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9 Big Retailers Are Reporting Earnings Next Week — Here’s What to Know

A number of boldface fashion, athletic and footwear companies are set to report their fourth-quarter and full-year earnings and sales results next week.

From discount chains and department stores to specialty retailers and sportswear firms, the upcoming results run the gamut of the retail sector. Market watchers are expected to have their eyes on the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on these businesses in the period leading up to and during the holiday season as well as their approach into the new year.

Ahead of next week’s big retail earnings releases, FN provides a preview for fashion and athletic players like Target, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Gap and more.

Discount chains

Burlington Stores Inc.

Release: Before market open on Thursday, March 4

Forecast: Earnings of $2.11 per share and revenues of $2.07 billion

What to watch: Burlington sounded caution on the next quarter as rising COVID-19 cases across the country pose a threat to its business, which relies heavily on brick and mortar with minimal e-commerce penetration. In a statement accompanying the release of its Q3 2020 report, CEO Michael O’Sullivan said that the fourth quarter had “gotten off to a weak start,” with comps in the first three weeks of November trending downward in the low double digits. “In this uncertain environment,” he added, “we will continue to plan and manage our business conservatively.”

Last quarter: For the period ended Oct. 31, Burlington recorded earnings of 29 cents per share, versus the prior year’s earnings of $1.53 per share. The decline was attributed to the drop in sales, which decreased 6% to $1.67 billion, as well as higher product sourcing costs driven by pandemic-related disruptions. Still, the figures crushed analysts’ forecasts for earnings of 16 cents per share and revenues of $1.53 billion.

Dollar Tree Inc.

Release: Before market open on Wednesday, March 3

Forecast: Earnings of $2.11 per share and revenues of $6.78 billion

What to watch: According to president and CEO Mike Witynski, Dollar Tree was “off to a very good start” just over three weeks into its fourth quarter. In its Q3 2020 announcement, the company shared that same-store sales at its namesake banner as well as that of Family Dollar were tracking above reported third-quarter levels. “Our focus will continue to be on opening new stores, refining our store formats and upgrading our assortments to drive improved store productivity, increasing operating efficiencies, generating free cash flow and buying back shares,” he added.

Last quarter: Dollar Tree posted earnings of $1.39 per share for the three months ended Oct. 31, compared with the prior year’s $1.08 per share. It beat consensus estimates of $1.15. Revenues improved 7.5% to $6.18 billion, compared with expectations of $6.11 billion.

Ross Stores Inc.

Release: After market close on Tuesday, March 2

Forecast: Earnings of $1.00 per share and revenues of $4.27 billion

What to watch: Similar to Burlington, Ross CEO Barbara Rentler suggested that the company planned to “manage our operations conservatively” as it entered the fourth quarter. At the time of its Q3 2020 release, Ross’ month-to-date comps for November were down mid-single digits. “In addition, there remains a high level of uncertainty related to the worsening health crisis, and we are concerned with how the upsurge of this pandemic might impact consumer demand during what we expect to be a highly competitive holiday shopping season,” Rentler added.

Last quarter: For the 13 weeks ended Oct. 31, Ross recorded earnings of $1.02 per share, while Wall Street had bet on earnings of 61 cents per share. Revenues for the third quarter declined 2% to $3.8 billion but still topped predictions of $3.4 billion.

Department stores

Kohl’s Corp.

Release: Before market open on Tuesday, March 2

Forecast: Earnings of $1.01 per share and revenues of $5.86 billion

What to watch: Early this month, Kohl’s offered a preliminary look at its fourth-quarter financial report. It anticipated diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.00 to $1.05, before considering any impact from tax planning strategies. For the three months ended Jan. 30, revenues were forecasted to have declined roughly 10%, including a 11% drop in same-store sales. Still, its comps would have recorded their third consecutive quarter of sequential improvement.

Last quarter: Kohl’s reported a third-quarter loss of $12 million, or 8 cents per share, versus the prior year’s income of $123 million, or 78 cents per share. Adjusted earnings per share of a penny, however, were well ahead of market watchers’ predictions of a loss of 43 cents per share. For the three months ended Oct. 31, revenues dropped 13.3% to $3.98 billion but topped forecasts of $3.86 billion.

Nordstrom Inc.

Release: After market close on Tuesday, March 2

Forecast: Earnings of 13 cents per share and revenues of $3.59 billion

What to watch: Early this month, Nordstrom reiterated its Q4 2020 outlook. It continues to expect sales during the period to decrease in the low-20% range relative to the prior year as well as positive operating cash flow and earnings before interest and taxes. The company also introduced its fiscal year 2021 financial outlook, calling for revenues to grow more than 25%, with digital representing 50% of total sales and positive EBIT.

Last quarter: For the three months ended Oct. 31, Nordstrom posted earnings of 34 cents per share, compared with the prior year’s earnings of 81 cents per share. Revenues also tumbled nearly 16% to $3.09 billion. Still, it bested analysts’ predictions for a loss of 6 cents per share and revenues of $3.1 billion.

Target Corp.

Release: Before market open on Tuesday, March 2

Forecast: Earnings of $2.54 per share and revenues of $27.39 billion

What to watch: In mid-January, Target announced that its total comps advanced 17.2% for the months of November and December, driven by a 4.3% rise in traffic and a 12.3% increase in customers’ average ticket. Same-store sales climbed 4.2%, digital sales more than doubled, soaring 102%. “We’ve seen continued strong sales trends in the new year,” chairman and CEO Brian Cornell added at the time, “and as we turn to our 2021 plans, our team is focused on continuing to build on the guest engagement and significant market share we gained throughout 2020.”

Last quarter: Target logged third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $2.79 — a 105.1% improvement from the prior year’s $1.36 and well ahead of consensus bets of $1.60 in earnings per share. Revenues for the three months ended Oct. 31 surged 21.3% to $22.63 billion, which also soundly beat Wall Street’s forecasts of $20.93 billion.

Specialty retailers

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp.

Release: After market close on Tuesday, March 2

Forecast: Earnings of 90 cents per share and revenues of $290.53 million

What to watch: In mid-January, Big 5 reported preliminary financial results for the 14-week Q4 2020 period: It announced that revenues were $290.5 million, compared with last year’s $244.1 million. Same store sales increased 10.5%. For the upcoming three months, the company now anticipates earnings per share in the range of 90 cents to 93 cents, versus previous guidance of earnings per share in the range of 35 cents to 60 cents.

Last quarter: For the period ended Sept. 27, Big 5 saw revenues of $305 million, compared with the prior year’s $266.2 million. Profits were $28.4 million, or earnings of $1.31 per share, versus the previous year’s $6.4 million, or earnings of 30 cents per share.

Gap Inc.

Release: After market close on Thursday, March 4

Forecast: Earnings of 17 cents per share and revenues of $4.66 billion

What to watch: In its third-quarter report, Gap shared that it “remains optimistic” for the fourth quarter. It predicted sales being equal to or slightly higher than last year, with its gross margin rate being equal to last year, reflecting the continued benefits of store closures largely offset by higher shipping expenses. It estimates operating expenses between 33% to 34% of company sales.

Last quarter: For the three months ended Oct. 31, Gap notched earnings of 25 cents per share, compared with 37 cents per share a year earlier. That figure came in short of expectations for earnings of 32 cents per share. Revenues for the period were flat with the prior year at $3.99 billion, which were better than forecasts of $3.82 billion.

Hibbett Sports Inc.

Release: Before market open on Friday, March 5

Forecast: Earnings of $1.37 per share and revenues of $378.42 million

What to watch: In its preliminary fourth-quarter report released two weeks ago, Hibbett announced expectations for adjusted earnings per share in the range of $1.30 to $1.40, versus the previously targeted range of $1.00 to $1.10. It predicted a 21.9% increase in comps — well above the previous guidance of an increase in the high-single digits to low-double digits. “By continuing to execute on our commitment to provide a compelling merchandise assortment through superior customer service and a best-in-class omnichannel platform, we exceeded our previously disclosed outlook for the fourth quarter,” president and CEO Mike Longo said in a statement at the time. “New customer retention; the ability to effectively manage available in-demand footwear, apparel and accessories; and incremental stimulus payments contributed to the strong performance in the quarter.”

Last quarter: For the 13-week period ended Oct. 31, Hibbett posted adjusted income of $24.9 million, or adjusted earnings of $1.45 per share, compared with the prior year’s income of $5.8 million, or 32 cents share. Revenues rose 20.3% to $331.4 million.

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