March 4, 2009 / 11:24 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Big Lots 4th-quarter profit falls

* Q4 shr from continuing ops $1.00 vs analysts view 93 c

* Sees Q1 continuing ops shr 34c-40c vs analysts view 35 c

* Sees FY continuing ops shr $1.75-$1.90 vs view $1.70

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - Big Lots Inc (BIG.N) reported lower quarterly profit on Wednesday after cautious shoppers stuck to buying necessities, like food, but the closeout retailer's results topped Wall Street expectations.

Net income was $78.77 million, or 96 cents per share, for the fiscal fourth-quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $92.02 million, or $1.04 per share, a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations was $81.8 million, or $1.00 per share, compared with $85.6 million, or 97 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn 93 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The retailer, which specializes in sales of excess inventory, said fourth-quarter net sales fell to $1.37 billion from $1.41 billion, while sales at its stores open at least two years, or same-store sale, fell 3.2 percent.

Big Lots has said that in the quarter, sales of discretionary items, like furniture and toys, were challenging.

For the first quarter, it forecast earnings from continuing operations of 34 cents to 40 cents per share and full-year earnings from continuing operations of $1.75 to $1.90 per share. Analysts, on average, had been expecting it to earn 35 cents for the first quarter and $1.70 for the full year. (Reporting by Nicole Maestri, editing by Christopher Kaufman)

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