Stein Mart, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMRT) reported strong quarterly earnings results that sent shares soaring late in the day, despite a decline in its operating income.
The grocery chain unveiled operating income of $9.9 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2018, below its year-ago operating income of $10.1 million. Net income for its first quarter came in at $7.3 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, ahead of its net income from the year-ago quarter of $3.7 million, or 8 cents per diluted share.
Stein Mart’s first-quarter results included less than $100,000 in income tax expenses. On an adjusted basis, the company brought in earnings of $18.4 million, compared to the $19.3 million from the first quarter of fiscal 2017.
The company’s gross profit increased by 110 basis points. Stein Mart’s revenue for the period was $326.7 million, falling 3.2% year-over-year compared to the $337.3 million from its year-ago quarter.
“Comparative sales trends showed considerable improvement for the quarter and operating income exceeded our expectations. Continuing strong inventory productivity drove a significantly higher gross profit rate.” said Hunt Hawkins, CEO.
“With better first quarter results, we now expect first-half operating income to be in excess of $10 million instead of the $8 million we previously discussed. Also, while it is early in the second quarter, we are pleased with May’s positive comparable sales trend which reflects the return of seasonal temperatures.”
SMRT shares fell about 3.9% during regular trading hours, then soared about 11.3% after the bell on the company’s strong quarterly report.