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Wedbush Morgan Raises Guitar Center Estimates

Wedbush Morgan upgraded Guitar Center (GTRC) estimates.

Analyst Gary Holdsworth says the mid-point of the guitar retailer's 2004 earnings per share guidance range of $1.85 is substantially above the $1.79 First Call consensus estimate. He notes Guitar Center is expecting to open 16 to 18 Guitar Center stores during 2004, equating to year-over-year unit growth.

Holdsworth says the company also is expecting a 20-basis-point to 30-basis-point improvement in the operating margins of Guitar Center stores in 2004, and expects total company operating margin to improve 10 basis points to 40 basis points, vs. 2003.

As such, Holdsworth raised the $1.78 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.86, and upped the $1.445 billion 2004 revenue estimate to $1.446 billion. He's keeping his 2003 estimate of $1.49 earnings per share on $1.265 billion in revenue. Finally, Holdsworth reiterated his buy rating and upped the $36 target to $37.

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