Bed Bath & Beyond expectations in third quarter

Less than desirable economic conditions don’t seem to faze Bed Bath & Beyond, which again this week reported another quarter of strong financial results. The company said its earnings per share for the third-quarter period ended Nov. 27 increased 28% to 74 cents, handily exceeding analysts’ consensus estimate of 66 cents. Sales increased roughly 11% to $2.2 billion and same store sales advanced 7% on top of a prior-year comp increase of 7.3%.

The earnings beat and strong comp figures coupled with the announcement of a new $2 billion share repurchase program drove shares of the company to a new 52-week high above $50.

“Although economic challenges persist, our fundamental business strategy has remained unchanged. To offer a broad assortment of merchandise at every day low price with superior customer service,” CEO Steve Temares said during a conference call. “As always, we will continue to work to enhance our customers’ overall shopping experience and we remain committed to being our customers’ first choice for the merchandise categories we offer domestically, interactively and over the longer term, internationally.”

After opening a total of 32 units across all of its formats so far this year, Bed Bath & Beyond ended the third quarter with a total of 1,127 stores, including 976 of its flagship stores. In addition, the company operates 66 Christmas Tree Shops, 40 buybuy Baby stores and 45 stores under the names of Harmon or Harmon Face Values.

By the time the company’s fiscal year ends on Feb. 26 it will have opened approximately 40 new stores and a similar amount of new stores are slated to open during 2011.