PriceSmart’s First Quarter Profit Jumps 43%

PriceSmart, Inc. (PSMT) reported first quarter earnings of $0.50 per share on $386 million in revenue today, easily topping Wall Street’s expectations and sending shares up as much as 5% on the day.

The consensus analyst forecast called for a profit of $0.44 per share and sales of $377 million.

The operator of international membership shopping warehouse clubs posted net income of $14.9 million, beating last year’s Q1 figure by 43%, while total revenue was up 22% year-over-year. The company had 28 stores in operation at the end of the quarter, compared to 26 last year. Same store sales rose 16.5% for the quarter.

The company also announced its December sales figures today. (PriceSmart’s first quarter ends on November 30.) For the four weeks ending January 2, same store sales increased 15.6% compared to the same period last year.

Shares of PSMT jumped as high as $39.61 (+5.40%) in early trading before settling into the $38 range this afternoon. At $38.00 per share, the stock carries a 1.32% dividend yield.

PriceSmart initiated its semiannual dividend in 2007 and has given it one huge increase, a 56% boost before the company’s first payout of 2009.

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