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HHGregg's quarterly earnings, sales jump

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HHGregg reported a rise in quarterly profit and sales Thursday morning that exceeded analyst expectations, despite a decrease in same-store sales.

The Indianapolis-based electronics and appliance retailer earned $4.9 million, or 13 cents per share, in its second fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30. That compares to $3.4 million, or 10 cents per share, in the year-ago period, an increase of 30 percent. The chain's earnings nearly doubled analyst predictions of 7 cents per share.

HHGregg's net sales rose to $332.2 million in the quarter, a rise of 3 percent over last year's second quarter. Analysts predicted sales of $324.5 million.

Overall sales were helped by the opening of seven new stores during the quarter. Same-stores sales, which measure revenue at stores open for at least a year, dropped 9.4 percent during the quarter.

HHGregg said sales were hurt somewhat by the falling prices of flat-screen televisions. Although the company said it sold more sets, the average price fell. Appliance sales also decreased for the second quarter in a row.

"We are pleased with our quarterly operating performance and our ability to drive growth in earnings and operating cash flow by preserving margins and managing expenses, all while continuing to add new stores,"  said HHGregg CEO  Dennis May in a prepared statement. "While the overall environment remains challenging, we are encouraged by the improving traffic and sales trends we experienced throughout the quarter."

The retailer tightened its earnings guidance for the fiscal year to a range of 90 cents to $1 per share from previous range of 85 cents to $1.

Shares of HHGregg, which operates 126 stores in 10 states, closed yesterday at $17.91 each, up from $5.11 a year ago.

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