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Nashville, Tennessee-based specialty retailer of home décor, Kirkland's Inc. (KIRK - Analyst Report) reported sales figures for the fourteen weeks ended on Feb 2.

On a 13-week basis (to facilitate comparison), the company posted a 2.6% decline in comparable-store sales from the year-ago period when comps had increased 1.4%.

Net sales for the fourteen weeks ended Feb 2, 2013 moved up 9.0% to $162.6 million from $149.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

First quarter comparative sales were within the guidance provided by the company. During its third quarter conference call in Nov 2012, Kirkland’s had forecast first quarter sales in the range of $160 – $163 million. However, the company anticipated that comparable store sales would decrease by 2% to 5%. This estimate used a thirteen week to thirteen week comparison.

During the fourth quarter of 2012, Kirkland’s opened 17 stores and shut down two stores. As of Apr 28, 2012, Kirkland’s operated 297 stores.

With consumers regaining confidence, Jan 2013 was strong for most retailers, including Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), Ross Stores Inc. (ROST - Analyst Report) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Analyst Report) which registered comps growth of 8%, 4% and 4%, respectively.

Kirkland’s expects to report its earnings results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 ending Jan 2013 on Mar 14, 2013.

Excluding the effect of an extra week this year, comparable store sales slipped 3.0% when compared with a decline of 4.0% in the prior-year period. Net sales for the period jumped 4.2% to $448.0 million from $430.3 million in the prior-year period.

The company reiterated its fourth-quarter guidance of 71 cents to 76 cents per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at 74 cents per share, within the guided range.

Currently, Kirkland’s carries Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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