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Lehman Cuts Linens 'n Things Estimates


Lehman Brothers trimmed its estimates on Linens 'n Things (LIN).

Analyst Alan Rifkin says he thinks holiday sales met the low end of the home-goods retailer's plan of low- to mid-single digits. However, he also thinks margins have been impacted by greater-than-expected promotional activity, as well as mix, with a more equal balance of sales betweeen housewares and textiles. Rifkin says housewares are higher margin, with typically a greater percentage of sales in the fourth quarter.

As a result, he cut the $1.01 fourth-quarter earnings per share estimate to 99 cents, cut the $1.67 2003 estimate to $1.65, trimmed the $1.68 2004 estimate to $1.65, and reduced the $2.20 2005 estimate to $2.15. He's keeping the fourth-quarter comparison-sales estimate of 2%. Rifkins says he remains optimistic on Linens 'n Things' longer-term opportunities. He rates the shares as equal-weight.


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