) to strong buy from outperform.
Analyst Brent Rystrom says the home-decor retailer's second-quarter earnings per share matched revised expectations. He says gross profit margin was lower than he had modeled, but says Kirkland noted that it ended the quarter with clean inventories so he assumes markdowns were heavy. He notes sales trends appear to have improved in the last several weeks, and the company is quickly approaching much easier same-store sales comparisons.
Rystrom says due to stabilizing performance, and improving odds of better performance in forward quarters, he upgraded Kirkland's. He aslo raised the $19.50 target to $23.20.