Burlington Stores Falls as Quarterly Sales Miss Estimates

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Burlington Stores Inc. fell the most in the 20 months its stock has traded publicly after first-quarter sales trailed analysts’ estimates, hurt by a lack of clearance merchandise and delays in getting some women’s apparel.

The shares slid 8.4 percent to $49.35 in New York trading, the biggest one-day drop since the company went public in October 2013. The Burlington, New Jersey-based company had gained 14 percent this year through Monday.

Revenue in the quarter through May 2 rose 4.8 percent to $1.19 billion, Burlington said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts estimated $1.22 billion, on average. Sales at established stores rose 0.8 percent, trailing analysts’ projection for a 3.6 percent gain.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Kingsbury said the retailer was hampered by earlier income-tax refunds, which pulled sales into January. Burlington, which operates about 550 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico, also had less markdown inventory on hand and was late in receiving women’s dresses, handbags and shoes before Easter, which came in early April this year.

The company also announced a plan to boost its hourly wage to at least $9 an hour for store associates who have been with the company for at least six months. The increase, effective July 5, puts Burlington in company with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc., TJX Cos. and Target Corp., all of which have announced plans to raise pay to at least that level this year. Burlington will look for “efficiencies” to offset the increased wage expense, according to the statement.

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