) says February sales are trending above plan, and raised guidance. Lehman Brothers raised its estimates on Pier 1.
Analyst Alan Rifkin tells Standard & Poor's MarketScope that he had forecast 6% higher February comparable-store sales (comps). He raised his EPS estimates for the fourth quarter from $0.46 to $0.49; for fiscal 2002 (ending February), from $0.99 to $1.02; and for fiscal 2003, from $1.15 to $1.18. He notes 10% higher comps vs. a 4.7% increase one year ago. Rifkin says although comparisons over the next eight months may be difficult, he believes Pier 1 will continue to post strong same-store sales -- but he does not expect continued double-digit growth. The stock trades at 15 times his $1.18 fiscal 2003 EPS estimate, a 50% discount to the average home furnishings retailer. He continues to recommend purchase, of the shares and reiterates his $23 price target.