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Kirkland’s, Inc.'s (KIRK - Analyst Report) has announced its earnings and sales guidance for the first quarter of 2013. For the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2013, Kirkland’s expects to report on the higher end of the guidance provided by the company during the fourth-quarter conference call.

During the fourth-quarter conference call, the company announced that it expects earnings per share to be in the range of 2 cents to 5 cents for the quarter. The company expects net sales to be in the range of $99 million to $101 million. However, comparable store sales are expected to decline 3% to 5% during the quarter. The company also announced that it expects to open approximately one store while closing about seven stores during the quarter.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2012, Kirkland’s delivered earnings of 10 cents a share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, it fell short of the year-ago quarter's earnings of 15 cents per share. Quarterly earnings declined due to weaker margin on the back of high inflation in the economy.

Net sales went up 3.6% to $97.8 million from $94.4 million in the year-ago quarter but failed to meet the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $99.0 million. Consolidated comparable store sales declined 1.2% compared with an 8.4% decrease in the year-ago quarter.

Comparable store sales fell due to a 5% decline in transactions backed by a decline in conversion rate in its stores. Increase in sales of art, mirrors, outdoor living and furniture were offset by declines in decorative accessories, wall decor and lamps.

The company opened five stores and closed 17 stores during the first quarter of 2012, bringing the total number of stores to 297.

For fiscal 2013, the company expects to earn between 70 cents and 85 cents. Kirkland's also expects sales to increase between 5% to 7% from fiscal 2012.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 is pegged at a loss of 13 cents. For fiscal 2013, the estimate is pegged at 93 cents.

Kirkland’s expects to open 25 to 35 new stores and close approximately 10 to 15 stores in fiscal 2013. Store openings will be skewed toward the second and third quarters of 2013. The company expects capital expenditure to be in a range of $22 million to $25 million for the fiscal year.

Kirkland’s currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the retail and wholesale sector worth considering include New York & Company Inc. (NWY - Snapshot Report), H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (HNNMY) and Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ - Analyst Report), all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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