Earnings per share for the reported quarter were $1.11, up from $.82 in the same quarter of previous year. Net earnings for the 2018 first quarter were $418 million, compared to $321 million in the prior year. These earnings per share results include a $.17 per share benefit from recently enacted tax legislation and a $.02 per share benefit from the favourable timing of packaway-related expenses that we expect to reverse in subsequent quarters.
"Despite unfavourable weather throughout the period, we achieved above-plan growth in both sales and earnings in the first quarter. Operating margin for the period of 15.1 per cent was down slightly from the prior year as an improvement in merchandise gross margin and favorable timing of packaway-related expenses were offset by higher freight costs and wage-related investments," Barbara Rentler, chief executive officer, said.
"During the first quarter of fiscal 2018, we repurchased 3.3 million shares of common stock for an aggregate price of $255 million. As planned, we remain on track to buy back a total of $1.075 billion in common stock during fiscal 2018," Rentler continued.
"For the 13 weeks ending August 4, 2018, we are forecasting same store sales to be up 1-2 per cent over the 13 weeks ended August 5, 2017. Second quarter 2018 earnings per share are projected to be $.95 to $.99, which includes the benefit from lower taxes, partially offset by the previously mentioned shift in packaway expenses. Based on our first quarter results and guidance for the second quarter, we now project earnings per share for the 52 weeks ending February 2, 2019 to be in the range of $3.92 to $4.05, which includes the benefit from lower taxes," concluded Rentler. (RR)
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