic],” Tritton explained.
Secondarily, the company’s gross profit margins rose 820 basis points year-over-year on an adjusted basis as Bed Bath & Beyond sold more private label merchandise.
And lastly, the company struck an upbeat tone with its full-year outlook. Tritton raised his outlook for adjusted operating profits to $520 to $540 million from $500 million previously. The company forecasts adjusted EPS for the full year above consensus, too.
Here is how Bed Bath & Beyond performed compared to Wall Street estimates.
Net Sales: $1.95 billion vs. $1.87 billion
Adjusted Diluted EPS: $0.05 vs. $0.08
Full Year EPS Outlook: $1.40 to $1.55 vs. $1.47 estimate
Given the stock’s meteoric 85% rise this year — in part fueled by the interest among retail investors — Wall Street is slightly cautious on the stock at the moment.
“Company initiatives are showing promise, but we’re not sure 1Q results and the upwardly revised annual EPS guidance (essentially brackets current Street estimates) warrant the 30% pop in shares earlier this morning. We don’t have clear conviction in market share gains, and thus remain Hold-rated as we monitor the turnaround,” said Jefferies retail analyst Jonathan Matuszewski in a note to clients.
Matuszewski raised his price target on Bed Bath & Beyond shares to $30 from $26.
The mood was similar at Guggenheim Partners.
“Bottom line, despite ongoing progress against the company’s key strategic initiatives—inclusive of the recent launch of five new owned brands to date (Nestwell, Haven, Simply Essential, Our Table, and Wild Sage) — we remain Neutral-rated awaiting further conviction behind out-year market share dynamics,” penned analyst Steven Forbes, who doesn’t maintain a price target on Bed Bath & Beyond.
Said Tritton, “I think we are in the initial stages of the turnaround.”
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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