Earnings wrap: Kirkland's, First Farmers

Retailer's shares set to jump to 52-week high, community bank's Q1 up 31%

Home goods retailer Kirkland's reported a first-quarter profit of almost $1.8 million, down slightly from last year's bottom line but better than analysts had expected. Per diluted share, earnings were 10 cents, double the Street's consensus.

Sales at Nashville-based Kirkland's climbed 3.5 percent from a year ago to $101 million, but same-store numbers slipped 2.3 percent. President and CEO Bob Alderson said sales were slow in February but picked later in the quarter.

"The better sales and margin performance in the latter weeks of the quarter exceeded our expectations and has modestly improved our outlook," Alderson said." However, there is still much work to do in firmly establishing a positive merchandising trend as well as leveraging our ongoing investments."

Looking ahead to the second quarter, Alderson and his team are forecasting a loss of 8 cents to 11 cents per diluted share. Analysts had bee expecting a loss of 14 cents.

The combination of the Q1 numbers and Q2 forecast have Kirkland's poised for an up day. In pre-market trading, the shares (Ticker: KIRK) were up more than 4 percent to $14.77, a new 52-week high.

Community bank holding company First Farmers and Merchants Corp. said its first-quarter earnings rose 31 percent to about $3.1 million, driven by a combination of loan growth and some cost cuts.

The Columbia-based lender's loan book grew about 1 percent during the quarter, said Chairman and CEO Randy Stevens, while deposits climbed about 3 percent. Compared to the first three months of 2012, net interest income rose 5 percent. Read the company's news release here.