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Tractor Supply (TSCO) Q4 Earnings: Can it Top Estimates Again?

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Tractor Supply Company (TSCO - Free Report) is slated to release fourth-quarter 2018 results on Jan 31.

The company has delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 4.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings is pegged at $1.09, mirroring 19.8% growth year over year. Notably, estimates have been stable over the past 30 days.

A glimpse of the company’s share price performance shows that it has outperformed the industry in the past six months. The stock has advanced 13.7% compared with the industry’s 5.9% growth.



What You Should Know Prior to 4Q18

Tractor Supply is benefiting from its robust omni-channel efforts and ‘Neighbor’s Club’ customer rewards program. Moreover, its solid store-growth endeavors, ONETractor initiatives and investment in everyday businesses remain impressive. The company’s consistent focus on integrating its physical and digital operations to offer consumers a seamless shopping experience is also commendable.

Currently, the company is progressing well with the integration of Petsense, which is likely to help the company strengthen its foothold in the flourishing pet market. Meanwhile, higher store transaction count and average ticket have been driving its comparable-store sales (comps).

Tractor Supply is also working to strike a balance between initiatives and investments in stores and distribution centers with strict cost disciplines and operational efficiencies. These, in turn, are likely to minimize expenses and boost profits. All these initiatives are likely to bolster the company’s top line and profitability in the to-be-reported quarter.

Notably, Tractor Supply reported 25th straight quarter of double-digit e-commerce sales growth in the third quarter of 2018. Management had earlier anticipated opening of 80 flagship and 20 Petsense stores in 2018. It projects net sales of $7.84-$7.87 billion, up from $7.26 billion recorded in 2017. Comps are anticipated to grow 4-4.5% compared with a 2.7% improvement last year. Earnings per share are envisioned in the band of $4.23-$4.27, which reflects a sharp increase from $3.33 earned in 2017.

For revenues, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $2,099 million, up nearly 7.5% from the year-ago quarter.

While all the aforementioned factors hold promise, higher cost of investments toward infrastructure and technology might dent the company’s margins and overall profitability. Also, elevated freight costs coupled with increased selling, general and administrative expenses due to higher incentive compensation remain concerns.

Zacks Model

Our proven model clearly shows that Tractor Supply is likely to beat estimates in the fourth quarter because it has the right combination of the two key ingredients. A stock needs to have both — a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) — for this to happen. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Tractor Supply has an Earnings ESP of +0.76% and a Zacks Rank #2, making us confident of an earnings beat.

Other Stocks With Favorable Combination

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows that these too have the right combination of elements to beat estimates:

Dillard's, Inc. (DDS - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +2.56% and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.68% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. (BECN - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +0.82% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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